For consumers, it’s becoming easier and more affordable than ever to capture 360-degree video. Thanks to pocket-sized devices like Nikon’s KeyMission 360 and the upcoming second-generation of the Samsung Gear 360, a few hundred dollars will get you 4K, 360-degree video. Capturing the video is only half of the equation, however, and arguably the least important half. After all, what’s the point of capturing 360-degree footage if no one is able to watch it?
Thankfully, three major platforms currently offer support for 360-degree videos: YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo. And we’re going to explain how to share your 360-degree video with the world by uploading your content to either of the three platforms. For the sake of brevity, we’re going to assume you’ve already captured and edited the 360-degree video you want to upload. Then, enjoy them on a computer, mobile device, or even virtual reality headset. (Twitter’s Periscope supports live-broadcasting of 360-degree videos through a compatible 360-degree camera, as do YouTube and Facebook. It’s a nascent technology that we will talk about in a future article.)
Uploading 360-degree video to YouTube is a bit more convoluted than Facebook (see below), as there are a few extra steps involved. Most notably, YouTube doesn’t support 360-degree video that doesn’t already have the 360-degree metadata embedded in the file. That means, if your 360-degree camera doesn’t automatically include this information, you’ll need to download the Spatial Media Metadata Injector app from YouTube, which is available for both MacOS and Windows.
Once downloaded and installed, launch the app and select the video file you wish to add the metadata to. A dialogue box will appear, and you want to select the checkbox for Spherical video and click Save As. YouTube says to make sure you don’t select the 3D Top-bottom checkbox, otherwise, your video won’t be formatted as intended. After clicking Save As, give your video a name and save it. The new video, complete with the required metadata, will then be saved in its original location.
From here, the process for uploading your 360-degree video to YouTube is no different than any other video. Make your way to the YouTube homepage, click the Upload button in the upper-right corner, choose your newly-created video file, and include the title and tags you see fit.
It can take an upward of an hour for your 360-degree video to be formatted, so consider uploading the video ahead of time to ensure everything is in working order before the video goes live.
It’s also worth noting that 360-degree video on YouTube is supported only within Chrome, Opera, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. So, if you’re a Safari user, consider downloading Chrome or Firefox for MacOS. If you plan on viewing the video on a phone or tablet, make sure you’ve downloaded the latest update for the YouTube app on your respective device.
Before uploading your 360-degree video to Facebook, there’s only one detail you need to know — whether your video has 360-degree metadata included in the file. If your video already has this info embedded in the metadata, then simply upload and share your video like any other video on your timeline. If your video lacks this metadata, however, the process is more complicated.
In the event your 360 video doesn’t include the metadata, you will want to download a tool that can embed it within the video. The simplest solution is to use YouTube’s aforementioned Spatial Media Metadata Injector app.
First, upload your video to Facebook as you would any other piece of content.
Once uploaded, navigate to the Advanced tab within the video settings and click on the box next to “This video was recorded in 360º format.” When this box is checked, a 360 Controls tab will appear.
Navigate to the 360 Controls tab and adjust the orientation of the video and the appropriate field of view. It might take some trial and error to get the footage aligned properly, but once you’ve nailed the settings, you can take note of them for later use.
When the settings are to your liking, simply publish the video like any other piece of content using the Post button in the bottom-right corner. Facebook will do the rest to ensure your video looks and works as intended within your timeline. The only other detail worth noting is that Facebook does limit videos to 30 minutes in length and a maximum file size of 5GB.
Vimeo is the latest of the bunch to support 360-degree video, and the company has done its best to make the process as intuitive as possible. The service even allows for 8K uploads, and features a one-click 360 solution similar to that of Facebook.
Uploading 360-degree video to Vimeo isn’t much different than uploading a standard video to the platform. First, navigate to the upload section of your profile and select the video file you wish to upload. As the video is uploading, select the checkbox that says “This video was recorded in 360” and choose whether it was shot monoscopic or stereoscopic. If you shot the video using only one camera, you want to select monoscopic, as stereoscopic video is shot with multiple cameras and formatted in a very specific way.
Vimeo also offers a collection of advanced options, which you can play around with if you are comfortable doing so. These will help you select a default orientation, the exact coordinates of your pitch and yaw, and choose the boundaries of your video. If you don’t want to mess with these, Vimeo defaults to the most common settings for 360-degree videos.
Add the finishing touches to the video, such as the title and tags, and you’re set to publish. Vimeo supports all major browsers, as well as mobile devices and VR headsets, such as Samsung’s Gear VR and Google’s Daydream. You can even sell your 360-degree video in Vimeo’s marketplace, and embed it on other sites.