Video gamers have been able to explore the Star Wars universe in 360-degrees for decades, but until now the movies themselves have remained frustratingly flat.
A new video — which in itself marks the first such clip to be viewable on Facebook and now excitable Star Wars fanatics can explore the Jakku, setting of part of the upcoming Force Awakens sequel, in full 360.
Watch the video below and you can drag your way around the scene, gawking at the city-sized wreck of an Imperial Destroyer spacecraft and other small craft zipping around nearby. Created by Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB, the clip turns mobile devices into viewers, with users able to navigate by moving their phones and tablets around the scene.
Facebook also announced several other 360 videos from parters like Vice, GoPro and Discovery.
“There’s also a whole world of video creators and storytellers who are at the cutting edge of exploring this medium, and over the coming days they too will be able to upload their 360 videos to Facebook.”
Admittedly, 360-degree videos themselves are nothing new; many have been available on YouTube for some time, and can be easily explored on desktop or with Google’s inexpensive Cardboard VR headsets. It also unveiled a camera rig designed just for 360 video at its I/O conference earlier this year.
But Facebook’s move is significant, and not just because its video ambitions are so aggressive — though they are. Facebook’s head of ad product Ted Zagat during a panel at Variety’s Entertainment and Technology Summit this week that “a year or two from now, we think Facebook will be mostly video”. The significance is enhanced in context of Facebook’s purchase of Oculus VR, the pioneering makers of virtual reality hardware, for $2 billion in 2014.
Though Facebook’s 360 video does not currently support Oculus Rift, that will surely come — along with more immersive content.
Speed across the Jakku desert from Star Wars: The Force Awakens with this immersive 360 experience created exclusively for Facebook.
Posted by Star Wars on Wednesday, 23 September 2015
“In the future, imagine watching 360 videos of a friend’s vacation to a small village in France or a festival in Brazil,” Facebook said in a news release. “You’ll be able to look around and experience it as if you were there. Along with updates from your friends and family, you will also be able to discover amazing new content on Facebook from media companies, organisations, and individual creators.”
“There’s also a whole world of video creators and storytellers who are at the cutting edge of exploring this medium, and over the coming days they too will be able to upload their 360 videos to Facebook. We’re excited to see more innovative and compelling 360 videos being shared from these publishers.”
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