YouTube to add 360-degree videos

23 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

You Can Now Watch and Upload 360-Degree Videos on YouTube.

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.

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 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. Google just turned on 360-degree video uploads for YouTube creators, letting anyone who can film the immersive footage using something like the Bublcam or Ricoh Theta the ability to put their creations on YouTube, where they can be viewed in the YouTube for Android app or in Chrome (with iPhone and iPad support coming soon).

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. 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. 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. A user could remotely watch their kid’s tee-ball game or keep an eye on an elderly parent. “To get the feel of what was happening at that time, nothing compares with the 360-video experience,” said Anjali Wheeler, a Google software engineer who worked on the YouTube technology. “Personally I believe it can actually get very big and as common as video cameras.” He’s used a Ricoh Theta to record everything from his New Year’s Eve party to his son’s soccer practice, and finds himself using it more and more. “It’s the natural progression of cameras,” said Sailor, who likens the shift to our move from VHS to DVD to BluRay and to 4K. “Just like everything else in our life continues to escalate and get better.” He envisions one day building 360-degree cameras into football and hockey helmets so that fans can watch the games through the eyes of their favorite player.

No kidding: Eventually, the hope is that YouTube will unite the growing number of 360-degree camera makers under its one roof, get them all to embrace the same format, so that all you need to do is figure out where to put the camera to capture incredible moments and share them with the world.

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