Facebook rolls out 360-degree videos to the public with Vice, Star Wars

Facebook has finally unveiled its 360-degree videos to the public after teasing them for months.

The social network showed off panoramic videos from Star Wars, Vice, NBC’s Saturday Night Live, LeBron James and GoPro today. Without the need for a clunky piece of head gear, the virtual reality videos work by users dragging around their cursors while it plays, letting them “explore” the scene.

“To create 360 videos, a special set of cameras is used to record all 360 degrees of a scene simultaneously,” explains Facebook’s video engineering director Maher Saba in a blog post.

The videos were created using Oculus’ technology, a virtual reality company the company acquired last year. So far, the videos only work on the on Google Chrome (not Safari) and on Android devices, but not on iOS just yet.

Before expanding to other brands and users, Facebook users can navigate around SNL’s historic 8H studio during its 40th anniversary special, virtually swim with the sharks on Discovery’s page or take a peek of war-torn Afghanistan on Vice. The video that got the most excitement was from Star Wars, letting people see a scene from the upcoming film.

“There’s also a whole world of video creators and storytellers who are at the cutting edge of exploring this medium, and over the coming days they too will be able to upload their 360 videos to Facebook,” Saba wrote, hinting that more will be appearing on people’s News Feeds soon.

Facebook announced the new format in June at Cannes Lions. And earlier this month, Gatorade and Michael Kors were among the first brands to use the 360-degree experience to test out ads. While they haven’t yet launched, it’s only a matter of time at this point.

Photos via Facebook.


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