The Pros and Cons of 360 Live Streaming

mei 22, 2018

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter now all offer 360 live stream capabilities– a gorgeous, immersive experience that makes viewers feel like they are truly a part of the footage. With plenty of affordable, easy-to-use cameras that can capture 360 degree live footage, as well as higher end models for professional use, more brands are jumping on the 360 live streaming bandwagon. But just because you can, should you?

NOMOBO produced Hardwell's 360 live stream during Ultra Music Festival in 2017 which was a success. But not every event is suited to the 360 live stream experience. To help you decide when to use this technology, here's our guide to the pros and cons of 360 live streaming.

The pros:
1. It's a completely immersive experience
When you live stream in 360, viewers can see the entire environment. They aren't limited to the cameraman's point of view as they would be in a traditional live stream. If you have an amazing environment with lots of rich detail that you want your viewers to see, then 360 live streaming is a great way to show it off. 360 live video also gives viewers the option to explore different areas as they wish, which is closer to the actual experience of being at the event.

2. It's automatically engaging
When viewers tune into a 360 live stream, they have to choose where to look. This element of selection makes the format automatically interactive and engaging. Videos that are engaging have longer view times and are more likely to be remembered by viewers.

3. It's a new technology that's still evolving
360 live streaming is less than two years old. The format is still evolving and creators are still finding new ways to use it. There's still plenty of room to be creative and find new applications.

The cons:
1. It's less social
Interacting with a 360 live stream involves twisting your phone around and turning your head. This kind of action isn't really suited to social environments since it's difficult for more than one person to watch at the same time. You don't see groups of friends tuning in to watch a 360 live stream together as you often do with a normal live stream.

2. It can be disorienting
360 video involves quite a lot of movement, which some people can find disorienting. Some viewers might even find that it causes motion sickness because the eye registers motion while the body remains stationary. For a very long broadcast, 360 live streaming might not be ideal unless there is a secondary viewing option.

3. There can be some distortion
360 live footage is filmed with fisheye lenses, which can cause some distortion. Generally speaking, objects that are more than 3 feet from the camera can appear warped so consider the proximity of items in your broadcast's environment. There are technologies to combat this effect, which we employed for the Hardwell broadcast, but they can be time consuming and expensive so consult with experienced professionals before pursuing a 360 live broadcast where objects are far from the camera.

Final thoughts:
360 live streaming is an engaging, immersive experience that we encourage everyone to consider. Keep in mind, however, that the footage may not be as sharp or accurate as a flat video and social viewing is more difficult. Assess the type of content you're filming and the viewer behaviors you want to encourage when deciding whether 360 live video is the right format for your next live stream.
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