YouTube Announces Support of 360 Degree Videos
YouTube has announced that it will now support 360 videos, allowing the viewer to change angles and obtain a more immersive viewing experience.
YouTube has incorporated the upload and playback of 360 degree videos to Chrome web and Android app version of the site. Uploaded videos need to be modified with metadata in order for proper playback to be enabled and currently 24, 25 and 30 frame per second videos are supported, but YouTube hopes to provide support for higher frame rates soon.
When viewing a 360 degree video on the web you can click arrows or drag to view alternative perspectives of the scene, while on a tablet or smartphone you can tilt the device to view new angles. This new functionality allows for a more immersive viewing experience and one that can customised by the user to see not only the focal point of the video, but what’s going on around it too. This will add new levels of entertainment for many areas of videos such as concerts, extreme sports and other performances.
While the new move to support 360 degree videos has been welcomed by filmmakers and videographers, the functionality is thought to be part of an effort from Google and YouTube to make videos more entertaining for those watching on VR (virtual reality) headsets. These headsets are mainly used for gaming but in the future filmmakers and developers may wish to look for ways to update traditional movies and videos into a more captivating experience that can be enjoyed through a headset. For example movies could provide alternative angles of scenes, so by moving your head when wearing a headset it could seem as though you are standing next to a main character instead of looking at them head on. This would be be an amazing experience for action movies and would add a whole new level of fear when watching horrors.
However, amidst the excitement for the future of there is some degree of thought that this type of small screen experience may not interest the regular viewer, who watches movies and videos at home as a way to unwind without needing physical movement or expensive equipment in order to enjoy an on-screen experience. For those who already own VR headsets the addition of 360 degree videos may come as an added bonus, but many of us who rushed out to buy 3D TVs know that purchasing something in anticipation of further developments does not always work out as expected, as the 3D glasses sit at the back of the drawer while we wait interminably for something we can (and want to) watch.
360 degree cameras currently supported by YouTube include Giroptic 360cam, IC Real Tech Allie, Kodak SP360 and others that are soon to be available. The affordable nature of many 360 degree cameras means that the new YouTube support for the videos that can be made by these cameras will be a welcome move for hobbyists and would-be filmmakers who can experiment with artistic and intriguing short movies.
For now though it would seem that the idea of interactive 360 full length movies is reasonably far off, meaning that the everyday YouTube viewer will be able to enjoy the novelty of seeing a music concert specially filmed with a 360 degree camera, but the new functionality is unlikely to take home cinemas by storm just yet.