360 Photos and Videos: What are they and how do you create them?

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This 360 panoramic image was taken with an LG 360 camera. The final images can display panoramic like this or stitched together with software for a spherical image.

If you’re looking for a new tool to add to your staff’s arsenal this year, I would start by looking at  360-degree video camera.

I finally ordered one a few weeks ago. It’s an LG that ran about $250, shoots 2k video and can be controlled by my iPhone. While I’ve only had it a week, I can already see the potential it’s going to have for the staff this coming year and some of the fun things they are going to be able to do with it.

Essentially, the cameras capture 360 degree views of scenes in photo or video formats for you to explore.

If you haven’t seen one before, let me share a few must knows:

  • There are a variety of models available. You just need to find the ones that meet your needs. I wanted to make sure that I had one that was able to work with iPhones. Not all do. Here’s a great guide from Chris Snider: Best 360 Degree Video Camera Guide
  • The LG model allows me to take 360 degree photos or video.
  • While the camera can be left stationary on a table or tripod to capture images and footage, you can also move around with it (preferably on some sort of tripod). Here are a couple recent 360-degree videos from the Western Kentucky University Xposure Student Journalism Workshop
  • Youtube supports 360-degree videos. You can see a full channel of 360 videos here. They even offer some help to get your videos uploaded properly.
  • Facebook supports 360-degree videos and photos as well. You can find some information about them from Facebook here and here.
  • To create a 360 photo on Facebook with what you already have, you can even just take a panoramic photo on your phone, upload it to Facebook and Facebook will do the rest.
  • If you’re looking for a place other than Facebook to host interactive 360 images, they do exist. For instance, Google Plus is compatible with 360 images. Who knows, maybe this will be a reason for your staff to have a robust Google Plus presence this year. Maybe…

That should be a good start to wet your appetite. We will no doubt be posting more about 360 videos and photos here in the coming months. If you and your staff has done any work with 360 photo or video, we’d love to hear. Email us at info@jeadigitalmedia.org or share your work in the comments below.

Aaron Manfull

Aaron is in his 19th year of advising student media. He is currently the Director of Student Media at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Missouri. He is the Journalism Education Association Digital Media Chair and co-Director of Media Now. He created The Next 26 and is a former Dow Jones News Fund National Journalism Teacher of the Year. He is one of the authors of the textbook "Student Journalism and Media Literacy." You can find him on Twitter and Instragram @manfull and on Snapchat as aaronmanfull. He's a proud father. A transplanted Iowan. And an avid Hawkeye Fan.

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