In previous guides, we have shown you how to create 360-degree and VR content in a variety of ways using different accessible equipment and software. The next stage is answering what can you upload to the web and where can you publish your content? Well, this guide will help provide you with the answers you seek for getting your content out there.
What can I upload?
A majority of the 360-degree and VR content you create is most likely going to be imagery or video. There are a number of websites you can upload your 360-degree photos and videos on. However, if you have created a VR app or used graphics engines such as Unity to create content, you will be limited to where you can publish to. VR apps that you have created can be published to app distribution platforms such as the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. For now, we will focus solely on publishing photos and videos.
Important things to consider
It is important to consider the audience that your content is created for as that can affect where you upload and publish your content. For example, if you upload you 360-degree pictures and videos to say, Ricoh’s website, it might be and ineffective platform for publishing content taken at say an event. Therefore, always take this into consideration when publishing your content. Utilising the right platforms is important. Facebook for example is a great way to publish videos of events because of the way audiences engage with content and can produce great results in terms of interaction. It also allows you to take advantage of Facebook’s advertising setup to maximise the reach of your videos . However, if this is not right for your intended target audience then it may not be the right platform for you, so consider your audience before publishing.
Can I upload content to my website?
This really depends on the nature of your website and its content management system. The last thing you want to do is try to figure out complex HTML and CSS coding when adding this new type of content to your website. If your website is hosted on WordPress.com or you have built a custom website utilising WordPress.org, the process of hosting 360-degree and VR content is much simpler.
WordPress.com currently supports the embedding of 360-degree photos and videos and is currently experimenting and testing new and easier ways of including this content. To embed this content, you simply need to include the following code and replace path-to-photo.jpg with your photos url. Embedding video is a similar process. Simply add the following code:
Embedding video is a similar process. You need to simply upload your 360-degree video to VideoPress, but do bear in mind this will require a Premium or Business WordPress.com account. Once you have uploaded the video to you VideoPress account, simply access the video, click on the share video, and copy the Videopressguid. To embed the video, simply copy and paste the Videpress ID into the following shortcode:
This process might seem complicated, but it is ideal for those who don’t host their own website or have access to a hosting server. WordPress.com has a full guide here for it if you are still struggling with the process.
Worpress.org is a far easier platform for uploading and including 360-degree content. To display your content on your WordPress.org CMS system, you simply need to install the following plugin.
Once you have installed the plugin and have activated it in your WordPress.org CMS, it is simply a case of uploading your content directly into your posts by clicking on the VR media button that should now have appeared in your post creation options.
If you do not have a WordPress.com or WordPress.org based website then your best alternative would be to embed your photos and videos from Facebook. In the case of YouTube, you can also embed videos directly from that platform into your website.
The key platforms
There are several key platforms for displaying your 360 photos and videos. As we have shown above, WordPress is one avenue. However, if you conduct your business or showcase your content mainly on social media, then the two main platforms are Facebook and YouTube. Facebook supports both videos and photos. However, in the case of 360-degree videos, Facebook has a habit of downscaling the quality – although they are currently working on resolving this so we would recommend that you use this mainly for 360-degree photos and graphics.
YouTube doesn’t support static photos but it does provide excellent support for 360-degree video, including 4K support. However, it may take up to 24 hours after uploading your 4K video to YouTube before it is available to viewers in 4K.
While Facebook, YouTube and WordPress are key platforms for hosting and displaying your content, there are other opinions available to you. Google Maps, for example, supports the uploading of 360-degree photo spheres. Camera manufacturers also usually host photos on their own websites. An example of this is Ricoh allows owners of its products to upload pictures via their desktop app and display them in a gallery online. Your content can then be posted on your website by clicking on the share button and copying the HTML embed code.
There are several 360-degree and VR video hosting services such as LittlStar cinema, but we recommend that your stick to mainstream platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. It is worth mentioning that you can view your 360-degree content locally on your computer using a wide variety of HMD compatible players such as Vive Cinema and more. If your are a gamer, you can also view your content by transferring it via USB to your PlayStation 4 and selecting the content.
There are plenty of people working on various new platforms with extensive features including Go Pro and their Forge.js WebVR system. The biggest name missing from the world of VR so far is perhaps Twitter and Snapchat. Snap Inc are still experimenting on how they can implement it into their platforms but there has been no firm commitment. Twitte, on the other hand, are slowly testing new features through its partner’s program. Twitter acquired Periscope as a streaming platform and is currently testing 360-degree broadcasts for Twitter and Periscope users. It has yet to confirm if it will roll out the sharing of 360-degree photos on any of its platforms though. There is also still no word on whether or not Instagram will also be joining the world of 360-degree and VR content as of yet.
*originally published at: https://www.newrealitynetwork.com/articles/2017/4/17/best-publishing-platforms-for-360-degree-content *