We've written before about 360-degree video (here demonstrated with an awesome interactive video that puts you in a base-jumper's shoes) - it's effectively like watching a video in Google Street View mode, where you can look any direction you like using the mouse. Now, Dutch 360-degree video company yellowBird has announced a hookup with YouTube that lets users post 360-degree videos in their YouTube channels. And the first major production is a 360-degree music video clip that challenges the role of the film director and stretches the boundaries of interactive entertainment.
In filmmaking, it's more or less the job of the director to use his camera to frame the action so your attention is pointed in the right place at all times to support the story that's being told. But with video cameras slowly creeping into most cellphones, it seems more and more people just want to use video to capture the vibe of a place they're in to share with others that aren't there.
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360-degree video is a highly immersive tool that achieves this goal exceptionally well. The viewer is free to let their attention wander around the environment and soak up the atmosphere, choosing either to watch what's going on, or swivel around to see how other people in the area are reacting to it.
yellowBird (their capitalisation, not mine) is an end-to-end 360-degree video company, offering equipment sales and hire, editing assistance, live 360-degree video event coverage and hosting of the large video file streaming services you need to get these videos out onto the web. The company has recently announced a hook-up with YouTube allowing channels to embed yellowBird streaming content.
One of the first videos to really make use of the technology is a music video by Professor Green for his song "Coming to Get Me" - filmed on yellowBird gear and presented in the YouTube channel for Doritos UK.
The unique challenges of working in the 360-degree format forced director Chris Cairns to find new ways of moving a user's attention around the environment, and it resulted in a clip that can be played back several times, each time adding detail to the viewer's understanding of the scene.
Check the music video out here in HD.
The video is also slated to appear as an iPhone app that can be navigated using finger swipes to control the camera angle.
It's a fascinating look into a new type of media that could only take off online, where every viewer is an individual and wants control of what they're watching.
Oh, and for the record, if you want to learn more about yellowBird or get in touch with them to hire some gear, you'll have to visit what we'd rank right up there as one of the worst business URLs we've ever encountered: http://www.yellowbirdsdonthavewingsbuttheyflytomakeyouexperiencea3dreality.com
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