360° Video and Virtual reality Live Streaming: Complete Guide

Do you already know VR (virtual reality) and 360 ° video? The secret of success in today's world is VR Live streaming and 360 video. That's why 360 NEXT was committed to making a live streams monetization platform in one of the best for sharing your videos.

Turning to VR and 360 ° video, you've probably seen people with cardboard boxes tied up in front of their faces. Although it may seem strange, the most likely is that someone is using Google Cardboard, which is the VR platform that makes your smartphone an immersive digital environment.

In fact, virtual reality has been changing a lot in recent times, and the future will pass through the video, without a shadow of a doubt. While decades ago this reality was just an embryo, today is already possible, due to advances in computing and broadband. But what is the link between this digital revolution and live streaming video? NEXT360 will explain it to you. 

 

Virtual Reality history

Before we move on to live streaming, it's important that we know how virtual reality has evolved so that you can understand exactly how this works. After that, I'm sure you'll start using our platform to share your videos.

 

What is virtual reality?

First we need to know what virtual reality is. Well, VR is a created, synthetic environment where people can come in, when they want, where they want, and can make the modifications they want. It's almost as if you were inside the movie The Matrix.

 

VR in the past

Virtual reality is not a recent phenomenon, although it has gained considerable importance in recent decades. In fact, it dates back to the 1930s when its concept emerged through the work of Stanley G. Weinbaum. Since then, the VR has been slowly and progressively advancing. To give you an idea, the first VR machines were not even digital. They were huge boxes, where you put your head, using mechanisms to change the reality around you.

It was only between the 1980s and 2000 year that virtual reality approached the public through Sega and Nintendo, which developed VR video game systems, and having even been pioneers in this area. VR flight and combat simulators were also developed at that time by the military and aviation industries in order to train both combatants and pilots. NASA also developed a simulation platform for a trip to Mars to form its astronauts for the piloting of the spacecraft.

This VR was so important and so useful that several medical companies also had their own platforms to train doctors with surgery simulations.

 

VR Nowadays

Since the year 2000, Virtual Reality has boomed. To get an idea, in 2010 was made the first prototype of the Oculus Rift, which was later acquired by Facebook. However, only this year this innovation came to the general public. Today you already find a series of copies, inspired by Oculus, on almost every major brands of technology products, such as Sony and Google.

To see how VR is so important these days, PlayStation 4 already supports VR games, as well as several applications and games on Google Play, which demonstrates the potentiality of this new reality. In addition, many companies are adhering to this new way of living, and the advantages are, in fact, many. Currently the 360 VR has come to transform the world and many events are already being shared this way, fully live, as is the case of our platform.

What is the advantage? Make an event known to millions of people, without it being restricted to the physical space, as well as attending an event in the comfort of your home, without having to worry about whether the tickets run out or not.

 

VR in the Future

Broadband is increasing more and so is the power of processing, which will make VR increasingly mainstream. Undoubtedly, in the future, everything will pass through the VR content, which will be the dominant medium for multimedia. And this future does not appear far away. In ten years or so, everything will go through this type of content. Everything will change, from sports, television, media, various entertainment events such as shows, plays, among many other industries.

For example, with VR content we can hold conferences in our company without needing to be everybody present in the same room, we can reach millions of people at Sunday mass, among many other situations. Proof that this is the future is the addition of Smartphones, which are the favorite technology to produce this type of content. And what about the stereoscope? Very likely the next Smartphones will have it incorporated, and this will be part of the future of the new virtual reality. If you do not know what the stereoscope is, it's like a goggle where each eye sees a different picture, albeit slightly. It's almost like a 3D video. So instead of having a flat surface, you will have a screen for each eye, or a set of glasses that filters out some types of light. That way you have a sense of real depth in a completely virtual reality.

 

What distinguishes virtual reality and 360 ° video?

Virtual reality allows you to move and live in an environment that is virtual, that is, that is artificially generated. Thus, it allows you to interact with objects, to walk, to climb mountains, to run, just as you would in the real world. However, what happens is that Modern VR implementations have several limitations, which makes this previously presented idea not yet attainable.

What has really made difference in VR is the 360 ° video. That is, the video allows users to look at all sides of reality, i.e., have a circular view, allowing them to rotate. The only thing you can not do is change the position of the cameras, as this is determined by who recorded the scenarios. In fact, we still have some steps to take to get into a totally 100% VR system, which will be when we can move with our body, and feel in virtual reality, just like in real life.

 

VR live streaming: the next step

Of course things have their time, and like everything else, in order to achieve the goal, other steps will have to be completed before. That's also what happens with the video. Initially there were recordings of video, later transmitted through television, and now with online video and its live broadcast, as you can watch on our platform. With VR the same thing happens, and with a fascinating speed. Although it is still something that is reserved for a small group of people, nowadays we can already do live streaming.

Today we already have the Streaming 360° live video content, and it is being adopted by more and more people. You just need a relatively fast, stable connection from Internet so you can access 360° live streams on YouTube, even though most people, whether viewers or creators, are not ready to perform or watch. 

In fact, it becomes necessary that its users and creators have better equipment, as well as good broadband. Of course, in the near future, these obstacles vain no longer exists, because if there is anything that advances is the technology, and it truly has advanced a lot.

