Facebook now lets you guide viewers around your 360-degree video


Facebook is building upon the success of its 360-degree video rollout — which has seen 250,000 360-degree clips uploaded to the social network since September — with a couple of new publishing and analytics tools for the format.

Chief among the social network’s new features is the ability to input a guided tour of your 360 clip. This basically allows creators to automatically direct viewers to the best points of action in the video. Consequently, the person watching the clip doesn’t have to click and drag the screen to seek out the best point of view.

To use the guide, simply select the option that states “this video was recorded in 360 degree format” when uploading your video. Now you will be able to use the new “360 Controls,” where you can select the “Enable Guide” box, which allows you to add points of interest throughout your clip.

Once you select the guide feature, it will be turned on by default for viewers, and your video will automatically pan around to the action spots you chose during the editing process. Viewers can opt out of the guided view by panning or swiping out of the scene to manually explore other parts of the 360-degree video. To return to the guide after navigating away from it, all you have to do is hit the small compass indicator located at the top right of the video display.

A number of prominent publishers have already started using the guide feature on their 360-degree content, including GoPro, and ABC News.

The other new feature aimed at 360-degree video creators is Heatmap, an insights tool that helps users to discover the parts of their clip audiences find most interesting. Heatmap does this by creating a visual map of your video that displays its hottest parts. Facebook claims that it pulls this information from the aggregate data of its view ports, measuring every time a viewer moves 30 degrees within the frame of a clip.

Facebook 360 video heatmap
Facebook 360 video heatmap

Heatmap is currently only available for videos posted from May 1 that have reached more than 50,000 unique viewers. It can be accessed via your video library, under publishing tools.

“For publishers who opt to use Guide, the insights you glean from Heatmap may help inform how you select your points of interest in Guide,” states Paul Beddoe-Stephens, partnerships lead at Facebook 360.

Aside from the 360-degree video tools, Facebook is also launching a slew of new video metrics features. Publishers can now learn who watches their content on a minute-by-minute basis based on demographics such as age, gender, and top geographic locations.

Additionally, Facebook Live video is getting a new analytics tool which displays insights including the volume of reactions, comments, and shares throughout a real-time broadcast. Facebook states that 48 percent of video watch time on its platform occurs when viewers share a clip, which explains why it is also introducing new metrics related to minutes viewed from shares and cross-posts of a video.

“All kinds of publishers post video on Facebook to engage, inform, and entertain people,” states Anaid Gomez-Ortigoza, product manager at Facebook, in a blog post. “We’re always listening to feedback from publishers, and we’ve heard that they want to learn more about their audiences to help build their content and business strategies.”

The new analytics features will start rolling out today, and will be available to all Pages in the next couple of weeks.

Gaming

The history of Battle Royale: From mod to worldwide phenomenon

Battle royale games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ and Fortnite have become the biggest trend in video games. The genre is also pushing the envelope in streaming and eSports in a way that might hint at the future of the industry.
Photography

User-generated GoPro Hero7 Black highlight reel has all the feels

It still features plenty of death-defying stunts, but GoPro's new user-generated highlight reel has plenty of feel-good emotional moments. The two-minute supercut is the official reel of the Hero7 Black camera.
Photography

Camera crop factor: What it means and how to use it

If you're in the market for a new camera, chances are you've heard the term "crop factor" thrown about. Here's what you need to know about how crop factor effects everything from equivalent focal length to light sensitivity and depth of…
Home Theater

Anker’s micro projectors get an equally small price in time for the holidays

Looking for a great deal on a tiny video projector? Anker has some tiny prices on three of their smallest devices. With features like Android 7.1 and designs as small as a can of soda, these projectors make the perfect travel companions.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Home Theater

It took Tom Cruise to raise awareness of this troublesome TV setting

Tom Cruise, in an unexpected PSA tweet, asks you to turn off motion interpolation on your TV, but stops short of how to do it. Here's more on the topic, along with links to a guide on how to rid your TV of the dreaded "soap opera effect."
Business

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Computing

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Social Media

Snapchat facial recognition could soon power a new portrait mode, code suggests

Digging into Snapchat's code suggests a handful of upcoming camera features, including a portrait mode. The feature appears to use facial recognition A.I. to blur the background. The code also suggests an updated camera interface.
Computing

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.
Social Media

Walkie-talkie voice messaging finally comes to Instagram

In its latest grab from messaging apps, Instagram now lets you send walkie-talkie style voice messages. Apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and iMessage have offered the feature for some time.
Social Media

‘YouTube Rewind 2018’ is about to become its most disliked video ever

YouTube is about to achieve a record it really doesn't want — that of "most-disliked video." Yes, its annual recap of featuring popular YouTubers has gone down really badly this year.
Social Media

GIF almost anywhere with Giphy’s new keyboard and sticker maker

We all love GIFs, but not every app supports them. Fortunately, the new Giphy' keyboard brings GIFs to any iOS app that supports multimedia. The update also comes with a new tool for creating animated stickers.
Social Media

#ThrowbackThursday is only the start: Instagram hashtags for every day of the week

Not getting your hashtag fill with #ThrowbackThursday or #ManCrushMonday? Here's a list of some of the more popular Instagram hashtags, so you can outfit your next post with the proper tag, regardless of what day it is.