Facebook today announced new updates coming to their 360 streaming service including live 4k streaming support to VR headsets, image stabilization and a number of features that puts VR-ready 360 video more in line with the company’s standard streaming video service. Facebook also released a list of vetted 360 cameras and software suites so prospective content creators can jump straight into the 360 deep end with full knowledge that what they’re doing conforms to the company’s 360 streaming standards.
At least for Gear VR owners, Facebook’s 360 livestreaming service is getting the star treatment, now letting you deliver 360 videos in up to 4K resolution to the Facebook 360 app for Gear VR—both live and replayed later. Bringing 360 video up to speed with the rest of the platform also means giving it some of the features first released for standard video like donate buttons for charities, scheduled live broadcasts, and some post-live video tools that can help you get the most out of the video.
It’s uncertain at this time when Facebook Spaces, the Oculus Rift app that allows 360 photo and streaming video, will see the update.
When it’s done with care, VR can let you step into the shoes of another person—a powerful tool that pioneering immersive journalist Nonny de la la Peña lauds as an ’empathy generator’. Now you’ll be able to donate directly from within a 360 video just like on standard video. Only pre-approved “verified pages” can inject a donate button into their 360 live and recorded stream, and it must be a US-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
With the new update, you’ll also be able to schedule 360 videos so followers can know the exact date and time you go live and also sign up for a reminder notification that pushes to their mobile device (in the case a Gear VR-capable phone) that alerts them when you’re recording.
Post-live video is getting some attention too to make it more attractive for casual viewers. A new image stabilization function that uses an algorithm to detect when things are shaky will be applied to recorded video, making it more comfortable for VR users. 360 video destined for VR headsets is also getting two features released last year that will let users skip to important parts of the livestream, and let creators better understand where their viewers are looking with a heatmap analytics tool.
Facebook is also making it easier to post video to several of the pages you own by allowing what it calls “crossposting”.
360 Cameras and Software Vetted by Facebook
Facebook-approved cameras and software are coming too, emblazoned with the “Live 360 Ready” logo. The company says each camera’s app or web experience will enable you to interact with your friends and followers through direct access to their native reactions and comments function. The current list of Live 360 Ready cameras and software includes:
- Giroptic iO ($249)
- Insta360 Nano ($199)
- Insta360 Air ($129)
- Insta360 Pro ($3499)
- ION360 U ($249)
- Nokia Ozo Orah 4i ($3595)
- Z CAM S1 ($2499)
- 360fly 4K Pro ($499)
- Assimilate SCRATCH VR
- Groovy Gecko
- Livescale 360
- Z CAM WonderLive
You can check out more about the update on Facebook’s media blog.