Facebook Launches Live 360-Degree Video Streaming

Cable network National Geographic first to use new feature to promote 'Mars' series

Courtesy of Facebook/NatGeo

Facebook keeps punching up video features on the world’s largest social network. Its latest development: live-streaming broadcasts with a 360-degree view.

The company has previously launched support for prerecorded 360 videos, and widened out support for Facebook Live to all users earlier this year. Now, it’s coupling the two formats together with live 360 video support — promising to give users get a real-time, immersive look into a scene.

Facebook’s first partner for live 360 video is cable network National Geographic, which will use the feature Tuesday for a broadcast as part of promoting its “Mars” space-travel series.

On Tuesday, Dec. 13, starting at 12 p.m. Pacific, NatGeo’s Facebook page will broadcast live in 360 degrees from the Mars Desert Research Station facility in Hanksville, Utah, showing eight scientists emerging from pods simulating conditions on Mars after 80 days. Facebook users can pan across the scene with their mouse cursor on a desktop computer or by moving their smartphone around.

NatGeo’s live 360-degree stream will include a look behind the scenes at the scientists’ living quarters, show how they suit up in their spacesuits, and feature video from a rover out for a spin across the Martian landscape. Facebook’s first live 360 broadcast also will include a Q&A with a lineup of experts, writers and thinkers, who will take questions from Facebook users around the world.

According to Facebook, it will make support for live 360 video available to additional partners via the Facebook Live API in the coming months. The company plans to roll out live 360 for all Pages and Profiles in 2017.

Pictured above: Mock-up of NatGeo’s scheduled Facebook Live 360-degree broadcast from the Mars Desert Research Station