YouTube rolls out 360 video live streaming, will showcase Coachella acts

youtube 360 video live streaming coachella 2013 dudes
Thomas Hawk/Flickr
Want to share a moment with friends live, but can’t figure out which way to point the camera? YouTube has an answer for that.

On Monday, the company announced in a blog post that users can now live stream 360-degree videos. The new feature is Google’s latest push into virtual reality, and will allow users to view live events and feel as though they are there.

YouTube first launched 360 videos, which can be viewed on the web, on a smartphone or through a virtual reality headset, last March. But until now, it has not been possible to view a live stream in this immersive format.

To show off this latest tech, YouTube will live stream select artist performances in 360 video from the second weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival this Friday through Sunday, the company said.

So how do you go about shooting a 360 live stream? It’s not something you can do on a phone — yet. YouTube partnered with 360-video companies like VideoStitch, which develops software you can use to stitch the output from multiple cameras into one seamless 360 feed. That means you’ll need a computer, special software, and a special camera like the $1,795 ORAH 4i.

Along with 360 video live-streaming, YouTube on Monday also announced the launch of spatial audio, also known as directional sound, for YouTube videos. “Just as watching a concert in 360 degrees can give you an unmatched immersive experience, spatial audio allows you to listen along as you do in real life, where depth, distance and intensity all play a role,” YouTube said. Android users can check out videos with spatial audio on this playlist.

For Google and YouTube, 360 video and virtual reality have become a top priority over the past year. The tech giant is engaged in a virtual-reality arms race with rival Facebook, which made the technology a key part of its F8 developer conference last week. Google is expected to follow suit and make major virtual reality announcements next month at its Google I/O developer conference.

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