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Facebook Adds 4K 360 Video Streaming Support

Also watch in your Gear VR, plus much more.

Facebook announced a slew of new updates to its 360 live platform today, stepping up the features available to both creators and viewers. Since bringing live 360 video to pages and profiles back in March, we’ve seen a few VR videos pop up in our feed, but were always unsatisfied with the resolution.

4K Support and Watch in VR

Today’s update hopefully answers our hope for more. You can now view live streamed 360 video on Facebook in up to 4K resolution, letting you enjoy Live 360 streams in much higher fidelity.

In addition to the increased video support, Live 360 broadcasts are now also available to watch in VR—both while they’re happening and after they’re over—in the free Facebook 360 app for Gear VR, available on the Oculus Store.

New Cameras

With the launch of 4K resolution support, you’ll also have even more third-party 360 camera and software solution options. Dubbed the Live 360 Ready Program, Facebook is giving their stamp of approval to 11 cameras and 7 software suites to help you do everything from going live from your phone to robust camera and software solutions to pull off more complex production.

Each camera’s app or web experience will enable you to interact with your friends and followers through direct access to Facebook’s native reactions and comments. You’ll be able to recognize Live 360 Ready cameras and software offerings by the Facebook Live logo on their packaging or website. The current list of Live 360 Ready cameras and software includes:

  • Cameras: Giroptic iO, Insta360 Nano, Insta360 Air, Insta360 Pro, ION360 U, Nokia Ozo, Z CAM S1, 360Fly HD, 360Fly 4K, and 360Fly 4K Pro
  • Software: Assimilate SCRATCH VR, Groovy Gecko, LiveScale, Teradek, Voysys, Wowza, Z CAM WonderLive

Donate and Schedule Live

Two popular features that already exist on standard Facebook Live videos are also coming to Live 360. Donate buttons and Scheduled Live, can both be added to broadcasts through Facebook’s Live API.

Although only available for Verified Pages, donate buttons allow you to raise funds if you’re a US-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit when streaming live in 360, helping encourage viewers to better support your cause.

Scheduling Live 360 broadcasts is also available to all, letting you notify your followers the exact date and time your broadcast begins. An announcement post will publish to News Feed, enabling your fans to opt in to a one-time reminder notification that will alert them when you’re about to go live.

360 Stabilization + Post-Live Features

Increasing resolution to 4K helps solve one of the biggest annoyances we’ve had with watching Live 360 video, leaving the second biggest left—stabilization. Sometimes your friend just can’t seem to hand hold their damn camera steady. That’s why Facebook is adding stabilization to Live 360 video for profiles when their algorithm detects that a broadcast may be a little shaky after you’ve stopped streaming.

Once you’ve finished a Live 360 broadcast, you can also use the Guide tool to direct viewers to the most important parts of your broadcast. The tool allows you to set up points of interest throughout your broadcast and auto-direct the field of view to those points of interest. You can access 360 Guide through your 360 Controls tab once you ‘Edit’ your video. Learn more about Guide here.

To understand the points of greatest interest in your Live 360 broadcast, you may want to refer to Heatmap, Facebook’s tool to help you understand which parts of your video your audience engaged with the most. You can access Heatmaps (for broadcasts with at least 20,000 unique active viewers) from the Page Insights surface.

Lastly, you can crosspost your Live 360 broadcast once it’s over to help get even more distribution.

Image Credit: Facebook

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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