Op-Ed: Interactive Media Enthusiasts Unite — Facebook Rolls Out 360-Degree Videos

Op-Ed Interactive Media Enthusiasts Unite — Facebook Rolls Out 360-Degree VideosThe following is guest contributed post by Deidre Bakker-Riches, owner of a boutique marketing firm and consultancy, Twlv31 Marketing, and the Head of Communications for Las Vegas advertising agency, Up All Day Creative Solutions (originally published by Mobile Leaders Alliance).

Since its inception, Facebook has been consistently pushing the envelope in an effort to provide all of us social media buffs with latest and greatest advancements in the social networking realm. And, the company’s latest announcement proves just that.

On September 23, the social networking site announced that its News Feed would now support panoramic 360-degree videos on the web and Android devices (the feature should be available on iOS devices within the next few months). Following in YouTube’s footsteps, which launched 360-degree videos in March of this year, Facebook said its goal is to connect its followers with the things that matter most, including more immersive and interactive content in the News Feeds.

So how do these videos work? Companies use special camera equipment that allows them to record all 360 degrees of a scene at the same time. They then compile the different footage together in a single video file, allowing users to choose which angle you wish to view. When viewing on the web, users can navigate the footage by dragging around the video with your cursor. If you prefer to watch a video on your mobile device, all you need to do to hold up your phone and turn it around while the 360-footage follows along with you. With this interactive technology, users can now explore scenes from all over the world like never before.

Facebook noted that there are currently a variety of companies publishing the 360-videos in the News Feed, including Star Wars, Discovery, GoPro, LeBron James & Uninterrupted, NBC’s Saturday Night Live and VICE.

One of the great videos includes a Disney and Lucasfilm clip from the upcoming “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which is scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on December 18. The 360 experience, created exclusively for Facebook, allows viewers to tour the desert planet of Jakku from the cruiser while in flight.

Another creative use of the 360 technology comes from Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, where he utilized the video to show him practicing on an empty court. According to Variety, the clip is part of Uninterrupted’s “LeBron James Striving for Greatness,” produced by Felix & Paul Studios. The virtual-reality experience will be released on Facebook as a five-episode series and also as a separate interactive experience distributed on the Oculus platform in mid-November.

In addition, Facebook also added there are a multitude of other companies and video creators who are at the cutting-edge of exploring this medium and will able to share their 360-videos in the near future.

So, the next time you want to immerse yourself in the latest Blockbuster, hang out on the court with your favorite sports superstar, or simply just want to do your due diligence before visiting a new vacation destination, this new 360-video technology can now allow users to discover and experience new things from all over the world entirely from the comfort of your own couch. Cheers to that!