Like Google, Facebook believes the future of technology and networking centers around virtual reality and “augmented reality”. Facebook is currently experimenting with what it calls “spherical videos” or 360 degree videos which can be shot by 24 cameras working together.
Facebook owner and CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the new technology at the annual Facebook developer conference in San Francisco stating “You can move around inside the video,” he said, “and view it from different angles.” The plan, is to eventually get this kind of “immersive, 360-degree video experience” into your Facebook News Feed.
Facebook describes its spherical videos as a first step towards even more immersive videos that may be viewed through Oculus Rift (owned by Facebook) or other similar virtual reality headsets much like advanced gaming. “You’re going to be able to put on your Oculus headset and view spherical videos there too.” said Zuckerberg. The concept of spherical videos is not new but the difference here is that you will not require a headset to feel the benefits although of course it will enhance the user experience.
Facebook is demonstrating the new technology at this week’s F8 conference by showing a 24 camera-view of the Facebook headquarters in California. In fact Facebook is already encouraging advertisers and publishers to create their own spherical videos and publish them on the network.
What Could Spherical Videos Be Used For?
Well firstly, this technology is not for amateur end users to create, although of course they will enjoy the benefits of watching it. Speaking with a video producer I work with from time to time I was told that this is a fairly elaborate set up. Firstly you would need to have the technology (24 high quality cameras), a space to film in and then of course the people to actually operate them! Assuming you have this, which of course large corporations will do, there are tons of cool things you could do:
- Create live news broadcasts showing 350 degree surroundings
- Allow viewers to explore museums, parks, attractions online
- To show off products in 360 degree detail
- Make educational videos or instruction videos
- Produce interactive promotional videos offering user choice
What do you think of spherical videos in your Facebook newsfeed? Tweet me @charli_says and let me know