It was only a matter of time. After the success that Facebook has tasted with its Facebook Live feature, which lets anyone broadcast live on Facebook, the next logical step was extending it to 360-degree videos.
Facebook already has a feature which lets you upload 360-degrees photos and videos, so adding the live element to it was only a matter of time. Facebook has now announced Live 360, which will be a platform to let you stream 360-degree content live on Facebook.
The only catch is that you will need the right equipment to go live in 360 degrees on Facebook. Some of the models supported include the Samsung Gear 360 2017 model which was announced last night alongside the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ launch. It seems to be a trend now, with Facebook making major announcements on the same day as the Samsung flagship launches — we had seen Mark Zuckerberg come on stage last year during the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 edge at MWC in Barcelona.
The other gadget is the Insta360 Nano (for iPhone) and Air (for Android) which plugs into your phone’s charging ports and provides a 360 degree live feed. You could also go ahead and use other higher end equipment to go live in 360 degrees.
In terms of technicalities, the feature uses Facebook’s live streaming technology giving you the option to stream in Full HD resolution at 30 fps playback with a maximum streaming duration of four hours. Of course, it goes without saying that you will need a very fast broadband connection to be able to stream so much data live. Facebook recommends at least 4Mbps steady connectivity speeds for good quality.
Facebook has enlisted some compatible cameras for Live 360: Giroptic IO, Insta360 Nano, Insta360 Air, ALLie camera, Z CAM S1 and Nokia Ozo. Facebook has enlisted all the steps if you intend to go live in 360-degree on Facebook via this ‘Getting Started’ guide.
The Live 360 Specifications as enlisted by Facebook include
- Target Resolution: 1080p at 2:1 aspect ratio (1920×960)
- Frame Rate: 30 fps
- Target Bitrate: 4 Mbps (megabits)
- Codec: H.264
- Keyframe Frequency: 1 I-frame every 2 seconds (minimum)
- Audio: AAC
- Audio Sample Rate: 44.1 KHz
- Audio Bitrate: 128 Kbps (kilobits)
- Depth: Monoscopic
- Max Streaming Time: 4 hours
According to TechCrunch, with the Insta360 Air and Insta360 Nano, you will get an update on the companion app which will have the option to select Facebook Live as a broadcast destination if you select the live feature within the camera’s native app. The app interface will also let you know the number of viewers you currently have, along with the number of likes and other reactions and comments you get in.
Insta360 cameras provide the option to go live on Periscope and YouTube. At the moment, the Live 360 videos are not embeddable on other sites. They also cannot be viewed via Apple TV or Chromecast on the big screen.
Facebook also has a 360 Community public group which will help you connect with fellow 360-content enthusiasts.
With the Live 360, Facebook is following through on what Mark Zuckerberg had said at last year’s Samsung S7/S7 edge launch event. According to him live 360 video was going to be the future. With 360-cameras becoming easily available now, the Live 360 can be used as a tool by marketers, journalists, digital storytellers to tell their story in a more immersive manner.