360° video is becoming an increasingly popular form of video and social channels such as YouTube and especially Facebook have jumped at the chance to adapt to it. If you are interested in creating your own 360° videos or want to learn about how brands can use them then read on!
What is 360° video?
360° videos can be seen as a type of virtual reality. This kind of content can offer a far more immersive experience for the user. 360° videos can be viewed on desktop, phone and tablet, but they really come to life when using an aid such as Google Cardboard or through Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. Virtual reality may sound like a futuristic concept but with the birth of 360° video it has become far more accessible.
The video aims to allow viewers a full, rotatable image in motion. It may appear similar to any other video but can be identified through the 360° logo.
To experience the 360° effect on desktop, simply click and drag the mouse. On mobile you can tilt the device or use your finger to drag around the scene. 360° videos have become very popular with cultural events, tourist destinations and other attractions as they show the full scene and give the viewer the feeling of being there, which is much more immersive than the experience offered by static images.
Club Med has created many stunning videos to exhibit their holiday destinations.
How can it be used by brands?
Content is key. To make the most of using 360° video as part of their content strategy, brands should have something visually striking or unique that users may not otherwise have the chance to immerse themselves in. This is a perfect opportunity for brands to really show off and let users experience something special. For instance, taking a step inside the Large Hadron Collider, courtesy of BBC News.
Publishers and brands are able to post 360° video organically to their Facebook pages and it has also been worked into existing and new ad formats which can be used as sponsored posts in news feeds. For example, 360° video can be included in Facebook Canvas ads.
Facebook 360° video has already been adopted by brands such as National Geographic, FC Barcelona, Star Wars and AT&T to name a few. 360° video offers the opportunity for users to be part of an experience they wouldn’t normally be able to in their daily lives. Therefore, it has a unique selling point, where users are inclined to take part. 360° video can be a brilliant marketing tool to attract users to the brand. Other industries that have jumped on the 360° bandwagon include extreme sports, music videos, film and TV and fashion houses.
How to create a 360° video
Here are a few tips and some information on creating 360° video to be uploaded to Facebook.
Videos should be shorter than 10 minutes long and smaller than 1.75G, or this can affect the video quality. For the best quality, videos can be uploaded in HD! To record a 360° video, you can use a 360° camera or a spherical camera that adds ‘360° metadata’ to the file which can then be uploaded just as other videos would. Multiple cameras can also be used by attaching them to a rig, and Go-Pros are a popular choice. The 360° metadata then has to be added to the video.
Alternatively, Facebook have led the way in creating their own ‘Surround 360°’ camera which uses 17 different cameras and has the software to render video immediately – it boasts seamless and crisp footage.
Need some inspiration? You can check out Facebook’s list for the Top 10 Most Popular 360° Videos of 2016. One of our top picks is the National Geographic 360° tour of the „Devil’s Pool” at Victoria Falls. It’s a great example of how stunning and truly immersive high quality 360° video can be!
Facebook have also recently introduced 360° photos. This lets users upload a panorama picture and it can be uploaded to Facebook as a 360° image, just like the videos. The difference being, the images can be created using a smart phone without needing any particular equipment for making it 360°. Simply take a panoramic photograph and when uploading the picture Facebook will recognise this and upload as a 360° photo!