Google now allows users to upload and view 360 degree videos to YouTube, reports Forbes. Currently, it supports or is planning to support the following cameras: Giroptic 360cam, IC Real Tech Allie, Kodak SP360 and Ricoh Theta. However, the company also mentioned that it would accept videos created by users using their own custom camera rigs and 3rd party stitching software like Kolor Autopano. 360 degree videos basically mean that users can “watch” a video in any direction, along with the perspective that it was initially shot in.
These videos would be accessible on the Chrome browser and on the YouTube app both on desktop as well as Android (Jelly Bean and up) mobile. The company mentioned that support for iPhone, iPad and other devices was on its way. It also plans to make available the 360 degree videos through virtual reality platforms. A playlist of 360 videos is available here.
Users need to encode their video at a high resolution using YouTube’s specifications. This feature will support videos with a frame rate of 24, 25 or 30 frames per second. The company mentioned that support for higher frames was “coming soon”. The video file needs to include certain metadata to enable a 360 degree playback. This metadata can be obtained from Google’s metadata generator app or by running a Python script on the video file. Since “YouTube Video Editor and Enhancements” tools would not work on desktop or mobile to convert a non-360 degree video file to a 360-degree one, it suggests watching the video to confirm that 360 degree viewing has been enabled, before publishing it online. A TechCrunch report says that YouTube is working to automate the metadata-script process in order for the video to get recognised as 360 degree enabled. The report also suggests viewing the videos on Cardboard or something equivalent.
VR, VR everywhere?
Recently, there has been a rise in the adoption of virtual reality across the globe. Samsung released a VR device, the Samsung Gear VR in collaboration with the Oculus VR in December last year. In February this year, real estate and apartment management portal CommonFloor introduced CommonFloor Retina, a virtual reality initiative to let users view listed real estate in 3D. Online furniture retailer Urban Ladder launched an augmented reality app called Living Spaces in November last year. Urban Ladder had first announced that it was working on Living Spaces as part of its UL Labs initiative in August last year. Despite this growth, the targeted consumer remains a question. The availability of VR content is also comparatively low but the YouTube move might help to address that issue.