An Introduction To 360 video production for brands
Virtual reality is hot right now. with Facebooks aquisition of ocullus rift, 360 video is been pushed right to the top of users news feeds, obvioulsy Mr Zuckerburg has big plans for the world of 360 and VR. Here we go through the in and outs of 360 video and 360 video production.
In essence, 360° video allows users to watch recorded video while being able to control the viewing angle in a 360-degree field of vision, an experience that simulates being there and looking around. While it isn’t quite the same as VR – you aren’t, for instance, able to move around independently or interact with any objects – it can still be an incredibly immersive way to consume video content.
We’ve established that it’s an exciting new technology, so let’s get into the basics of publishing your 360° content on two of the biggest social platforms – Facebook and Youtube.
Watching 360 video content
Having purchased Oculus and its Rift technology in 2014, it’s no surprise that Facebook supports 360° video. As a platform, they’ve done a good job of ensuring that it’s easy to both post and view.
Facebook 360° videos appear in the news feed just like normal videos. They can be viewed on both computers and mobile devices, though the method of “looking around” makes these experiences vastly different.
The clear winner is mobile. When viewing 360 video on your phone or tablet, you adjust the angle by holding the device in front of you and pointing it in different directions. The effect is really, really cool. There’s very little lag, and the responsiveness gives you the impression that you’re standing in a spot and looking around in real time. You can also view Facebook 360 Video using the Samsung Gear VR if you have a Galaxy phone, which provides an even deeper level of immersion.
On the other hand, watching 360 videos on your computer requires you to click and drag or use the WASD keys to change your viewing angle. You can still take in the full 360° view, but it really takes away from the illusion that you’re actually there.
Youtube were quick to enter the 360° game and have supported 360° video since March of last year. Youtube 360° video can be viewed on computers and mobile devices, but 360° capabilities won’t be activated if you’re using your phone’s browser. Instead, users will need to download the official Youtube app. Changing the viewing angle works in the same way as it does for Facebook – point and turn for mobile, click and drag for computers.
You can enhance your experience using Google’s Cardboard technology, which allows you to head mount your phone using an inexpensive, easy-to-assemble visor. After opening a 360° video on the Youtube app, simply tap the Cardboard icon to convert the video into a split-screen before inserting your phone into the Cardboard visor. Cardboard is available for Android devices or iOS devices with iOS 9.
How to shoot – 360 video production
As you might imagine, shooting 360 video production requires an investment in specialized camera equipment capable of simultaneously recording multiple angles. Luckily, 360 recording equipment need not to be prohibitively expensive – equipment ranges from serious, professional-grade tech to much more accessible consumer devices.
At the higher end of the spectrum, perennial innovator GoPro offers an impressive 16-camera rig, which will run you a cool £12000 . They have also developed an upcoming 6-camera rig that can be preordered now for a smaller, but still substantial sum of £3,000.
Facebook themselves have developed their own advanced 360-capable camera rig – and have released all of its designs and software for free. The rig itself is not for the faint of heart and will cost around £25,000 to purchase all of the gear. With Facebook investing so much in 360 and VR technologies, we can only expect to see great things on this front.
Posting 360 degree video content
To upload any video as a 360 video, you will need to make sure that the file has 360 metadata attached to it. Luckily, Facebook makes this very easy and uploading Facebook 360 Video is almost as simple as posting regular video.
Simply upload your video as normal, but click the “Advanced” tab before publishing. From here, check the box for “This video was recorded in 360 format” and click the 360 Controls tab to set the initial camera orientation and field of view. This will automatically add 360 metadata.
You also want to make sure you select the HD option – Facebook’s compression wreaks havoc on video quality so you should aim for the highest resolution possible. There is also a maximum length of 10 minutes and a size limit of 1.75 GB.
Things are not quite so simple for Youtube, and you will need to add the 360 metadata before attempting to upload your video (unless you have a camera that does this automatically. You can do this by downloading free tools for Mac and windows but you’ll need to allow about one hour for the software to work its magic.
Once you’ve completed the necessary steps, you’re ready to post your 360 content and can do so as normal using Youtube’s uploader. As with Facebook, make sure to select the highest video quality possible (preferably 4K).
Live 360 video production
What about live streaming 360 video? To be able to put someone in your shoes in real time is a tantalizing concept, and Youtube has supported live 360 video since mid-April. 360 Video production is a different process to post producing. To start a 360 live stream, make sure you have live streaming enabled via your Youtube dashboard. Then head to the live streaming control panel and create a new “Event”. Finally, check the box for “This live stream is 360°” and you are good to go. The recommended settings for 360° live streaming are 1440p resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio.
360 video ideas to kickstart your imagination
Is 360 video a viable marketing tool? Short answer: yes. The 360 video that the Deadpool marketing team released to promote their movie has reached 11 million views since we last wrote about it. Other examples have proven similarly effective. As with all novel concepts in marketing, fortune favors the early-adopters.
So as a brnd, what kind of 360° content should you be trying to create? The truth is, there really is no limit to what you can do here and novel ideas are popping up every day. And with the introduction of Youtube’s live streaming 360 capabilities, the possibilities have increased tenfold.
Your best bet is to focus on content that takes advantage of the first-person perspective. Give viewers a 360 tour of your facilities. Put them in the middle of a concert or sporting event. Make them a character in an action-packed short film. Need more inspiration? London Live Streaming Company
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