So, what’s a 360 degree photo? It’s a panoramic image that you can explore in all directions, by tilting your phone or by swiping. 360 photos are fun, immersive and perform well on social media. It’s virtual reality but you don’t need a VR headset. It’s accessible to everyone with a smartphone. Take a look at the Facebook post below.
How to capture a 360 photo
There are plenty of 360 cameras on the market, ranging from £150 to £20,000. But since we’re taking a still photo rather than recording video, we don’t need an expensive camera; an app and a smartphone will do just fine.
Two good options are the Google Street View app, and the Google Cardboard Camera app.
Both require you to stand in one position, and take a sequence of photos, turning on the spot.
Cardboard Camera will create a perfect 360 panorama but limited to horizontal viewing (you can’t look up and down), whereas Street View will create a 360 degree spherical photo that you can explore in all directions; with the downside of occasional stitching errors (photo seams don’t always line up correctly).
I recommend Street View for the full 360 experience. Open the app, tap on the ‘contribute’ tab, and then tap on the ‘+camera’ icon to take your 360 photo.
Uploading to Facebook
Street View and Cardboard Camera will back up your photos to Google Photos, and store them on your device. You can grab the photos via USB straight from your phone (Download a file manager app to find them easily).
If you’ve used Street view, you’ll now have a nice big spherical photo.
Upload the file to Facebook on your Facebook page as you would any other photo. Facebook will automatically detect the panoramic meta data and display it as an interactive 360 photo. Simple!
The same as any photo, a 360 photo file can be subjected to a little post production. For Art Galleries and Museums, there’s lots of scope for creating interactive experiences. 360 photos can be used to educate the user about the collection, or even to recreate a historic scene. These photos can be displayed on interactives in venues and distributed as Facebook posts.
Below is a Facebook promotion for ‘The Museum at Night Experience’; a mystery trail around Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Museum attended by staff in full costume, dressed as characters depicted in the collection. Tap/click the main image to view the interactive post.
For information and support on creating 360 photo and HD video content for educational and promotional purposes, get in touch.