Facebook has introduced its two biggest updates to video in a little over a year: live-streaming and 360 degree footage. It was only a matter of time until it combined the two.
Simply called Facebook Live 360, it’s exactly what you’d expect; you can watch a video in real time (or close to it, anyway), while also being able to scroll around it with your mouse or change the angle by moving your phone around.
The feature launches tomorrow, December 13, at 12 PM PT with a feed from National Geographic streaming live from the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. Eight scientists have spent the past 80 days living in pods that simulate the Martian environment, in complete isolation and the Live 360 video will document their first time back into the real world since.
The video will also provide a behind the scenes look at their lives in the simulated environments and include a Q&A where commenters can interact with “science experts, writers, and thinkers.”
To be clear, this is 360-degree video, and not quite VR, as it doesn’t include a 3D element (and there’s no word whether the videos are viewable on VR headsets yet). It will also be a while before we see Live 360 become more popular; the feature will become available to select pages via the Live API “in the coming months,” with a broad rollout for other Pages and Profiles sometime next year.