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
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.