Google Cardboard lets you experience virtual reality (VR) in a very inexpensive manner. If you use the YouTube Android app along with Cardboard, you can even watch 360 degree videos which are really taking off and providing quite the immersive experience. For those of you on iPhones, YouTube will be supporting it “soon” however there is a third party app called in360Tube which provides that functionality right now.

 

WATCHING 360 DEGREE VIDEOS (NO HEADSET REQUIRED)

You don’t need Cardboard or any other VR headset to watch 360 degree videos. Try opening up https://www.youtube.com/360 in your Google Chrome web browser. Select one of the 360 degree videos. When you press play, you will notice arrows appear in the top left corner or you can click and drag the video screen using your mouse. It is fascinating to be in control of where you are watching during a video. I highly recommend you all try it out.


WATCHING 360 DEGREE VIDEOS USING CARDBOARD

Step 1: Get Google Cardboard

Step 2: Download the app

Step 3: Go to the YouTube #360Video channel https://www.youtube.com/360

Step 4: Pick a video in their channel and touch the Cardboard icon. (The screen will split into two.)

Step 5: Insert your mobile phone into Cardboard

Step 6: Look around during playback. It is quite amazing. You can see all around you as the video was filmed in 360 degrees.

 

MAKING 360 DEGREE VIDEOS

You can either use a 360 degree video camera such as:

  • Ricoh Theta
  • Kodak SP360
  • IC Real Tech Allie
  • Giroptic 360cam
  • Bublcam

Or you can use a custom camera rig with GoPro or other video cameras (e.g. 6 cameras each with wide angle lenses on a single mount) and then use software to stitch the videos together. Kolor Autopano can do this in 4K resolution! Note you can go all out and use 16 GoPro cameras using Google Jump or Odyssey.

Once you have your video created, you need to ensure it contains certain metadata before uploading on YouTube. There is software for Mac and Windows to do this called 360 Video Metadata Tool.

Don’t forget when uploading to YouTube to select the “Spherical” checkbox. Do not select 3D Top-bottom.

 

VIRTUAL REALITY HEADSETS

Per my prior blog article on Wearable Tech 2016 you can see a number of VR headsets that are becoming available such as the Oculus Rift, Playstation VR, HTC Vive, and Razer OSVR. These would provide a truly immersive experience. If you don’t have the money, try out Google Cardboard, it’s really good and the price is right.


10 Comments
  1. This has got to be the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while. I’ve heard people talking about it everywhere but I never got around to watching any of these videos. After reading this helpful article I binge watched so many 360 degree videos and I’m in awe. I don’t have a cardboard at the moment but I will definitely find one and use it for maximum experience. Great post!

    • This was the second 360 degree video I have ever watched, but for me it felt like the first time πŸ™‚ Those videos are soooo amazing! I’d love to learn more about this new technology though, how it works and so on. That would make a really interesting article, I hope David writes about that in the future.

  2. This is how we’re going to beat the $600 price point on the Oculus and the Vive. Put your phone in one of those, plug the phone into your computer, have it mirror the screen onto the phone, the phone has a built in gyroscope to allow head movement, and there you go. The application/phone port needs to be developed so it could act as, say an Oculus, for VR games. Obviously this won’t be as high quality and precise as an Oculus, and it would be hard to get the room tracking the Vive offers, but this is a great cheap solution that I think everyone can be happy with.

  3. Thanks for the info! I just made my own cardboard viewer today and I feel it’s a great idea. It makes the experience of watching YouTube much better overall.

  4. I remember the first time I watched a 360 video on Youtube last year, I had no idea what it was about and I started to freak out when my screen started chaning its angles when I was moving my phone, but it’s one of the best inventions in the past couple of years.
    I wish cameras were higher quality though, a lot of youtubers try to make 360 videos but the quality is unbearable.

  5. 360 degree videos are the future. It’s the age of VR and in a few years only a few people will be interested in watching “flat” videos. I heard rumors that making a 360 degree video is very hard but after reading this, I realize that it isn’t as hard as some people want to make it appear.

  6. This is amazing, I had already watched a 360 degrees video some months ago, but I didn’t know YouTube already had a section completely dedicated to this kind of videos! It’s completely and absolutely amazing! It must be even more amazing when you use that special cardboard headset! Sadly I don’t have money for that πŸ™

  7. That was an amazing experience! even if watched a not that good horror 360ΒΊ video, that was great! I think that a lot of people, specially film makers can take advantage of this new technology. With this new feature the posibilities of what you can see are almost infinite! Imagine how cool would be to see different places in the world with this feature! It’s incredible! πŸ™‚

  8. It really is fascinating. I tried youtube 360 feature and it is a wonderful viewing experience. Google Cardboard must also be similar if not a better experience. I am looking to get a VR headset and see how good it is. There must be some software with wich we can make 360-degree videos. Can you please discuss it here soon!!!

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