Facebook brings 360 videos to news feed

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Brings VR-Style 360-Degree Video To News Feed.

The social network is beginning to add the immersive videos to the News Feed, the company announced Wednesday. The company revealed that Web and Android users should begin to see these new video formats within their News Feed soon, but support within its iOS app will be coming soon. The videos, first announced at Facebook’s F8 developer conference, are filmed with a special camera setup that captures q full 360-degree view of the scene. At launch, publishers including Star Wars, Discovery, GoPro, LeBron James & Uninterrupted, NBC’s Saturday Night Live, and VICE will start posting 360 videos. Anyone can publish one of the videos starting today. (You won’t see any of them on iOS, though — at least, not yet.) On Tuesday, I visited Facebook’s campus to see how 360-degree videos look on Facebook.

And just as whenever a new content type comes along, businesses could start exploiting it to make 360 video ads and paying to boost their reach in the feed. On the web, they’re just fine — you click around to shift your perspective; it feels like using Google Maps’ Street View feature inside a video. To start things off, the Walt Disney Company released a video that absorbs you into the Star Wars universe leading up to the December release of the series’ newest chapter: The Force Awakens. Others include GoPro and its latest video showcasing sand dune jumping with Ronnie Renner. “With more than four billion videos viewed daily on Facebook, we have an opportunity to bring the excitement of 360-degree video to a vast new audience,” said GoPro’s Senior Vice President of Entertainment Zander Lurie in a statement. “360-degree video represents a compelling way for GoPro to bring people into new worlds and experiences like never before.” If you’re viewing these videos on your desktop, just move your cursor on the player to glance around. But you can imagine a way to split the view into different lenses for VR headsets could be on the way, though that would require videos to be shot with two lenses side-by-side.

However, if you’re on a mobile device, what’s interesting is that you don’t have to move your finger across the screen — it moves as the device moves. Facebook actually tip-toed in this direction with its news reader app Paper, which let you tilt your phone back and forth to pan across panoramic photos. While initially available to a select group of publishers, Facebook did say that it will be making this feature available to more people in the future. Facebook’s News Feed is used by upwards of 1 billion people every month, representing 360-video’s best chance so far to reach a large audience and break through to the mainstream. Granted that the initial set of publishers aren’t focused on travel, the idea of having this immersive video technology available lets users become absorbed in the experience and connected with those on the other parts of the world or fans of certain topics and issues.

Text led to photos, which led to video, which led to autoplay video. “Over time we’ve seen the modes of sharing shift to become more mobile, and more immersive,” he says. “Here what we’ve done is look at all the really cool 360-degree video content people are creating and think through, what’s the right way to bring that experience to News Feed.” To do it, Facebook worked closely with the team from Oculus, which is grappling with similar issues as it develops its virtual reality platform. “Facebook and Oculus are sharing,” Cox says. “The team that’s working on this, the team that’s working on this stuff in VR, is very fluid in terms of the engineers, the product managers, the designers, sharing backgrounds and skill sets. That’s not to say the next step is a full-fledged virtual reality version of Facebook, though Cox has previously said the company is building VR versions of its apps. And even when viewed on a phone or the web, 360-degree video is like VR in at least one way: both illustrate how products are evolving to let us share more of our experiences with one another, thanks to technology that is richer with information and uses more of our senses. If you’ve shot a 360-degree video — and please let’s come up with a nickname for these, I’m already tired of typing it — you can upload it to Facebook in standard formats.

But cheaper options are on the way; Ricoh’s Theta S Digital Camera, which shoots what it calls “spherical panoramas,” goes on sale October 23rd for $350. VR is evolving fast enough that you can already imagine the day 360-degree video will look clunky: a relic of a time when there wasn’t a VR headset in most homes, and we had to click around SNL clips in the browser with mice.

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