By Paul Beddoe-Stephens, Partner Product Lead, 360 Videos, and Brad Ferry, Strategic Partnerships, 360 Videos

Since launching last September, Facebook 360 has become a compelling mode of storytelling for publishers and creators, and people on Facebook have enjoyed watching and exploring 360 videos. Over the past few months we’ve seen more than 20,000 360 videos uploaded to Facebook, from the schoolrooms of Ghana with Pencils of Promise to the waves of Tahiti with GoPRo to the New York City blizzard with ABC News—the latter becoming one of our most watched videos, with more than 18 million views to date.

We’re excited that 360 video has captured people’s imaginations on Facebook, and we want to support the publishers and creators who are transporting audiences into these immersive video experiences. Today we’re introducing a suite of new tools and resources to support the growing Facebook 360 community.

FACEBOOK SURROUND 360

Today we announced Facebook Surround 360—an open, high-quality, production-ready 3D-360 hardware and software video capture system.

In designing this camera, we wanted to create a professional grade end-to-end system that would capture, edit and render high-quality 3D-360 video. In doing so, we hoped to meaningfully contribute to the 3D-360 camera landscape by creating a system that enables more 3D-360 content producers and artists to start producing 3D-360 video. To learn more about the camera, see our engineering blog.

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FACEBOOK 360 PUBLISHER TOOLS

We’re also excited to introduce new tools to help 360 publishers understand what their viewers find engaging, while also helping audiences get the most out of the Facebook 360 experience.

First, we’re improving the user interface for people when they see 360 video on Facebook. Now, when people discover a 360 video in News Feed, a new gyroscope animation tells them that the content is different. Moreover, a helper animation prompts people to move their phone if they don’t tap the video or move their device within 4 seconds. This improved UI lets publishers concentrate on creating compelling videos without needing to add instructional text.

Second, we’re adding a heading indicator that shows the viewer the current direction of view relative to the video’s initial orientation, as well as the current zoom level. Tapping the heading indicator resets both the direction of view and the zoom level back to their initial values, which publishers can set in the upload tool. The heading indicator fades discreetly when not in use, still showing the current heading.

Gyro Helper Final Blog Shot

The new gyroscope animation (left) and helper animation (right) will improve discovery and user experience for Facebook 360.

Third, we’re adding tools to help publishers understand which parts of their 360 video viewers find most compelling. Our new heatmap, coming soon to the insights view in Page Insights and Video Library, will show publishers which parts of the 360 view audiences are watching most.

Heat Map Screenshot - Clean

FACEBOOK 360 CREATOR RESOURCES

Alongside the launch of the Facebook Surround 360 and publisher tools, we’ve expanded the resources for publishers and creators on our Facebook 360 website. You’ll find:

  • Best practices for filming, editing and stitching 360 video
  • Tips for getting the most out of our publisher tools
  • Information on some of the best 360 cameras on the market
  • A glossary and FAQs
  • Great examples and community stories from the publishers and creators who are bringing amazing 360 video experiences to audiences on Facebook every day

In addition to the Facebook 360 site, we’re continuing the daily 360 and VR conversation with publishers, creators and fans through our official Facebook 360 Community Group. In this group, we’re sharing the latest 360 news from Facebook and Oculus, getting feedback on 360 video and learning from one another as the community shares videos, tips and advice.

Facebook 360 Site Final Shot

We’re only just getting started with Facebook 360, and we’re eager to learn together and grow the 360 community along with so many publishers and creators who have embraced this new medium. We can’t wait to see the experiences that 360 video unlocks, and we’re grateful to be working with so many inspiring partners who are transporting audiences into stories and places they never imagined.