YouTube is by far the largest video-sharing source in the world and the latest introduction of 360-degree videos brings more attraction to the site. Google-owned video-hosting site added support for 360-degree videos that offer virtual-reality experience, but without precise details. The support for such videos is currently limited to Android and Web platforms while iOS-powered devices are expected to get the feature soon.
Taking advantage of the 360-degree viewing while a video is being played, you can see various angles with simple taps and motions. On desktops with Google Chrome, you can click on the video to pan into various angles.
On Android mobile phones, you can simply move the handset around to see different angles of the video, which imitates the virtual-reality headsets except that nothing will be strapped around your head.
"You could let viewers see the stage and the crowd of your concert, the sky and the ground as you wingsuit glide, or you could even have a choose-your-own-adventure video where people see a different story depending on where they look," YouTube's product manager, Sanjeev Verma, wrote in a blog post.
As simple it is to watch a 360-degree video on YouTube, a lot of hard work goes into the making of such videos. People will need special kind of cameras compatible with YouTube. The company has tied up with the leading companies for 360-degree compatible cameras. According to the company's support page on how to create, prepare and upload 360-degree videos, you can check out Giroptic 360cam, IC Real Tech Allie, Kodak SP360 and Ricoh Theta.
YouTube is also working on automatic metadata insertion necessary for 360-degree viewing, until then users must use a script or an app. According to YouTube, 360 Video Metadata app for Mac or Windows will prepare your video for upload. Once ready, users can publish the video after a preview.