Looks weird, right? This is an unprocessed 360 image so you’re seeing everything in a flat plane.… [+]
If you’ve bought a 360 camera (I liked the Ricoh Theta S), and you’ve spent some time learning how to take the best 360 photos and videos, the next logical step is showing them off. Sure you could just use your phone to show your friends and family your handiwork, but that gets a bit tiring if they live on the other side of the country.
Because 360 photos are quite new, there aren’t as many places to show them off. Many services either don’t support the format, or don’t support it well.
So here are your options, thankfully all free.
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This is by far the easiest place to post, and the best place to view, 360 photos and videos. You just upload an image as normal, and Facebook processes it to look correct in your feed. You can see some examples here (you don’t have to be part of Facebook to view the photos).
The cool part is when people look at your photos. Most mid- and high-end phones will let you move the phone itself to view your photo sphere. Tilt the phone up, the view looks up. Turn around, and see what was behind the camera. Everyone I’ve shown this to has their mind blown. It’s a fantastic effect. If someone has an older phone, or is viewing on the computer, they can use their finger or mouse to scan the image (some really old or budget phones won’t work at all, however).
You can’t tag faces in the photos yet, though you can tag the post with their names.
The only downside is if you’re not on Facebook, or someone you want to show them to isn’t on Facebook, you’re out of luck (though you can create an Album and share that with non-Facebook people.
As of this posting the Forbes website doesn’t correctly render 360 image embeds from Facebook (or other sites), so if you’d like to see what the images look like you can check out some I’ve posted on my Facebook page.
Like Facebook, YouTube’s implementation of 360 videos is excellent. Pan and tilt your phone, the image pans and tilts. It’s great, as you can see:
However, there is one extra step required to posting: metadata insertion. You’ll need to download a free app from Google to add data to tell YouTube the video is 360. It’s easy and fast, though it’s important to note you have to have a 64-bit operating system (newer versions of Windows usually are). You can find out more info, and the link to the download, on their support page.
If you’re having issues watching the 360 videos, keep this in mine, from Google’s support page: “To watch 360° videos, you need the latest version of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, or Internet Explorer on your computer. On mobile devices, use the latest version of the YouTube app for Android or iOS.”
And the rest (aren’t as good)
YouTube and Facebook have by far the best implementations of 360 playback. Use them. Everything else on this list is flawed in some way. Though if you have Facebook and YouTube for some reason… well here are the other options.
On one hand, Google Photos isn’t bad. You can create a shared folder, as I have here, and once people get there the images load full-browser and you can navigate them. It even works in the Photos app.
Why is this listed as an “also ran.” Well for one, most people aren’t on Google+, so you’ll still need to link out from Facebook. Also, the trick “move your phone and the image moves with it” functionality isn’t here like it is on Facebook and YouTube (I know, WTF?). So the images feel far more static, less 3D, and not nearly as cool.
It’s free and it works, though, so there’s that.
Related, you can upload to Google Maps, which seems odd to me and I’ve never done it.
Twitter recently added 360-video support, but no direct support for images yet (see Kuula on the next page). Why is this in the also-rans? Lack of photo support in a medium that supports photos, is a miss in my book. When they add photo support too, they’ll be as good as Facebook for sharing.
Flickr does support 360 photos, though it’s not as seamless as Facebook. You need to click onto the photo’s page, wait for a moment, and then it shows. You can use Flickr to embed these photos in other webpages, but as you can see below, they don’t load correctly. You have to click on it:
Not bad, but not ideal.
A free website to post and mildly edit 360-photos. Allows you to post out to Facebook, and interestingly, Twitter. The latter seems to be unique. I haven’t played around with it much, but plan to. The web interface is pretty slick.
Ricoh’s own hosting (or your camera brand’s hosting)
Ricoh has an OK image hosting service for 360 photos. You can see my page here. It still requires you to go to a separate site, though if you have your own website, you should be able to embed the image which works great. It doesn’t work on the Forbes site, however, so you may end up with something like this:
Hvar, Croatia – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
I only have the Ricoh at the moment (though I’ll be upgrading to the Nikon soon). Other cameras likely have their own hosting, but I’m willing to bet they have similar issues to the ones from Ricoh.
There are likely some that I’ve missed, though they’ll have similar issues as the “also rans.” Generally, unless you have Facebook and YouTube, use those. Google Photos is also OK.
If you’ve found a service to host 360 photos that you love, let me know in the comments!
How Do You Share 360 Photos And Videos? – Forbes
06/06/2022 360 Photography