It has been a strange week full of ups and downs. Just one of the downs, although by no means the worst, was attending an event where I thought I was going to come back with some fantastic, juicy new tidbits to share about what’s hot in “frontier technologies” like AR/VR. Sadly, what actually happened was it became abysmally apparent how drastic the gap is between what’s already possible, as in things as basic as what I share on Cosma 3D, and what even “experts” seem to be aware of right now. There was very little overlap. Needless to say, this does not bode well for the prospects of the VR/AR industry.

On the other hand, a key new good development this week was that Mark Zuckerberg finally started to show-off why he spent that $2bn on Oculus. It was not nearly as frivolous nor clueless as some people would have you believe. Specifically, Facebook made a splash by saying that they are now going to feature 360-degree video ads on Facebook. The fact they would be doing this has been known for awhile, but now they ARE actually doing it. Here are a few articles about the move.

Facebook Unleashes VR-Style 360 Videos For Ads And iOS (Josh Constine, Tech Crunch)
See the First 360-Degree Video Ads on Facebook (Tim Peterson, Advertising Age)
AT&T, Samsung, Nestle Among Brands Test New Format

Here is an excellent video that nicely recaps where things are so far.

Facebook Brings 360-degree Videos to iPhone and Gear VR

Okay, ironically, the video says there are no ads on the Gear VR — that is true. They are only on Facebook news feeds (for now, anyway). Here is a web page about this new 360-degree ad feature: 360 Video (Facebook).

So that’s great. You can now see 360-degree ads on your Facebook news feed. I’m pretty sure most of you are NOT celebrating this latest development. Then again, look more carefully and you will notice that YOU can also create and publish your own 360-degree videos. As far as the purposes of this site go, the later is by far the more important thing, because to go along with the new ability to publish your 360-degree videos (evil ads or otherwise), Facebook just published some helpful resources about how to get started making your own 360-degree videos. Bravo!
Learning Resources: Get started with 360 Video today (Facebook)
Best Practices for Immersive Storytelling (Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin, Facebook) (pdf)
360 Video Upload Guide (Facebook) (pdf)

There you have it. It is pretty much possible to use almost any mobile phone to record and publish 360-degree photos and videos directly to both YouTube and Facebook fully tagged with searchable metadata like geo-codes, names, dates and what-not. These videos will be able to be seen on Google Cardboard and/or Gear VR. Furthermore, the process is so simple that school kids can do it (and probably have been using their phones to share Photo Spheres and related media on Google Street View for over a year or so already).

The resources Facebook posted, as well as seeing a “need” based on my unfortunate experiences at the aforementioned event, led me to finally post a long overdue page on Cosma 3D about DIY 3D/360/VR photos and videos.

Please enjoy and, by all means, share this page!