YouTube is developing the capability to livestream 360-degree video. Multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans confirmed YouTube has been meeting with 360-degree camera manufacturers about adding support for immersive live-streamed video broadcasts to its platform.
A 360-degree video is typically created from multiple videos that must be spliced together. Most 360-degree cameras have two or more wide-angle lenses, each doing its own video capture. The videos from these lenses are then “stitched” together in post-production to create a spherical image. Live-streaming 360-degree video might require that stitching process to occur in real time.
The big hitch in YouTube’s plan is that most current 360-degree video cameras lack the technology to seamlessly shoot broadcast-quality live streams. While Google has worked with GoPro to develop a camera that can stitch together multiple angles in real time, other cameras might not be compatible with the infrastructure YouTube has developed.
Youtube started supporting the interactive format last March — six months before Facebook added 360-degree videos to its News Feeds — and added Google Cardboard support a few months later. That Cardboard support was beefed up even further in November, allowing users to strap their smartphone into the low-cost headset and look around inside 3D versions of 360-degree videos. Other companies are following YouTube’s lead in supporting the technology — it was rumored yesterday that Samsung is putting together its own 360-degree camera.