It was only in 2016 that Facebook live became available to everyone with a Facebook profile. And until recently, 360 cameras were costly and only available to pros.
Now, everything changes. We’re living in a thrilling era when we get to combine the immediacy and rawness of live video with the immersive and engaging 360 video. Each one of us is literally carrying a live broadcasting device in our pocket, and with very little investment, we can now make it a fully experiential journey, inviting our viewers into our virtual environment right as it happens!
360 live video hasn’t been around for long – YouTube introduced it in April 2016, with Facebook and Twitter/Periscope following in December 2016. Over the past few months, 360 live video across all these platforms has become available to everyone, and with a little equipment, we can now invite our viewers to your office, living room, event, and behind-the-scenes happenings, viewable in all directions.
There is also a very recent (mid-July 2017!), exciting update from Facebook – it is now possible to stream 360 live video in 4K quality, and you can now watch it using the Samsung Gear VR, taking this a step further towards full immersiveness of live video.
If you still aren’t on board, this is the right time to get started with 360 live video. Keep reading!
Who is leading the way?
As with most newly released features on social, 360 live video first became available on Facebook and Periscope to larger brands.
Toyota gained a tremendous audience of 1.1 million viewers for their 360 live look at their Concept-i car at CES on Twitter through their Periscope broadcast:
— Toyota USA (@Toyota) January 5, 2017
And only a day later, Airbnb attracted the same size audience for their Airbnb cooking experience:
— Airbnb (@Airbnb) January 6, 2017
It is clear that brands like Toyota and Airbnb are early adopters of this incredible innovation and are leveraging it as a unique opportunity to further nurture their brand awareness and grow an engaged community.
This proves that 360 live video is still an uncrowded space with mostly big names leading the way, which presents an opportunity for businesses of all sizes to start thinking about 360 live video as one part of their marketing and visual storytelling strategy!
The equipment and resources you need
As with most technologically advanced storytelling options, you can take one of the two main paths when it comes to 360 live video: DIY, or working with a storytelling partner to help you convey your message using their experience and professional equipment.
The only equipment you truly need to get started on your own are your phone and a 360 camera. There are 360 camera options for both Apple and Android phones, and the least costly options start at just over £100! The most common and accessible choice is the Insta360 camera (Air for Android, Nano for Apple), both under £200, but there are other options such as Giroptic IO and Moto 360, as well as pro ranges of 360 cameras such as Insta360 Pro, ION360 U and Nokia Ozo.
The process is as simple as plugging in your camera to your device! With Insta360, an Insta360 app fires up after plugging in the camera, and you are given an option to either start recording, or go live on Facebook, YouTube or Periscope. You then need to authorise your account access and ensure all your live streaming settings align with your connectivity speed. After you’ve entered your live event description, you’re good to go!
Whichever platform you’ve decided to use, you can look at your viewer analytics afterwards and react to any comments you may have missed during the broadcast.
Easy, right? Going live in 360 is such a massive step forward in the way you can now communicate with your audience. However, there will always be a ceiling in the form of quality and features you can use when going for the do-it-yourself option. If you are looking to partner with a team of professionals that can take your storytelling miles ahead with 360 live video, we at VIVIDA would be excited to hear from you and share our passion for 360 and virtual reality with you!
Here are some useful resources you may want to reference in your 360 live journey:
Don’t make common mistakes
And finally, we have some easy tips for you to ensure the best possible quality for your 360 live streams:
- Ensure you have a strong network connection. Your stream will only be as good as your network connectivity, and it’s recommended you have a consistent upload speed of 4Mbps, which will ensure your stream doesn’t lag or cut off.
- Consider having a host to act as a narrator. This will help guide your viewers and lead the storytelling in a way you desired, making sure the viewers are focusing on the key subject in any given moment.
- Consider spatial audio for a more authentic experience. Viewers that are joining your stream while using headphones or a stereo system will be able to hear sounds coming from their actual direction, boosting the immersiveness of your stream!
- Everything is ‘in the frame’, but things further than 20-30 feet won’t be clearly visible. Completely opposite from filming with a regular camera, you can’t simply push unnecessary objects out of the frame – they are all in the frame. At the same time, keep in mind that some further objects won’t be crisp for your audience so in case you want them visible, ensure your camera is close enough.
- Move the camera as little as possible. A frequent mistake is making lots of movements with the 360 camera during the stream and especially turning it around, which may confuse your viewers. Since your camera already has a 360 degree viewing field, your viewers can individually decide which view they want to look at, and you don’t need to turn your camera around to make them look some other way – this is also a situation where a narrator can make a huge impact.
That’s it – are you ready to start your journey with 360 live video? Let us know, we can’t wait to hear from you!