Though 360 video–also called “immersive video”–technology has been around for several years, it didn’t become prolific until Facebook and YouTube put their weight behind it. The social giants started encouraging uploads of 360 videos on their sites and supporting the stitched content in mainstream ways. Now businesses can take advantage of the marketing potential of these interactive videos.
So what is 360 video, anyway?
This technology requires multiple cameras, all filming simultaneously, to work. Those cameras must be preconfigured with settings that are identical so that panoramic stitching is possible when all the footage is downloaded later. Once all of those frames are compiled, a 360 video can be created. GoPros are often the cameras of choice for this because they are small. LG also released its 360 Cam earlier this year, which goes with its modular G5 products and shoots 360 videos with ease.
The rise of virtual reality headsets has also boosted 360 video by allowing easier filming that follows natural human movement. Facebook’s Surround 360 camera will support the creation of 8K videos on Oculus VR devices that are predicted to “look better than real life,” according to Stuff.TV reviewer Tom Morgan. As virtual reality headsets grow in popularity, so will 360 videos. Expect quality user-created 360 videos to explode on the scene as a result.
What obstacles arise when shooting 360 videos?
The general lack of technology is a hindrance, as the quality that people are used to viewing on video is not widely available in 360 formats yet. The types of cameras used for 360 videos can also present problems when they overheat. The people filming can be a problem, too, because without strategic body placement, they end up in the shots. When it comes to 360 video shooting, a lot of elements must come into play and be considered if a professional outcome is the goal.
What does the future look like for 360 video marketing?
As the technology becomes more mainstream, expect to see better-quality options and more businesses recording videos to give customers a behind-the-scenes look. The live-events industry uses 360 videos innovatively, and other industries are also getting on board. In the near future, viewers may be able to emulate things like skydiving, surfing and rocketing into outer space by watching carefully crafted 360 videos. More people will learn how to shoot, stitch and present 360 videos, and the technology will have to adapt and grow with demand.
Back in March 2015, YouTube released 360 degree video upload capability on its platform, which immediately gave users an immersive video experience like they’d never had before. From that point on, brands could give the public a real-world feel for what it’s like to use their products. In September of 2015, Facebook got in the game, too, and 360 degree video marketing was taken to a new level. Now everyone with a phone can “tilt and rotate” their way through other worlds while sitting on their couch or walking through a mall.
Recently, professional poker saw the use of 360 videos at a local event in Aspers Casino. Viewers got a new look at the players and game they love – one that was more personal and engaging in nature. The use of the 360 technology at the event was the first time it had been used in a tournament. Another great example of 360 video use is in the virtual tourism industry. People can take virtual vacations through immersive videos that take them to the places they’ve always wanted to travel. The technology of 360 videos is changing how people work, game and travel – and those changes are happening rapidly.
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