It’s immersive, it’s interactive, and it’s everywhere. Once a niche technology for pioneering videographers, 360-degree video is now being used by all kinds of people/organisations to share immersive stories, extreme experiences and stunning locations. Estate agents, airlines and the hospitality industry are embracing 360 video to show off their goods, while broadcasters, educators and social media platforms are also experimenting with the format.
The impact of 360-degree video
We’re now on the cusp of the virtual reality (VR) era. VR headsets might be expensive and out of reach of most of us, but prices are falling fast. And with 360-degree cameras and VR tools improving all the time, producing high quality, immersive and explorable content has never been easier.
Most recently, 360 video is being embraced by consumers, brands and news organisations on social media; viewers just pan and tilt their phone to change the viewpoint, or tap and drag the screen to move around. The appearance of 360 content on YouTube and Facebook is a step-change that is helping bring the medium to a vast new audience. When VR headsets do hit the mainstream, 360 looks set to explode.
360 video pioneers
There’s an army of videographers out there all with the future on their mind, and they’re now getting to grips with 360 video creation for various purposes and platforms.
1. Immersive journalism
A 360 camera’s ability to capture the essence of a place is not lost on journalists. The New York Times has started publishing The Daily 360, a short 360 news report – often in 4K resolution – with multiple cuts between static shots, and a reporter acting as the narrator. Done well, 360 adds a unique eyewitness feel to storytelling and reporting.
2. 360-degree time-lapses
Many 360 cameras allow you to capture a time-lapse, which is a sequence of 360 images recorded at set intervals to record changes that take place slowly over time. Speed up the frames and the effect can be exceptional for something as delicate as the Milky Way emerging at night, as William Brisco demonstrates.
3. Live streaming in 360
360˚ video cameras can now capture and live-stream spherical imagery, and most popular social media and online platforms have recently been updated to support 360 content. Viewers can now tune-on to live 360 broadcasts (like the rocket launch below), but also download the video afterwards.
Where might 360 video go next?
For now, the trend it is to watch 360 videos within web browsers on desktop computers, and via YouTube and Facebook on smartphones.
The next step is watching 360 video using VR headsets like Google’s Daydream, Samsung’s Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, even PlayStation VR. It’s a market that is growing tenfold each year.
There will be a surge in quality, too, with Facebook recently embracing 4K resolution for its 360 videos.
However, perhaps the biggest trend of all is 360 social, with live streaming from 360 cameras now emerging. The growing 360 community has plenty to say – and it’s coming your way now and primed to make 2018 the year of 360 video and VR.
Don’t just record a video, capture an all-round, immersive experience. Start taking your own amazing 360 videos today with a VIA VPai 360 camera.