360-degree video - It makes all the difference

July 28, 2016

Introduction - Virtual reality

Virtual reality is a term known since the late 50s when the translation of Antonin Astraud’s collection of essays The Theatre and Its Double (1938) was published in 1958. Its meaning has changed substantially since it was first used to describe the objects in a theatre. Nowadays it refers to a computer technology which main characteristic is replicating an environment in such a way that it stimulates and allows for user interaction. The environment can be real or imagined, but if it is similar to the real world the experience is more lifelike. However, when it comes to games, there is a significant difference between the VR simulation and real life.

Most recent virtual realities are displayed on a computer monitor or with a virtual reality handset.

Some examples of virtual reality include Google’s Cardboard, Nintendo’s 3D effect on a 2D television, Oculus VR headsets, Sony’s Project Morpheus, or, there are some speculations on the matter, but it is widely accepted that 360-degree video is also a form of VR. Bottom line is, during the video playback the viewer has total control over the viewing direction. Thus, 360-degree videos are, indeed, a form of virtual reality.


What is 360-degree video?

For people, the feeling of controlling a certain situation, is comforting. For the user, the feeling of controlling the way he sees a certain video, is exciting and new and everything but boring. It brings a new flavor to the old video streaming method, if you wish. It makes the viewer feel part of something that is much bigger than the simple act of watching - he becomes a part of the way the video is made, he feels more in control of his own user experience because he chooses what to see. 360-degree video became so popular exactly because it engages the user and instantly catches his attention and interest.

Moreover, the technology that is used to make 360-degree videos is innovative and there is nothing that the world loves more these days than innovation. You can read more about the way the videos are made in the following section.


How is 360-degree video made?

360-degree video is a video recording of a real-world panorama. The view in every direction is recorded simultaneously by either an omnidirectional camera with many lenses or a rig of multiple cameras. The footage from all of them forms a single video. Overall, the only area that cannot be viewed is the camera support itself.


Viblast’s demo in 360-degree

Since we are always focused on the future and the emergent technologies, we decided that it is only right to show you our 360-degree video demo.

Nowadays streaming in 360-degree is as simple as possible.

We combined the popular video.js-panorama plugin developed by Wensheng Yan with our Viblast Player engine and a video.js framework in order to simplify the 360-degree playback. As Viblast Player is capable of both DASH and HLS playback, the demo is available for both types of streams. Thanks to our friends from Medianova, we provided two demo streams for both streaming protocols - DASH and HLS. You can test it with your own streams if you wish. In fact, we highly recommend that you do, because then you could see for yourself how awesome our 360-degree video streaming can be!