Immersive videos, also known as 360 videos, 360 degree videos or spherical videos, are video recordings of a real-world panorama, where the view in every direction is recorded at the same time, shot using an omnidirectional camera or a collection of cameras. During playback the viewer has control of the viewing direction, a form of virtual reality.
There are a few ways to capture 360 degree video. One is placing six GoPros around a specially made rig that can be purchased online or printed on a 3D printer. The individual video files are stitched together using editing software, such as Autopano Video or VideoStitch, and the stitched file is injected with 360 degree metadata from Google.
There are still some significant issues with 360 degree video. For example, the stitching is not always seamless, and there are other obvious issues such as linear editing.
Generally the only area that cannot be viewed is the view toward the camera support, but there are ways around this in post-production (e.g. ‘patching’ the Nadir with a logo, or using a still shot taken from the same position as the camera rig.
The material is recorded as data that when played back through a software player allows the user control of the viewing direction and playback speed. Control is typically achieved via moving the device (e.g smartphones, Helmet-mounted displays, etc.), whichgyroscope or infrared sensors translate into movement in the video. When viewing from a desktop PC, a mouse or keypad is used for interactivity and playback view is typically 4:3 window on a computer display or projection screen or other presentation device such as a head-mounted display.