The revolution of virtual reality is coming and YouTube makes sure that you’re ready for it.
In a BuzzFeed report, YouTube is said to be getting ready to provide its users 360-degree videos. With this upcoming feature, you could now watch live concerts and events using VR headset. Or you could also look around the scene using your mobile device. Unfortunately, the release of this service is still unknown and YouTube hasn’t confirmed it yet.
But YouTube is reported to be meeting with camera makers of 360-degree videos. This is a great move of YouTube as it needs to overcome the extreme challenges in creating 360-degree videos in real-time.
What is a 360-degree camera?
It’s a camera with circular rigs that carry multiple cameras at once. This is to capture every possible angle of a scene. The different scenes captured are stitched together using a software to create a 360-degree experience.
But the challenge is how to provide the audience a 360-degree video live. For it to work, the scenes have to be stitched together immediately in a way to help servers of YouTube to present the videos properly.
The effort of YouTube in conquering the 360-degree video market started in March 2015. At that time, the functionality was introduced to Android devices and those with HTML 5-enabled browsers.
Two months after, Google introduced hardware and software tools that can create a 360-degree video exclusively for YouTube. These tools were collectively known as the Jump program.
And in November 2015, Google introduced the Cardboard support through an Android app.
The 360-degree videos can be videos using a mobile device. However, users are craving for a more virtual reality experience. With the introduction of Oculus Rift headset, VR will surely take off in a big way this time.
But Oculus isn’t the only one that’s getting serious about VR. Google is said to be building its own VR hardware, which isn’t made of cardboard.
360 Video Cameras
There are many cameras capable of capturing 360-degree videos. But there’s only a few of them that can stream video live. The footage of it is usually not amazing. At first, it may be a headache as different systems have to stitch different video feeds together and in a variety of ways. The entire process is proven to be a little difficult.
There’s also the problem of the file size. A 360 video is large because it’s made up of several feeds. Facebook, on the other hand, has found a way to compress the files without losing the video’s quality. According to its engineering team:
“The large file sizes can be an impediment to delivering video quickly in a quality manner at scale, and the videos can appear distorted during playback. We solved these challenges with new software that transforms 360 videos from the standard equirectangular format into either cube maps or pyramid layouts, which reduces the file size without sacrificing quality or resolution.”
As to YouTube’s feature of 360 video streaming, Buzzed said that there’s no word yet as to when it will arrive and be experienced by users.