Facebook shows off 360-degree video for desktop & iPhone
Facebook has announced that its 360-degree video feature is now available on iPhones and other iOS devices, allowing users to view certain videos from any angle by moving the camera around. The social network first introduced the feature for PCs and Android smart phones in September. The videos are created using special cameras to record all 360 degrees of a scene simultaneously.
Users can touch the screen and drag to move the pictures left, right, up or down. They can also hold up their phone and, as they turn, the 360-degree video will follow them, creating an immersive "virtual reality" type experience.
To coincide with the launch, GoPro has released its third 360-degree video, showing surfers Anthony Walsh and Matahi Drollet riding the waves in Tahiti. The video was shot using GoPro's six-camera spherical rig, announced earlier this year.
The video, called Tahiti Surf VR, is the latest in a series of GoPro 360-degree videos created and shared exclusively on Facebook. Others include Moto VR with Ronnie Renner and Ski VR with Chris Davenport and Julia Mancuso.
As well as GoPro, several other high-profile partners including Star Wars, Discovery, Vice, NBC's Saturday Night Live and basketball star LeBron James have all released their own 360 videos.
Facebook chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has repeatedly described virtual reality as the next big “computing platform” after mobile devices, and believes that it will one day become a part of daily life for billions of people.
Last year, Facebook paid $2 billion (€1.8bn) for Oculus VR, the company behind the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
The new 360 Video feature offers a less immersive experience than a headset. However, it will help extend Facebook’s presence in virtual reality beyond Oculus, and introduce the technology to a much larger audience via mobile phones.
Facebook is the second major tech company to launch 360-degree video support, after YouTube introduced the feature in March.