Imagine standing on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the sparkling blue sea. Now, JUMP! Feel the breeze, the rush of air as you fly towards the water like a rocket.
But wait…? You haven’t left your couch. In fact, you’re just watching a video of a stranger cliff jumping in Italy. How can video feel so real? How can video make you feel like you are literally experiencing the action without moving an inch?
Welcome to the captivating world of 360° video!
While you may not have heard the specific term “360° video” before, you’ve probably heard of “Virtual Reality”, which is a type of 360° video viewed through specific equipment like an Oculus. The goal of virtual reality (and 360° video in general) is to give the viewer an intense, immersive experience through video.
In other words, 360° video lets the viewer feel like they are truly IN the shot.
Virtual reality typically requires specific headsets to give you the full effect of the video, but 360° video can be viewed without any special gear at all. In fact, the secret to 360° video isn’t in what equipment the viewer has, but the equipment the cameraperson has.
Let’s back up.
We all know video is a huge part of today’s world – from the work-from-home revolution to the pandemic-inspired hybrid events and campus lectures. Video, like the rest of the world over the past few years, has continued to evolve and grow.
Video isn’t (or doesn’t have to be) a passive activity anymore. Video should be engaging, interesting and interactive for viewers and participants. And Mediasite can help deliver that experience.
Mediasite’s brand-new Premier Player is fully compatible with 360° video storage and playback, and our team can deliver a customized 360° video toolkit designed for your specific needs and goals.
SO WHAT IS 360° VIDEO?
360° video refers to a method of filming that uses multiple camera angles simultaneously to create an in-person, immersive feeling for the viewer. Instead of only seeing the frame and specific direction the camera is pointing, 360° video gives the viewer the opportunity to “turn” the frame to see a space from different directions. Viewers are in control of looking up and down and side to side, similar to the experience of viewing panoramic artwork and photograph displays.
360° video can be shot using a special omnidirectional camera or by using multiple cameras shooting from different directions. Both options involve the frames being “stitched” together to create the 360° experience, with either the camera itself doing the stitching, or by using special software that can synchronize the multiple camera feeds into one consistent piece. Either way, the result is the same: a spherical recording that allows the viewer to turn their head and adjust the direction and perspective of the content they are viewing as though they were actually IN the video.
HOW IS 360° VIDEO CURRENTLY BEING USED?
So now that we understand what 360° video is, let’s talk about how you can use it to enhance the impact of your content in strategic ways. The main value of 360° video from a strategic standpoint is that it can simulate the in-person experience of events and environments that are rare, dangerous, difficult or expensive to coordinate, etc.
Here are a few examples of how 360° video is currently being used to enhance the viewing experience of specific content:
- Virtual Shopping: During the pandemic, furniture and clothing stores began offering online shoppers the ability to view merchandise in 360° video format to simulate the vivid detail of the in-person retail experience.
- Real Estate Listings: Similar to virtual shopping, real estate companies have begun to offer 360° video tours of listed properties to give remote buyers a better sense of what it feels like to be inside a specific home or unit.
- Military and Disaster Response Training: Battlefield combat, fire rescue scenarios, earthquake evacuations, etc. are obviously difficult to simulate. 360° video gives trainers an additional tool to help prepare military and disaster response personnel for the intensity of the environments they will experience in the course of their work.
- Medical Training: Certain medical procedures are extremely rare, which poses a significant challenge for surgeons-in-training who need firsthand exposure to such procedures. 360° video offers a method of exposing medical students to the operating room experience without having to be physically present for the procedure.
- Travel and Tourism Advertisements: We’ve all heard the expression “photos just don’t do it justice” when it comes to visiting the Grand Canyon or Bali or the Great Pyramids. 360° video may not quite capture the full experience either – but it can get much closer than a photograph.
- Education: In addition to military and disaster response training, 360° video can play a helpful role in a variety of academic contexts – archaeology students can virtually visit a dig site, engineering and architectural students can explore interior sections of a structure, etc.
Thoughtful creators are using 360° video to showcase their content in clever and strategic new ways, and the next big idea is probably right around the corner.
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF 360° VIDEO?
When it comes to 360° video, the goal is to let viewers live the experience, not watch it.
As 360° video becomes more and more mainstream, viewers will likely expect video to give them this type of immersive experience whenever possible. Many viewers no longer want to sit still and passively listen or learn – they want to be part of the process. We’ve seen this expectation increase over the pandemic, as event organizers have gotten more and more creative with creating content and viewers have gotten more comfortable with using and experimenting with video.
360° video will be a critical tool to help bridge the gap between in-person events and virtual experiences.
Events and conferences should look to 360° video as an option to offer guests and viewers a chance to participate, interact and control their experience. From panning the crowd in attendance to offering Q&A sessions that help the virtual attendees feel like they are truly there, 360° video will offer new options for event planners as they continue to push the envelope on virtual experiences.
If you’re curious about 360° video and whether it might be a good option for your business or organization, contact Mediasite for a custom proposal.