The Truth About 360° Video

If you’ve been scrolling through your Facebook Newsfeed recently you have noticed something a bit out of the ordinary. One of your friends uploaded a photo of their most recent trip to the Rocky Mountains. You stop on the picture and notice that as you turn your phone more of the image begins to appear in the direction you are moving almost as if you’re standing atop the Rockies yourself. You keep scrolling and see an ad for the new BMW M series sports car. You stop on the ad and notice that you are seated in the drivers seat as the car is racing along a track. As you move your phone up and down and side to side you begin to see more of the interior of the car, the roadway, the sky, and your feet. What exactly is this new technology? It is called 360° video and it’s changing how people share experiences as we know them.

What is 360° video?

To fully understand the concept of 360° we need to take a look at a 360° video, its history, how the technology works, and how a 360° video is made.

First, let’s take a look at an actual 360° video.

Cockpit View of SWISS Flight

360° video has been around for the past 10 years, but has gained popularity within the past five due to advances in virtual reality technology and the desire by many to connect with other people’s experiences in their most raw form. 360° videos are made using 360° camera systems that contain more than two working lenses. 360° camera systems have capability to record the full 360X180 degree field of view required to fully immerse the viewer in a lifelike video. Once the camera system record video the footage is processed into a spherical video using specific 360° video editing software such as Kolor or premium software like Final Cut Pro X. Once the footage is assembled videos can be uploaded to social sharing platforms like Facebook or YouTube to immerse people in the reality that is being are created. Most 360° videos that are created today are monoscopic (one single image), however with the increasing popularity of virtual reality many videos are now being produced in stereoscopic video which is composed of two distinct images (one for each eye) that create the virtual reality effect when show through an appropriate headset.

What 360° video means for marketing?

With virtual reality to grow by an estimated 171 million new users by 2018, 360° is anticipated to become the new standard in immersive video production. 360° video is the new cornerstone of experience driven marketing as consumers now have the ability to explore products/services through an immersive experience right in their own living room.

Much like virtual reality producing quality 360° videos is not cheap. Professional rigs composed of seven or more GoPro cameras can easily cost over $1,000 while some “cheaper” consumer cameras like the RICOH Theta S and the 360Fly can cost anywhere from $350.00 to $500.00. Most of these consumer options link to iOS and Android devices with apps where video editing can take place right on your smartphone. Although 360° video is still a relatively new and evolving form of media, the sky is truly the limit, especially for marketers, who are willing to take a leap of faith with the technology and create a truly immersive experience for people to connect with brands, products, and services.

Nick Myers is the Managing Partner of RedFox Creative. For more information, or to leave a comment send an email to nickm@redfoxcreate.com.

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