US, San Francisco, December 29 — Twitter launches first 360° live streams on their Periscope video platform. In the pilot phase, they will work with Periscope Partners, like Brandee Anthony, who recorded the first session, to figure out all the possibilities of this technology and media. This makes them the first company to roll out such a feature in competition with other companies like Google, Twitch, and Facebook.
As per the Periscope post on Medium, they intend to first trial this feature with a small group of influencers before they roll it out to the user base. When there is such a video broadcast happening, you are able to identify it with help of a badge that reads “LIVE 360”.
The broadcasters require a recording device that allows for 360° video capture. The audience does not necessarily need a VR viewing device, though. Users can move the point of view with tap and swipe gestures on their smartphones. You can watch the first of these 360° video broadcasts here. The quality of the 360 Video strongly depends on the available bandwidth of the broadcaster. Achieving HD resolutions or better will be difficult in locations without Wifi connectivity.
— Alex Pettitt (@Alexpettitt) December 28, 2016
The Periscope team writes, “Live 360 video isn’t just about taking you to places you’ve never been; it’s about connecting you with people and letting you experience something new with them. With these videos, the broadcaster anchors the experience so you can be present with them from whatever environment they’re sharing from. When they smile, you’ll smile, and when they laugh, maybe you’ll laugh too.”
After recent announcements by Twitter to reduce effort on their Vine video platform or shut it down altogether, one might be wondering what they intend to do with such a product in their portfolio. Matthew Lynley writes in a TechCrunch article, “If you want to read into the tea leaves a little bit here, the company post was authored by Alessandro Sabatelli, the company’s director of AR and VR. So feel free to speculate as you wish while Twitter has said it is starting to explore opportunities in this area.”
Steven Mancera, commenter on the Medium post by the Periscope, asked about compatibility with third-party 360° degree cameras such as the Samsung Gear 360. His questions has not been answered by Periscope representatives as of now.
Since Twitter is not a hardware company, it is however very likely that they will try to make their solution compatible with all “virtual reality camera devices.” These are often marketed as 360° degree camera, but as they require image stitching of 3 different lenses, they are not truly capturing full 360° video.
Perhaps Twitter will use 360° video broadcasts at their CES booth in the upcoming technology fair, in Las Vegas, from January 5th to 8th 2017. Keep an eye out for their streams, if you are interested in further pilot sessions.