The madness that is the annual NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Expo is about to begin. 120,000 folks from around the world will descend on the cultural capital of America for four days of walking, talking, listening, learning and possibly some excess drinking. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of attending the Las Vegas Convention Center and trudging through the acres and acres of NAB exhibition halls brimming with the latest and greatest in technology, have no fear! Your intrepid reporter, Neil Smith, is about to embark on the perilous expedition to the South Hall and beyond. Armed only with his trusty 360º video rig and wireless microphone, Neil will bravely go where no ‘immersive journalist’ has gone before.
Each day I’ll be interviewing the leading companies involved in bringing VR and AR to M&E (Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to Media & Entertainment) and posting (Internet connection willing) short 360º video reports up onto the PVC website.
To make it easy to identify the 360º video reports, look out for video thumbnails with the immersive 360º PVC logo:
In order to enjoy these 360º video reports in all their spherical splendor, you’ll need to do some of these things:
- the latest version of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, or Internet Explorer web browser installed on your PC or Mac. (Apple users please note that Safari does not support watching 360º video content.) Assuming you have the correct browser installed on your machine you should see a small navigation icon in the top left hand corner – see screen grab below:
- Look for the navigation ‘PAN’ icon in the top left hand corner. Click your mouse on the video and drag it around to watch it in 360º. You can also use the WASD keys on your keyboard. When watching a 360º video you should also check the resolution cog in the bottom right hand corner and make sure the Quality is set to at least HD 1080s. If your Internet connection is fast enough, you should crank up the Quality setting to 2160s 4K. If the playback stutters bring the Quality level down a notch or two until it plays smoothly.
- as well as viewing 360º videos on a web browser you can also watch them on your mobile Smart Phone. All you have to do is download the latest ‘Youtube’ app for iOS or Android and watch the video on your smart phone. By moving your smart phone from left to right and up and down you’ll also get the 360º effect.
- for a truly immersive experience and assuming you have an Android phone, you can even watch 360 degree videos with Google Cardboard and the YouTube Android app. With the Android Youtube app you’ll see a smallicon in the bottom right hand corner. Tap on that and the video screen will split into two smaller screens side by side. Insert your smart phone into your Cardboard holder and move your head around to see the 360º effect.
If you have a Samsung Gear VR HMD (Head Mounted Display) you already know how to do this stuff, so just sit back, put your headset on and have fun 🙂
And of course, if you’re at NAB and you happen to see me walking by, please come up and introduce yourself. You never know, you could end up in a 360º video.