360° Video

360° is a variety of virtual reality (VR).

360° video is a variety of virtual reality (VR) , one of the fastest-growing technology fields. However, VR is more than just 360° video. The distinction between them is described below.

If 360° video content is not completely computer-generated, the material must be produced with complex camera rigs. In these rigs, there are multiple cameras that capture the entire scene. At best, the entire spherical impression is obtained with cameras that also look up and down. The video streams of each camera must then be synchronized and stitched together, to create a seamless 360° video that gives the viewer the chance to look around a scene without any lag.

Software solutions already exist to help with this stitching. These include plug-ins for After Effects or Nuke, or proprietary applications that specialise in video stitching.

360° video is usually displayed using  “head mounted displays” (HMDs).  These displays range from the cheap, so-called “Cardboard” models (Google’s Cardboard is a very simple way to market the use of a smartphone for VR) to complex HMDs such as Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.

With 360° video, you can move your head to view the whole scene. Stereoscopic 360° videos also convey a sense of depth, however, one disadvantage of this is that users do not have complete freedom. They cannot roam around the scene, their experience is limited by the viewing point, that is attached to the camera angle of the 360° rigs. The immersive experience can also be impaired by lack of resolution – both from the cameras used and from the headsets themselves. High latency and low frame rates also lead to "Simulator Motion Sickness”. Frame rates of at least 90fps and resolutions greater than HD (per eye) make high-quality workflows a technical challenge in HMDs.

It’s important to capture the sound in a way that represents human hearing. This depends on your sound design. By using binaural techniques the viewer can have their attention drawn by the sound from behind them, or the sound designer could use object based audio to segregate the sound to the video slices that they are viewing at that time. Sound is one of the most important elements of the VR experience.