YouTube's new video format allows for immersive videos, no headset required

Posted June 24, 2017

But getting the right equipment, like 360-degree cameras, and setting up the shots necessary to create true, immersive VR can get expensive and complicated for the creators who are the backbone of Google's online video behemoth, YouTube.

"They look just like any other YouTube video we have on the site", YouTube VR product manager Erin Teague said.

YouTube is working with camera manufacturers like LG, Yi and Lenovo to build VR180 cameras that would cost a couple of hundred dollars. The VR180 format is created to be viewed on mobile or desktop as a flat video, but will also work in VR headsets like Google's Daydream or Cardboard and the Playstation VR.

Meanwhile, Google also stated they would remain committed to the more elaborate 360-degree video format on YouTube. Also, it would be a seamless transition to VR experience when viewed in existing platforms like Cardboard, Daydream, and PlayStation VR.

Google has introduced a new YouTube video format which it has named VR180. It is what it sounds like - 180-degree stereoscopic virtual reality, eschewing the full 360 degrees usually used in videos in favour of a more limited field of view. The launch of the new format is also accompanied by similar efforts to launch suitable hardware to actually shoot the video.

Google says there is no additional work for the content creators, as they can use their regular cameras to shoot videos and edit them using common tools. Creators who want to test VR180 capabilities early can apply to test drive a VR180 camera from YouTube Spaces around the world. Z Cam will be one of Google's first partners under the program.

Interested? Check out this playlist of VR180 demos to see how the format plays on your headset. It also supports live-streaming videos.

In an upcoming update YouTube videos will be able to fill the screen no matter the format or orientation and users will have a method of sending videos directly from the mobile app. But this is not the case with YouTube VR180, which offers higher resolution (up to 4K) across the entire video image.