How To View 360 Degree Videos
360 Degree Videos are produced by a special camera using dual “fisheye” lenses to capture video from every direction simultaneously. Instead of being limited to one view / perspective, the viewer of a 360 Video can move the view and look at not only what’s in front, but what’s above, behind, to either side, or under the camera
Viewing a 360 Video With A Desktop Browser
You must view a 360 Video using the Chrome browser. Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, and Firefox will not render the videos properly. Safari has similar poor results. If you attempt to view a 360 Video using something other than Chrome, you’ll see a video which looks like this:
That’s a 2D representation of what’s basically a 3D video. Do you remember those Mercator Projection maps of the world from high school Geography? Where Alaska always looked as big as the rest of the United States?
That’s because the map makers were trying to put a 3D sphere (the Earth) onto a 2D map. It’s the very same thing with a 360 Video. Without Chrome properly rendering the video, what you’re seeing is a 2D version.
Once Chrome is installed, you can view 360 Videos without any problem. Here’s a quick way to tell if the video you’re watching is a 360 Video. It will have a little compass wheel in the left hand corner of the screen:
This next step should be automatic, but in case the video looks a little fuzzy, make sure you’re playing the video at its highest resolution, 4K. Hover your mouse to make the tool bar show up at the bottom of the video and click the little gear:
That will open up the video quality / resolution choices:
If it’s not at 2160 4K, then click on the Quality box and change it:
When viewing the video, you can take your mouse and drag it across the screen to look ahead, left, right, behind the camera, above, below . . . in every direction. Just like if you were standing there and looking around. Here’s an example of using the mouse to drag across the video screen:
Here’s an actual 360 Video. Make sure you’re viewing with Chrome and make sure your quality / resolution are set to 2160 4K. Give it a try!
Viewing a 360 Video On Your Mobile Device / Tablet Using YouTube App
Using the YouTube App on your smartphones and tablets, you can also view 360 Videos. Since you don’t have a mouse for a mobile device / tablet, you drag your finger across the screen to change the perspective. But depending on the device itself, it’s possible that the device may become its own focal point. That you can change the perspective of the video by physically moving your device! Like this: