Is 360 degree video the future of TV?


360 degree videos are coming to the fore, and YouTube is one of the apps pushing it forwards. Now, BBC’s Click are set to broadcast an entire series of 360 degree episodes.

They have released an episode looking at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland, which you can see below (just use the mouse pointer to drag your view around the video).

The new form of video really opens up a lot of possibilities, and as one of the BBC producers, Steve Beckett said, the attempts at making 360 degree video like this is “the equivalent of the first grainy attempts at film over a century ago.” Looking at the film industry now and the leaps it has taken, it is a wonderfully intimidating thing to consider where the future of full surround video could go, especially with the simultaneous (and likely not coincidental) onset of VR gadgets.

As exciting as the tech is, it comes with some drawbacks. It costs a lot more in terms of effort and work-hours to edit together and it requires a whole new style of broadcasting, with everything being shot “as-live” as everything has to be done in one shot.

Watching the video, I also found the pop-up text quite easy to miss. I feel the producers haven’t fully used the video form to its full effect. I’d be looking in one direction and then turn around, only to see the text I should have been looking at fold away out of sight.

In the future, I think the editing will have to adapt to make the video system more natural, intuitive, and easy to use, possibly with some form of heads up display.

However, it is still an amazing thing to accomplish, and it sets a precedent for use of 360 video in forms other than the gimmicky and for the ‘wow’ factor. Star Wars used a 360 degree video for this effect, and helped to spread the awareness of the new technology last year.

The future is likely to be littered with these 360 degree videos, and with the ease with which we can view them, using the gyroscopes on our phones and through the VR tech which is likely to be in our homes in the next few years, they could well become an integral part to our everyday lives.