27th Feb 2018

Live 360 Video at London Fashion Week | The Streaming Company NewsThe introduction of live 360° video has given viewers a real immersive experience for events, sports and conferences, offering a unique perspective that has really taken off in terms of popularity. Content publishers have been given a new platform to help them stand out from their competitors, and the possibilities for live 360° video are growing at an amazing rate.

With a sense of actually attending the live event, show or sport, viewers can choose to take a look around, instead of relying on the camera operator or video director to select the viewing angle for them. As the name suggests, 360° video offers a full, spherical view, which the viewer can explore using a device, a desktop or most recently, a VR headset.

Although live 360° video is becoming the ideal viewpoint for the viewer, in terms of production, there are creative and operational challenges within the process, and streaming live 360° video is a very different ball game altogether from standard live streaming.

Choosing the right content for 360° viewing

According to industry professionals, not all content is suitable for 360° viewing, and producers are learning that putting one or more 360° cameras at any event is not always the best idea. Quality can suffer, and this is one big reason why content producers are spending more time planning how best to create a good piece of content in the environment they have. Some will choose not to place 360° cameras if the live stream will not improve and enhance not only the content itself, but also the experience for the viewer.

Most live 360° video producers now recognise that the content must be filmed correctly to begin with, and many use multiple cameras to get the best view once the footage is stitched together.

A good example of this was found in London Fashion Week, where content production consisted of two 360° cameras placed carefully at considered points on the catwalk. With vision-mixing and live stitching, viewers gained a full view of the show from multiple angles, and could follow the action under their own steam, controlling their own viewpoint.

Selecting the right technology for live 360° video

The technological developments in recent times have no doubt contributed to the increase in accessibility for 360° video, but with the simultaneous rise in popularity of 4K, bandwidth has become even more important. Professional content producers have much more flexibility to select the right technology as the industry continues to grow in popularity for consumers and viewers.

Today, the availability of advanced technology in just the past year, has led to a reduction in size of the equipment, which is making live 360° video production far easier to film, stitch and stream at almost any live event.

This now means that one of the biggest challenges being faced by live 360° video producers is already being significantly reduced, and is only going to continue with this trend as technology further advances. 360° video cameras are already available for domestic use, although still riding high on the cost scale.

360° shot composition

For the larger live 360° video streaming companies, shot composition is not an insurmountable challenge, particularly as technology advances, but for the smaller production team, shot composition still presents some hefty challenges.

The very nature of 360° video means that the viewer should have an unimpeded view of the scene, no matter where they wish to ‘look’. This presents a challenge in terms of hiding the film crew from shots, particularly during a live event, when post-production editing is not a factor.

The filming should also be completely smooth, so that there is no jerking, jarring or warping visible to the viewer, which can be off-putting or even sickness-inducing. The entire process must be slower too, so that the viewer gets the time to look around and be able to see everything in shot. Warping occurs during the stitching process and can reduce the viewer experience of actually ‘being there’.

What we can look forward to in live 360° video streaming

Many industry professionals believe that the rate that live 360° video is increasing in popularity, and the rate that technology is advancing, will mean that the challenges discussed here will continue to reduce, and that the growing quality of productions will simply fuel consumer requirement.

In the next 12 months, professionals say that TV-style concepts will become adaptable to the live 360° video experience. According to the BBC, ‘the unique value of live 360° video is its ability to take people to places they cannot go’ and this exciting concept is one that the consumer will embrace – being able to attend concerts, shows and live events that would otherwise be out of reach. This will open up a much wider range of events as content is produced to enhance the viewer experience.

Contact us to find out how we can help your production team with live 360° video today.

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