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360-degree videos and spatial audio: A new wave of immersive video experience

May 16, 2016 / by / 0 Comment
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Leading tech companies Facebook, Google, and YouTube are, once again, revolutionizing users’ video experience through their respective 360 video upgrades. This video technology, created by simultaneously recording all 360 degrees of a scene, can be viewed in both desktops with updated browsers and Android and iOS mobile phones.

Youtube’s immersive experience

YouTube seems intent to outdo Facebook in terms of immersive video experience. The company’s official blog confirmed its participation in the new 360-degree live streams partnered with spatial audio technology. Youtube  explains that spatial audio will allow a user to hear a 360-degree video in real-life, live quality.

“What excites me most about 360-degree storytelling is that it lets us open up the world’s experiences to everyone. Students can now experience news events in the classroom as they unfold. Travelers can experience faraway sites and explorers can deep-sea dive, all without the physical constraints of the real world. And today’s kids dreaming of going to a basketball game or a concert can access those experiences firsthand, even if they’re far away from the court. What were once limited experiences are now available to anyone, anywhere, at any time,” Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer of Youtube, said.

YouTube first launched its support for 360-degree videos way back in March 2015. Since then, various video creators ranging from musicians, athletes, and even bands have adopted the technology in their videos. Engadget reported that the international music event, Coachella took advantage of this immersive technology when it streamed select performances in 360-degrees.

Facebook and Google’s 360 and VR

In 2015, Facebook unleashed its VR-style 360 videos that support web and Android and iOS. These videos are created using a special set of cameras able to capture the whole 360-degrees of the screen, all at the same time. These VR style videos can be watched by dragging the device around, or tapping the screen with the help of a VR gadget. Also, Facebook has opened this format to publishers for improved consumer experience.

Last March 2016, Google also released a video in support of the 360-degree format. The video featured a 360-tour of Google’s Data Center. A report by Engadget revealed that, although there were recent videos focused on the Google Data Center, this recent 360- video captured a more immersive experience. Sandpeep, a Google developer advocate, presented the video and served as a virtual tour guide narrating and describing each room.

Google-owned YouTube’s support for 360-degree live streams delivers higher video resolutions of up to 70 percent when running on 1440p, 60 frames per second compared with standard HD resolution of 1080p. While this immersive technology enables more real-life streams to videos, the video game sector, which was the first to adopt virtual reality technology, can greatly benefit from this new 360-degree live streams. Although, unlike the virtual reality technology that requires bulky headgear, 360-degree videos can be viewed on any desktop and mobile device.

The Verge writes that many of the industries today see 360 as a stepping stone in developing more immersive videos in the nascent VR industry. “I think 360 video is good to fill the VR content gap,” co-founder & CEO of the 3D-imaging startup Sketchfab wrote in an email to The Verge.

Other tech companies follow suit

Google and Facebook have already explored the greater possibilities that 360-degree videos present through Cardboard and the Oculus Rift, the companies’ VR headgears respectively. Other startup companies have released products in support of the 360-degree video live stream such as NextVR. The company founded by DJ roller and David Cole specializes in capturing, producing, and live streaming high definition virtual reality content. A new addition to their patented technologies is an immersive virtual 360-degree video content that can be captured and broadcasted live or on demand.

“Today, with the increasing smartphone use, people demand to be seamlessly connected to the internet at all times. Connectivity is a very important global to consumers. They’re working on their cellphones and mobile devices more and more, relying on the signal,” said 5BARz International (OTCQB: BARZ) CEO Daniel Bland in an exclusive interview.

The continuous upgrade of the way we communicated brought about innovations which have already become a part of many people’s lifestyles. It is no surprise that Google, Facebook and Youtube’s are once again leading in transforming many different industries by developing more immersive and true-to-life videos.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Arturo Garcia is a Peruvian-Filipino freelance journalist. He is a self-confessed football fan like most Latin Americans, although he never learned to enjoy basketball, his Filipina mother’s favorite sport. He started out as a political writer for a local daily in Peru, but now focuses on everything-tech and business. Arturo studied Economics at Unibersidad de Lima and currently lives at an apartment in Salinas Valley, Northern California, exactly 725 meters from John Steinbeck’s hometown.