YouTube’s New “VR180” Chops 360 Video To View In Half Now

YouTube in celebration of the largest conference for online video creators at VidCon, introduced a new VR format. A brand new file format for creators who really want to check out VR but are intimidated by taking the full plunge with all the crazy hardware and production issues. Called VR180, and it’s half of a spherical video. Here is everything on this topic right below.

The new Video format dubbed VR180, essentially cuts down the 360-degree videos in half to focus on what is right in front of the camera. Also it’s relatively simple evolution, but it makes some notable compromises that give traditional and VR viewers some new gains.

Although YouTube has supported VR and 360-degree video for some time now, but the format is really hard to do right. Problems that evolve is the camera rigs, which are really expensive, and for any kind of clarity, 4K resolution isn’t that good enough – you need at least an 8K video feed for each eye, which is somewhat very hard to record, store and stream to viewers. 360 video is great for virtual teleporting someone to a location, but at the same time, it’s not as appropriate format for more traditional, structured content with a stage, lighting, and a place you’re supposed to be looking at.

The newest version of VR180 format is developed specifically for YouTube in collaboration with Google’s Daydream team. In a recent blog post, Google talked about how 75 percent of 360-degree video users only look at the quadrant in front of them when the video starts. Part of that is a testament to people not being in swivel chairs. In fact, that creators still really don’t know what to do with 360 degree cameras, as the format is largely unexpected despite all the noise surrounding it.

VR180 format also now supports livestreaming videos so creators and fans can be together in real time. With high resolution and “look great on desktop and on mobile,” the new format is the best. Creators will be able to set up and films in the similar fashion they would with any other cameras.

That said, 360-degree video will still be alive and well on the site, and YouTube isn’t stepping away from supporting it, but VR180 may definitely make a difference and make it pretty easier for creators to get their feet wet without taking the plunge all at once. With VR180, creators have a lot more freedom to fall back on the traditional video capture while also building content that will give something extra to VR users.

“Creators don’t have to change their production techniques,” said YouTube’s lead VR product manager Erin Teague.

To help pull traditional content creators into the VR space, YouTube is launching a new “VR180” format, which is exactly what it sounds like: stereoscopic video, only in 180 degrees. The format literally cuts the data requirements in half. As mentioned already, the VR180 will also support live streaming.

Only by displaying half of the sphere at the same 4K resolution, everything looks significantly sharper and the 3D goes from gimmicky to worthwhile. Furthermore, views in the app aren’t the pixelated windows they generally were in 360 earlier and are now actually tolerable to watch.

Viewers can strap into Google cardboard, any Daydream-compatible viewer, or PSVR to watch the content. The initiative is a collaboration between YouTube and Google’s Daydream mobile VR division, which is also working with camera manufacturers such as LG and Lenovo to get VR180 certification on compact dual-lens point-shoot-sized devices. These camera sets will start launching in winter of this year. To help the ecosystem along, Google is partnering with YI Technology as well to create VR180-compatible cameras. These cameras all have fitted with dual lenses on the front, and YouTube tells creators to “set up and film your videos the way you normally would with any other camera.” YouTube has a playlist of VR180 content from beta testers here.

What we consider now is that YouTube will soon allow you to edit using familiar tools like Adobe Premiere Pro. Daydream is working with camera manufacturers, and Google is also starting a “VR180 certification program” for other manufacturers and will be lending out VR180 cameras at YouTube Spaces locations. Stay tuned for more!


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