Twitter Quietly Flips The VR Switch: 360 Live Streaming Now Available on Periscope
At 2:00pm on Wednesday, Twitter user Alex Pettitt quietly broadcast the first ever 360 Periscope video. Periscope is the personal live stream smartphone application that was acquired by Twitter for just under $100 million in 2015. This stream depicts Pettitt walking along a sunny boardwalk and can be viewed below:
— Alex Pettitt (@Alexpettitt) December 28, 2016
This is a significant step for Twitter in its VR offerings. We will update the story as more information becomes available.
Update: According to Pettitt, streaming live in 360 on Periscope requires a special 360 camera that attaches directly to a smartphone. Pettitt has yet to say exactly which camera he is using but his personal website has a grainy shot of the camera in action (apologies for poor quality incoming):
Pettitt also stated during the stream that he has to hold his phone upside down in order to use the streaming camera, which can be seen in the image above.
Update 2: Twitter has now released an official blog post explaining this update more clearly. According to Twitter,
“Starting today, you can check out live, interactive 360 videos from interesting broadcasters and explore what’s happening with them. You’ll be able to get an inside look with well-known personalities and go behind the scenes at exclusive events.
When you see a video marked with a LIVE 360 badge, you can interact with it to change what you see by moving your phone or swiping the screen – all while watching live. See what’s unfolding behind, above, or below the broadcaster’s view for an immersive experience.
Although everyone on Twitter and Periscope can watch live 360 videos, currently only select partners can go live in 360 via Periscope. For more details, check out the Periscope blog.”
The Periscope blog mentioned above further clarified that:
We’re testing 360 broadcasts with a small group of partners, and will be rolling out this feature more broadly during the coming weeks. You can apply to join the waitlist here.
Update 3: During the stream a companion of Pettit’s gave us our best look yet at the camera being used.
The device in question clearly has a lightning adapter to plug directly into an iPhone. This confirms and explains the “upside down” requirement for 360 filming on Periscope.
From what we can tell, the camera appears to be an Insta360 Nanon 360 Degree Video Camera for iPhone, which runs about $200.