360 degree video is all over Facebook and seems to be the go to marketing tool for the film industry on social media, check out some stats we collated here. But what exactly is 360 degree video?
An example of an equirectangular image
Top, bottom, left and right
360 degree video is quite literally that; It's video footage which can be viewed in every direction. When viewing on a monitor you can use your cursor to drag the screen and look around; top, bottom, left and right, wherever you want.
An example of a 360 camera rig using GoPro's
When viewed inside a virtual reality headset, the media puts you at the centre of the video, giving you the opportunity to look in every direction and feel part of the action.
It's shot using various method but most commonly using several cameras pointing in different directions. The media is stitched together - which is the laborious part - sound is dubbed in or borrowed from the film and the project is then exported as an equirectangular image. The media is then wrapped around the user when viewed using software which recognises this format.
Gear VR showing 360 degree films at Raindance Film Festival 2016
It's not virtual reality
Even though you can view 360 degree video on a head mounted display does not mean that it's virtual reality. VR allows you to interact with a computer simulation, 360 video is a film with no interaction. Check out our post 'What is virtual reality?'
360 degree video is the first experience that many people believe to be VR and although it's not, it's still a great first in for the technology and if that get's people interested what more could you want?
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