A YouTube feature that first came on our radar at the beginning of the year has now been made available to the public. Google’s video sharing site has announced support for 360-degree videos that capture each camera user’s complete surroundings.
“You could let viewers see the stage and the crowd of your concert, the sky and the ground as you wingsuit glide, or you could even have a choose-your-own-adventure video where people see a different story depending on where they look,” reads an introductory post on YouTube’s creator blog. “Only you know what’s possible. That’s why today we are starting to support 360-degree video uploads on YouTube, to continue giving you all the best resources to connect with your viewers.”
Using this new feature requires a bit of technical wizardry. In order to successfully upload the 360 videos, users must manually run a specific script on their video file. YouTube says it is “working to make this automatic.” The feature initially supports footage from five camers: Bublcam, Giroptic’s 360cam, IC Real Tech’s Allie, Kodak’s SP360 and RICOH THETA.
YouTube has also offered to assist LA-based users who are curious about the new feature. YouTube Space LA will host a technology showcase through April, and creators are invited to drop by and test out some 360 cameras for themselves.
This update will be popular with action sports enthusiasts, and sure enough, one of the site’s first 360-degree videos comes from Red Bull. At the same time, the feature applies to several different categories. You can check out its many uses through a playlist provided by YouTube. Feel free to rotate your way through each video by using the control in the upper-left corner.