The Age of 360 Videos is upon us. Today Facebook, with a little help from Oculus VR, a virtual reality technology company they acquired in 2014, has launched what’s sure to be one of the most popular talking points at office watercoolers the world over – a 360° video clip of the most anticipated film of the year, Star Wars.
gif credit: popular mechanics
Why the fuss?
Traditional flat videos provided viewers with but a single viewpoint. The video creator is somewhat limited by the single perspective the lens afford. Any intriguing focal points in the background are out of focus, and obscured from view.
This is now a problem we no longer have to be concerned with. Focused panoramic cameras provide viewers with the most accurate vision of what was recorded. We live in a 360° world – the documenting of our world should be 360° too.
The rise of 360° cameras
360° cameras appeal is the complete immersion in the video. When watching any video on a flat screen there is always a sense of disconnection. In essence, viewers are voyeurs. 360° cameras create an experience, rather than being an observer. The amplification of the emotional connection to what you’re viewing is palpable.
Although the technology is only at the start of its generation, the volume of 360° viewing experiences will increase as more cameras come onto the market. Canadian start-up Bubl were one of the first to develop a truly panoramic camera, without any blind spots.
How 360° cameras could shape the future
We are on the cusp of image and video evolution – one that’s arguably more significant that the introduction of HD. Presently, the amount of video clips is small but with Bubl and other innovative products being introduced to a marketplace ravenous for enhanced online experiences, it seems online a matter of time before 360° bursts into the mainstream.
Commitment to video immersion
Youtube also appears to be committed to 360° videos. Searches on the video-sharing site offer visitors the chance to view a range of videos. Each uploaded video file features a circular symbol on the top left of the video. Clicking any of the directional buttons will change the perspective, as this video demonstrates.
Will 360° videos shape interactive media in years to come? It’s hard to see why not. The experience of being able to immerse yourself in your favourite fictional universe, or sit inside the cockpit of a Formula One car, is one that’s sure to appeal to everyone.
Do you fancy speeding across the Jakku desert?