Delivery: Watching your 360° Video
How are you going to watch your 360° video content? Understanding the end user will affect some of the decisions in the capture and post-production since the user is required to interact beyond just watching to truly experience the benefits of 360° video.
The method that is used most often for 360° is web-based delivery such as a dedicated website or Facebook application. This is where we recommend working with an experienced tech company. The best partners have video editors and post-production teams that can build the creative content as well as deploy it for web or mobile, creating a seamless process from start to finish.
Here is an example of a web-based deployment whereby, using the mouse, the user is able to move around the 360° video to see all angles of the experience. They get to choose what they see!
A growing medium for 360° video is mobile devices. Deploying on mobile lets the user take in the video experience using the gyroscope in their device, or through swiping on a touchscreen. However, many examples require a dedicated app to view the 360° content instead of embedding into existing apps. Some of the companies below have SDK’s that make it easy to embed into existing apps.
Making your 360° video interactive is even more involved but provides another dimension to the immersive experience, allowing the user to actually interact with their surroundings as opposed to just taking it in. This requires a more complex process of stitching your 360° video together on a spherical 3D mesh within a game engine like Unity. From there, you can position your camera in the centre of the spherical shaped mesh, as if the user is standing there. This is great for gaming, information, enhancements to the video based on choices made or directions viewed etc. From Unity, experienced game developers can export to iOS or Android mobile applications.
Want to really push things on mobile? Try exporting the 360° video in stereoscopic 3D and have your viewers view it through the cardboard VR toolkit.
OCULUS DK2 or SAMSUNG GEAR VR
Some of what we discuss or dabbled in here at Current is still in Beta or developer release only. However, we dabble a lot, and have learned a lot along the way creating experiences on these platforms.
Recently, we’ve been delving into VR. Playing simple 360° video on an Oculus DK2 is a very immersive and deceptive experience. Here the quality of the video you have captured is critical. Pixelation and compression of the video within the Oculus can mean you loose the magic of immersion. There are several software tools that can deliver a Stereoscopic 3D output.
The process of stitching a 360° video on a spherical mesh within Unity (discussed within mobile above) can also work on a mobile-based Oculus or Samsung Gear VR. For example, Immersive Media (http://immersivemedia.com) has a Beta SDK that is delivering 360° video content to the Samsung gear VR however this is not for commercial release. The challenge here is to work within the processing power of the available VR device. On a DK2 this is not an issue.
We get really excited when we start thinking of the possibilities and capabilities that lie in the future of 360° video. As production values increase and creative teams begin to understand the capabilities, we really think we will start to see 360° commercials, documentaries, TV shows and maybe even films. The future is just around the corner!