On Tuesday Facebook announced several updates to its live-streaming platform, including a new hardware & software vetting program used to create a 360-degree video.
Through its new Live 360 Ready Program, Facebook will review software & hardware and then approve products that work well with its Live 360 offering. Products deemed “ready” for Live 360 will be allowed to display a Facebook Live logo on their packaging or website.
“Each camera’s app or Web experience will enable you to communicate with your friends and followers with the help of the direct access to Facebook’s native reactions and comments,” noted Facebook Product Manager Chetan Gupta and Product Marketing Manager Caitlin Ramrakha in an online post.
Facebook has approved 11 cameras and 7 software suites so far.
Live 360 Ready cameras included Giroptic iO, Insta360 Air, Insta360 Nano, Insta360 Pro, Nokia Ozo, ION360 U, Z CAM S1, 360Fly 4K, 360Fly HD and 360Fly 4K Pro.
Live 360 Ready software packages included Assimilate SCRATCH VR, LiveScale, Groovy Gecko, Teradek, Wowza, Voysys and Z CAM WonderLive.
“The way we interact is getting more and more visual, and live 360 video is the richest medium of all,” said JK Liu, CEO of Insta360, maker of a Live 360 Ready camera.
“We’re excited to bring Facebook users a way to go live in 360 that fits in seamlessly with the way they already use their phones,” he told TechNewsWorld.
- Facebook also announced that Live 360 streams will bolster 4K resolution. Also, it will be available in virtual reality.
- “Live 360 communicates will be available to watch in VR — both while they’re occuring and after they’re over — in our free Facebook 360 app for Gear VR, available on the Oculus Store,” Gupta and Ramrakha composed.
- The resolution has been disappointing for some 360 video content suppliers on Facebook, said Chris Michaels, streaming industry evangelist at Wowza Media Systems, a Live 360 Ready software maker.
- “One of the greatest challenges for content makers has been conveying in a sufficiently high resolution to give breathtaking 360-degree experiences,” he told TechNewsWorld. “With 4K, we don’t need to worry about rendering down the astounding video and can convey it at its optimal design rate.”
- Facebook will also be adding donate buttons and scheduling to Live 360.
- Donate buttons permit non-profits to raise funds when they stream a Live 360 communicate — either their own or someone else’s.
- Scheduling allows Live 360 supporters to alert their friends and followers of an upcoming communicate. The alert is presented to their news feeds, where they can choose to receive a reminder alert when the broadcast is about to start.
- Facebook announced a number of new post-production tools for Live 360 as well.
- If it detects shakiness in a video, Facebook will use its stabilization tool to steady it.
- With the guide tool, a video author can identify points of interest in a video and direct viewers to them.
- If you’re wondering what parts of your video most engage your audience, there’s a heat map tool that shows you that.
- Finally, there’s a crossport tool for broadening the distribution of your video.
The latest updates to Live 360 are a content play, said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research.
“It’s about encouraging content and ensuring a level of compatibility and quality control over that content,” he told TechNewsWorld.
The updates are an approach to help Facebook compete with YouTube.
“Being a video platform rival to YouTube has been a longstanding goal of Facebook,” Rubin said.
The upgrades are pointed more at the professional video and advanced content creators than mainstream users, noted Jack Kent, a senior analyst with IHS Markit.
However, they “should maximize the amount of Live 360 content for Facebook users,” he told TechNewsWorld.
Facebook has been growing its 360 video and live video strategies rapidly in recent months, Kent pointed out.
“It took off Live 360 to all pages recently,” he said, “and coordinated with a range of leading camera makers and added new audio tools. The new Live 360 Ready Program aims to expand support for a more extensive scope of third-party software and gadgets.”