YouTube Now Lets You View And Upload 360-Degree Videos

14 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

This is going to change the way you watch YouTube.

YouTube has announced that it is now supporting 360-degree video uploads. It’s not quite as immersive as some of the virtual-reality projects attracting investors, but YouTube’s addition of support for 360-degree videos could initially reach a broader audience. “People can watch your videos on the existing YouTube app for Android, and by moving the phone or tablet around they’ll see all the different angles while the video plays.

Using Google Chrome on a desktop or the Android YouTube App, you can watch the new 360-degree videos and rotate your perspective to get a different view of the action.YouTube is introducing 360-degree videos to its service, allowing users to watch the films through their browser as well as by using their phones as a version of virtual reality. They can do the same on youtube.com or embedded videos on Chrome by using the mouse to drag the point of view around, and we’re working to bring this to iPhone, iPad and other devices soon,” YouTube said in a blog post.

Now, they’re here: as of today, Google’s streaming video service now serves up videos that let you look in any direction—not just where the camera is pointing. The company suggests that the new tool could be used to let viewers “see the stage and the crowd of your concert, the sky and the ground as you wingsuit glide, or you could even have a choose-your-own-adventure video where people see a different story depending on where they look”.

If you’re looking to create your own 360-degree masterpiece, you’ll have to go through a more complex of a process than simply uploading a video to YouTube and calling it a day. The best way to watch these is probably with Cardboard or something equivalent for now, but with the rapid growth of OEM interest in virtual reality and other immersive viewing headsets, this YouTube update paves the way for a future in which we watch from inside the online movie. The process is a little clunky at the moment, with a requirement that you run a Python script to ensure the correct metadata is applied to your video file to get YouTube to recognize the upload as a 360-degree clip, but YouTube says it’s working on automating that part of the process so that likely won’t apply for long. With the 360-degree option, filmmakers and brands will be able to offer a unique experience by letting viewers watch scenes from multiple angles. “You share incredible videos with your fans every second of the day, but what if you could share even more in that video?

You can’t just mash up a bunch of videos you’ve taken from different perspectives, nor can you just take one giant panorama shot and upload it for simulated 3D. Google is working with a number of cameras and manufacturers, including Bublcam, Giroptic’s 360cam, IC Real Tech’s Allie, Kodak’s SP360 and the Ricoh Theta, so that the 360 videos they capture are easy to upload to YouTube. In the future, Google will add additional features like auto-detecting when a 360-degree video has been uploaded, the ability to add filters (because what is life when it’s not viewed through a vaguely retro lens?), and better search functionality for finding these videos. 360 degree video may not be pervasive yet, but a growing number of hardware and software are supporting the form. YouTube making this available to everyone through its omnipresent platform means it’s becoming far easier to get your hands dirty and try things out before immersive video becomes widespread – more commonly available and affordable recording hardware should help that along, but if VR truly becomes mainstream, 360 camera accessories for things like your smartphone won’t be far behind. Only you know what’s possible.” When you upload a YouTube video with a 360-degree camera, the viewer is able to tap on the video and drag the screen to look around at different angles.

The Samsung Gear VR, which straps a Galaxy Note 4 to your face with head-tracking goggles, is itching for content beyond Google Street View videos and a handful of gaming titles. The search giant also released Photo Sphere Camera for iOS to allow users to capture 360-degree view of their favourite scenes right from any compatible Apple device. Yeah, the quality’s a little low right now—unless you bump these up to super high resolutions, it’s a bit of a mess. (Project lead Anjali Wheeler says 360 degree videos take up 4 to 5 times as much bandwidth as a traditional YouTube video.) But think about the possibilities.

If you are near the YouTube Space L.A. studio on Bluff Creek Drive in Los Angeles, the Creator Tech team is letting people try out the 360-degree cameras and put together those types of videos with help from the staff between now through April. Not only do they only work on Chrome and YouTube for Android (more platforms on the way), you also have to output your footage in “equirectangular” format, which is a fancy way of saying that your spherical shot has to be stretched out into a flat rectangular shape to process it properly.

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