Al’s 360˚ Video Adventures: The Rebirth of Live Streaming | Blend Media

One of Blend Media’s Thailand based creator’s, Al Caudullo, takes us on a 360˚ video live streaming journey from past to present. His multi award-winning career, spanning at least 30 years of video production excellence, has lead him to the realms of 360˚ video. He touches on some of his exciting hands-on experiences, including Blend Media and Facebook’s Weekend of Live 360°Weekend of Live 360°, as well as shedding some light on the 360˚ video camera brand, Insta360.

Take it away Al…

In many ways, 360˚ video live streaming that Facebook has pioneered draws parallels to the early live TV broadcasts of the 1950’s. The difference is the evolution that the digital age has presented us with.

“Now, I pull out my phone, attach a 360˚ video camera, and within minutes I am live streaming to a potential audience of two billion around the world!”

In my career, I have been fortunate enough to have taken part in some historic live video event production opportunities. I still remember the big truck and miles of cables used when I was live streaming the pre show video wall for the 72nd Academy Awards and the monstrous amount of equipment for the millennium celebration in Washington DC. Now, I pull out my phone, attach a 360˚ video camera, and within minutes I am live streaming to a potential audience of two billion around the world!

There are other platforms that offer 360˚ video live streaming services but what separates Facebook is that, according to a benchmark report by Wowza Media, almost 80% of the online video audience is already tuned into the platform. The same report shows that even though they are new to the game, Facebook has already surpassed YouTube with 17% of all US internet users watching video on Facebook. They have now set their sights squarely on the 360˚ video live streaming market.

I hadn’t given 360˚ video live streaming too much thought until Blend Media and Facebook asked me to participate in the Weekend of Live 360°Weekend of Live 360° with fourteen other Blend Media 360˚ video creators.

Planning is crucial when it comes to 360˚ video live streaming so I scheduled to shoot my first 360˚ video live streaming event from the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel, at the aptly named Vertigo Moon Bar.

When the time came, I popped the Insta360 Air into my Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone, and with very little setup time, I was live. Needless to say, the Insta360 Air, resembling a mini-version of BB8 from Star Wars, was a marvel; such a small package but with the performance matching much bigger 360˚ video cameras.

Insta360 had humble beginnings. When I first saw the Kickstarter campaign for the Insta360 Air, I thought, “How can something so small and inexpensive be any good?” Wow, was I wrong! Insta360 has since become a powerhouse of 360˚ video cameras with the Insta360 Nano, the Insta360 4K and of course, the Insta360 Pro. The company has also just released another groundbreaking entry into the 360˚ video camera field, the Insta360 ONE!

During the 360˚ video livestream we chatted with viewers for a little over 14 minutes and received messages from Kenya, Scotland, the UK and USA to name a few. Reaching hundreds of thousands in that 14 minutes showed just how powerful this emerging medium could be. Of course, having Blend Media and Facebook promoting our 360˚ video livestream on their Facebook pages certainly was a huge factor.

I did another four 360˚ video livestreams during the Weekend of Live 360°Weekend of Live 360°, including one from the back of a tuk-tuk driving through Bangkok. Through it all, my appreciation for this startlingly easy way to communicate your story or message to the masses continued to grow with the reach and views.  

Subsequent 360˚ video livestreams have continued to perform well above expectations and now Facebook is adding a new feature for 360˚ videos and photos. Soon you’ll be able to add 360˚ images to your cover photo on Facebook. Thanks to Blend Media, I have been lucky to get advance access to this new feature.