Damir Mujic

The Digital Content of Tomorrow: How to Create and Publish a 360-Degree Video

Ever since YouTube and Facebook have started to roll out 360-degree videos the trend has created an omnipresent hype throughout Internet, even prior to their release. Regardless of this innovative technology’s early phase, the success we’ve been seeing in the last few months has established a firm basis for winning the “content style of the year” trophy.

But what is, actually, a 360-degree video? How can we create one, and where can we publish it?

360-Degree Videos, the Future of Online Content

Image source: www.computerlegacy.com/

Image source: www.computerlegacy.com

Changing the course of mobile industry by making room for app developers to create apps for immersive videos, YouTube (with Google) launched its 360-degree videos in March 2015, followed by Facebook (with Oculus Rift) in September.

Also known as an immersive video, this type of video recording shows a real-world scenery by recording views in every direction at the same time, using special cameras or video softwares. The view in a 360-degree video is seen as if the viewer is actually there, being able to see all sides of the surrounding as he would see in real life.

360-degree content presents an advanced way of publishing your personal or business stories, bringing viewers inside your stories and enabling them to experience the content rather than just looking at it. A user can use a cursor to navigate the video on the web, and for the mobile navigation move a smartphone device around as a way of navigating in the desired direction. All this as a simple and fun browsing through this richer and more personal storytelling.

How to Create a 360-Degree Video?

For creating an immersive video you will need a special camera for 360-degree recording, which, quite honestly, is not so affordable yet. However, as the new ones are coming out, we all expect to see the prices finally balanced and economical for individual users. These are the four most known 360-degree cameras on the market:

Google Jump Odyssey

Partnering with GoPro, the Jump camera rig named Odyssey includes 16 camera modules creating 16 parts of videos into a single VR video.

Facebook Surround360

17 cameras create this new Facebook’s beauty, with additional fish-eye cameras for capturing bellow and above footages.

Samsung Gear360

This camera can shoot two wide videos or images at the same time, and merge them together by using an app which creates a 360-degree content.

Sphericam 2

More expensive than others, this camera offers a 4K recording, with 60FPS at 4096×2048 resolution in 10 bit colour. It’s small and easy to carry it in your hand.

Upload a 360-degree Video to Facebook

Once you have successfully used one of the 360-degree cameras, and created a stunning video, it’s time to upload it to Facebook. To upload your 360-degree video to Facebook you would need to take these specs into consideration:

  • Supported file sizes up to 1.75GB (Videos must be less than 30 minutes).
  • File type: MP4 Container
  • Video Codec: H.264 Video
  • Resolution: Max 4K input (4096×2048)
  • Dimensions: 2:1 Display Aspect Ratio
  • Frame Rate: Up to 60 FPS
  • Pixel Format: yuv420p
  • Depth: Monoscopic
  • Projection Format: Equirectangular
  • Audio: MP3 or AAC audio, up to 4 channels

Uploading 360-videos doesn’t require any new skills, it’s exactly the same way as we do it now.

Upload a 360-degree Image to Facebook

For an enhanced personal or business experience on Facebook, you now also have an option to post 360-degree images, and show your fans and friends the behind the scene of your images. Giving your fans and friends the opportunity to become the centre of the action is, in fact, that very thing that will forever change how we share visual content.

So, how to create your 360-degree image? There are a few ways:

New iOS smartphones provide you with panoramic features, so you can take a 360-degree photo by simply creating panoramas. Another way is to use one of the known apps, such as Google Camera or Street View, or simply use one of the above mentioned 360-degree cameras to capture your own 360-degree photo.

Upload a 360-degree Video to YouTube

To upload and play 360-degree videos on YouTube, you need to use Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Opera.

For creating a 360-degree video for YT, there are these three 360-degree cameras compatible with YouTube:

Ricoh Theta

Kodak SP360

IC Real Tech Allie

However, you can also create 360-degree content by using other camera rigs and softwares, such as Kolor. Find out more about how to capture best results with YouTube’s advanced specifications.

For uploading a 360-degree video on YT, you would need to download the 360 Video Metadata app for Mac or Windows. Once your upload is ready, it may take you up to an hour to have the 360-degree effects processed.

New 360-Degree Platform

Only two months ago, Adtile, provider of multi-sensor advertising technology, has launched a platform for advertising, interaction, and control in a 360-degree environment. The company’s technology is compatible with almost any smart device, and it allows creators to develop 360-degree videos that can track movement and adjust viewpoints upon the way the device is being held. Pretty interesting and highly useful, I’d say.

Top 360-Degree Videos

In May this year, Facebook has released the top 10 performing 360-degree videos according to the number of views. The no.1 most popular 360-degree video of 2016 to date seems to be the one from ABC News which shows a blizzard at the New York City’s Times Square.

Another top 360-degree video seems to is FC Barcelona’s tribute to Johan Cruyff, with received 5 million views.

Likewise, 7.2 million views for the NatGeo’s  360-degree helicopter ride to one of the world’s tallest active volcanoes, Klyuchevskoy. Pretty impressive numbers, don’t you agree? And did you know that the most-viewed 360-degree video in the first 24 hours, with 5.3 million views in one day, is the opening credits of Game of Thrones?

The Potential of 360-Degree Content

One of my favourite 360-degree videos, is definitely the recent Discovery’s The Fight To Save Threatened Species. With amazing animals, such as whale sharks, rhinos, elephants, manta rays and lions, who are all threatened with extinction, Discovery has done an amazing job by posting this 360-degree video on YouTube, and attracting viewers to take a closer, personalised view of these disappearing creatures, focusing on their natural surroundings and their real-time appearance.

One of the most touching 360-degree videos on Facebook is the story by a charity organisation about a 13-year-old girl who lives in a remote village in Ethiopia and collects polluted water for her family, as the only water resources she had near her hometown.

With content like this, followed by the development of the innovative tech, it’s only a matter of time when marketers take this option as an ultimate, tangible solution to their brands’ online activities. It will become one of the ultimate ways publishers will share stories, and one of the most powerful ways to showcase the world’s biggest problems in order to engage and help. The potential of 360-degree content lies in experiencing a product in person, seeing it realistically, and sharing it with an added value. Whether your final goal is to sell your product, impress the audience, or spark emotional reaction, the true potential of the 360-degree content is strongly evident and significant even at this early stage – and that’s something that shouldn’t be neglected.

360-degree content is about to change digital marketing, and now it’s time to think passionately about it.

WordPress and 360-degree Content

When it comes to WordPress, any 360-degree video you post on YouTube is easily embeddable to your WordPress webpage which presents a great way to spice up your online presence. In my next blog I will write more about WordPress plug-ins and themes for 360-degree content. Until then, have fun with creating your first 360-degree content!

 

 

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