Increasingly the speed of the Internet is greater. Most of the world already has access to the Internet through fiber optics, and the satellite is in full swing. Also the compression algorithms are increasingly effective, which means that VR Streaming will soon be a very powerful medium of communication. For this reason, it is crucial that you adapt yourself and your company to this new world right now and start the transition as quickly as possible, and NEXT360 can help you do so.

 

Typical VR video workflow: How does it work?

To see exactly how this innovation works, it is important to see the different parts of the VR video workflow, or 360°. In fact, they are quite different compared to traditional broadcasting. Let's see point by point.

 

Equipment and studio

Now you no longer need more than one camera to capture a single scene, as we are talking in a circular view, that is, 360°. While this type of recording used to be very expensive since it was necessary to have customized platforms, and several cameras attached to a controller, now, with modern cameras, you can already record in 360 degrees, and the cost is very affordable. With only 100 dollars you already can have a camera of this type, what we see, is not expensive at all.

Of course, these are the cheapest models, but make no mistake. You do not need tens of thousands of dollars to get this kind of cameras. By the way, with about $ 4/5 thousand you already buy 360 ° cameras of superior quality, which capture ultra high resolutions.

Apart from the camera we also have to worry about the audio. In fact, this is one of the most important parts of VR video. In fact, a recording whose audio is not good can be completely ruined.

After all, who would it be to watch your show on the platform if the sound was of poor quality? Or if they could not understand half of your conference?

For VR and 360° video, the audio must combine stereophonic sound recording as well as sterilized, so that it has maximum impact. So, it becomes mandatory to use omnidirectional microphones, in addition to a very careful mix, so that they can pick up the right sounds, and that they are heard at the right time. Obviously all these equipment require other support equipment, such as the case of tripods, but also mounting hardware. 

That is, from now on, the studio settings will be totally different. For example, while the studio aspect did not matter before, because what was interesting was the image that was in front of the camera, with the 360 ° video this will no longer be possible, because now it has to give total images of what is around the camera. This is one of the great challenges for those who want to make this kind of videos, and the big producers are already thinking about the design of the set, programming the placement of the cameras, the location of the cables, as well as where the camera operators will stay, and also the assistants.

 

Stitching

Now with the 360° video, it needs to be seen. Why? Because these cameras record separate video streams, and some of these cameras ignore that. The good news is that there are already several softwares to do this work, in order to make a spherical video. You can do this, for example, in Adobe Premiere Pro, VideoStitch Vahana VR or Kolor Autopano. The latter two produce better results than the first one.

Indeed, currently the VideoStitch vahana VR is the only software capable of sewing VR video in real time for live broadcasts. So you'll be able to capture video streams from more than one camera, and then merge them into a single 360 ° video, viewing it via RTMP for platforms like ours.

 

Encoding

All streaming videos require coding, whether we're talking about VR or 360 ° video. This step proceeds to the previous step. Remember, however, that this type of video has very large file sizes, much larger than the traditional video sizes, which means that encoding becomes a very important step, I would even say crucial. The files need to be smaller, and ideally they should be delivered in a number of different bit rates so that we can serve viewers with various Internet speeds.

It is also a priority that there is a greater processing power in order to encode the content of the videos. You may need a more powerful computer, or a hardware encoder with higher performance.

 

Upload and Delivery

When it comes to uploading, it is also important to take into consideration the size of the file.

NEXT360 team recommends an Internet upload speed of at least 2-5 Mbps for all high-definition video streams. Note that VR video requires additional data most of the time. That is, instead of sending a single video stream of 1080 x 1920 pixels, now allows you to send much more data, most of which use 4K resolution, or 4 times more than 1080p HD. The higher the frame rates, the better your VR video will be. Nowadays 360° or VR videos, most of them, or at least good ones, are already encoded between 20 and 30 Mbps. Obviously this tends to evolve, and more year less year the 8K video resolution will be a reality for VR videos.

 

Viewing

Now, what's the point of having a quality video if nobody sees it? In fact, visualization is the most important step of all. You'll only be able to have audiences for your videos if they have robust internet connections and devices that can support them. At a minimum, viewers need a headset, such as Oculus, HTC Vive, or PlayStation VR.

When they access through the cell phone, or on the computer (desktop), they must have a video player capable of supporting 360° video navigation.

 

Challenges

When we look at the challenges facing this type of video, the biggest of all is data. That is, we need to have a large amount of data to represent a 360-degree view. To get a clear idea, most high quality videos have a resolution of 1080p, which is not enough for VR or 360 ° videos. You will need many more pixels to maintain the quality of the video. The other challenge relates to stitching. In fact, combining several videos from different cameras is extremely hard and difficult work. Although software can make it easier, some problems may arise.

 

Benefits

All of the challenges that we presented previously are diminishing, and the tendency is that they will totally disappear soon. In addition, there has been a progressive increase in Internet speed, in addition to increasing processing power, and options for video compression as well.

 

Conclusion

In fact, technology is eye-catching, and VR and 360-degree live video will be the future, and in the near future. Today you already have several live broadcast providers, offering support for 360 ° video, as it is the case of NEXT360.

What about you? Have you already joined Live streaming? Do not lose any more time. You need to run to catch it. If you still do not know how to deal with ir, please let us your message and we will help you with that.

If you already experienced live streaming videos, and want to start with 360 and VR video, it is time to contact us. Leave us your experience, and count on us to share your video and answer all your questions.

 

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