Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook today that 360 video is launching on the mobile with a little help from their Oculus division.
Zuckerberg said in his post, “360 video is a completely new experience because you can move the camera around. This opens new ways of sharing experiences and makes you feel like you’re part of what you’re watching. It’s a step towards even more immersive experiences.”
Facebook brought 360 video viewing support to web and Android in September, and you can now finally watch these VR-style videos on iOS. Facebook offer some tantalizing hints about how they plan to evolve the News Feed into something more than two-dimensional. Facebook is also opening up the format to advertisers, the first “immersive stories” coming from brands including AT&T, Corona, Nescafe, Ritz Crackers, Samsung and Walt Disney World.
So what's it all about?
360 videos can be watched by tap-and-dragging around the screen, or for a true virtual reality experience, starting today on the Samsung Gear VR. Meanwhile, to get more people sharing 360 content to the News Feed, Facebook is working with 360 camera makers like Theta, Giroptic and IC Real Tech to add “publish to Facebook” buttons to their apps. That means there’s no need to fiddle with uploading the 360 video to your computer first.
How can I create my own 360 video?
Well if your 360 creative juices are ready to burst and you want to know how to create your own, well fret no more. Facebook launched a microsite dedicated to providing filmmakers best practices, upload guidelines, and FAQs. World-leading VR producers Chris Milk and Aaron Koplin of Vrse pitched in to show creators what’s the best way to make immersive video.
Facebook will have to compete with YouTube and a slew of new video platforms all trying to be the “YouTube of VR”. Facebook might not end up becoming the destination for this content. But by being where you serendipitously discover 360 videos, it has more control over recommending content and ads while simultaneously making us feel more connected to far-flung locales and fictional places.
Try out the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Immersive 360 Experience yourself here, and see what you think.
About the Author
Philip Byrne has over twenty years of web development, graphic design and 3D animation. Initially providing 3D animations for RTE Game Shows (Where in the World, Fame & Fortune, Winning Streak), he then moved into the web industry. After 15 years of working in the industry, he set up his own company and founded eBuild Web Solutions based in Citywest. You can catch up with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+.