Working with 360-Degree Videos

Video CloudNew StudioExpress I, Express II, Express III, Professional, Enterprise

In this topic you will learn how to work with 360-degree videos in Video Cloud.

360° videos are video recordings where a view in every direction is recorded at the same time. 360° videos are shot using an omnidirectional camera or a collection of cameras. During playback the viewer has control of the viewing direction like a panorama.

Video Cloud supports uploading and publishing of 360° videos. A sample 360° video is shown below. At this time Chrome and Firefox support playback of 360° videos. A player error will be displayed if the video is viewed with a non-compatible browser. Once you play the video, you can use your mouse or the arrow keys to control the view. The 360° video logo play button fades on play.

This topic contains the following sections:

Recording 360-degree videos

360° video is typically recorded using either a special rig of multiple cameras or using a dedicated camera that contains multiple camera lenses. The resulting footage is then stitched to form a single video. There are many cameras available to record 360° video. The 360° video in this topic was recorded using a Ricoh Theta S. Brightcove recommends recording your video at a high resolution.

Before you upload

Before you upload a 360° video to Video Cloud, the video file needs to include certain metadata for 360° playback to be enabled. The Spatial Media Metadata Injector application can be used to add metadata to a video file indicating that the file contains 360 video. If the 360° video was recorded on a camera that doesn't automatically add the 360° metadata, follow these steps to add it:

  1. Download the 360 Video Metadata app for Mac or Windows.
  2. Install and then open the 360 Video Metadata app.
  3. Click Open and then select the video file.
  4. Click Inject metadata.
  5. Enter a name for the new file and then click Save.
The video is now ready to be uploaded to Video Cloud.

Uploading 360-degree videos

360° video is filmed to be projected on the interior of a sphere. This means that the visible area of the video in the player is only a fraction of the entire video. The following screenshot gives you a rough idea of this concept. The area inside the red rectangle is what is visible in the player, but it is only a small part of the entire video.

player view

Since only a small part of the video will be in the player at any one time, you want a very high quality rendition to be playing, with no chance of a lower quality rendition appearing. In essence, you are "zooming in" on part of the video and a poor quality rendition would yield a very poor quality viewing experience.

When uploading your video, Brightcove recommends using the single-bitrate-high (2 renditions) ingest profile for 360° videos.

Note: The single-bitrate-high profile was created for videos recorded up to 1080p. If your 360° video was recorded in 4K, you should create a custom ingest profile with higher dimensions. For information on creating custom ingest profiles, see Managing Ingest Profiles.

360-degree video properties

All Video Cloud videos have a set of properties that can be set using Video Cloud Studio or programmatically using the CMS API. Note that not all of the properties are exposed in Video Cloud Studio.

Note: For a list of all the video properties, see the CMS API Video Fields Reference document.

To indicate that a video is a 360° video, use the Media module to edit the video properties and set the Video Projection property to 360 Degree.

Note: The CMS API can also be used to set the projection property to equirectangular. For more information, see Setting 360-Degree Video Properties with the CMS API document.

Brightcove client-side players built using the mobile SDKs will check this value and display 360° videos in the correct format. Brightcove Players currently do not check this value and require the 360º Video Plugin to display 360º video content.

Publishing 360-degree videos

Brightcove provides several ways you can publish 360° videos:

Publishing 360° videos using Brightcove Social

360° videos uploaded to your Video Cloud account can easily be published to your social media accounts using Brightcove Social. For information on publishing videos using Brightcove Social, see Publishing Videos to Social Media Platforms.

Publishing 360° videos using the Brightcove Native Player SDKs

iOS apps built using the SDKs can play 360° videos (Android coming soon). For information on publishing 360° videos with the SDKs, see the Using 360-Degree Videos with the Native SDKs document.

Publishing 360° videos to web pages

To play 360° videos in a Brightcove Player, the player requires the 360º Video Plugin.

Note: The 360º Video Plugin is in beta development. The 360º plugin can be used on production web sites where the following limitations are acceptable:

  • The plugin only works on the following desktop browsers: Chrome and Firefox (no mobile support)
  • All videos published in players with the 360 plugin will be treated as 360º videos

To create a new Brightcove Player with the 360º Video Plugin, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Players module.
  2. Create a new player.
  3. Click the player name to open the player properties.
  4. Locate the Plugins section and click Edit.
  5. The JavaScript for the plugin is provided and will not change for different plugin implementations. For the JavaScript URL, enter:
  6. The CSS for the plugin is provided and will not change for different plugin implementations. For the CSS URL, enter:
  7. For the Name, enter vr.
  8. Enter the plugin options.
    "projection": "Sphere"
    plugin properties
  9. Click the plus icon (plus icon) to add another plugin name.
  10. For the second plugin function, enter excludeBrowsers for the name. No options are required.
  11. Click Save and then Publish the player.

You can now publish the 360° video inside of the Brightcove Player that was just created. If the player is viewed using an unsupported browser, an error will be displayed.

player error