Under review

Implementing 360 videos and photos

Robert Armstrong 6 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Henry M. Lopez 6 years ago 5

With "VR" and other 360 degree cameras becoming more readily avaliable and affordable, we need a way to be able to upload and share our photos and videos. We can get it to work with HTML assets and other tricks, but it would be nice if it was "dumbed down" for our editors so they could just make a 360 asset and be done with it. Google has a VR viewer that could easily be intergrated into BLOX.


There is also Pannellum, which is what we're using: https://pannellum.org

Under review

Hi Robert!

It's funny that you just posted this. We actually added this capability in our development environment and have been testing it, but decided to remove it (just last week!) due to lack of support on Safari.

Essentially, for security, speed, caching and other optimizations, our videos must run through our CDN environment. Unfortunately, Safari has a bug where it won't allow VR to be played via a different website (such as a CDN) from the player code.

The bug, from 2014, is listed here: https://bugs.webkit.org/show_bug.cgi?id=135379 

Some platforms have been able to get around this bug by using workarounds, but they do not seem to be viable in our environment.

As Director of Product, I wasn't willing to put this feature out there when it wouldn't work on 60% of mobile phones (which is our current iPhone/Safari usage overall).

I will keep watching for updates, however. I did download the latest version of iOS 11 and tried our VR demo page. Previously, when you viewed the demo in Safari it was just a black screen! In iOS 11 now it plays the video, but it is warped for VR, but not actually VRed (if that makes sense). It looked weird and fish-eyed, and didn't move in a 360-degree circle. So, I still don't think it is production-ready, but we have the code ready for whenever it is, and we'll keep watching it.

If anyone sees any updates or threads about this, or has any other suggestions or ideas, please let me know! =)

Quick follow up since you mentioned Pannellum... we are expecting to have 360 panorama photos. That is being developed and seems like it will work. Video with gyroscope functionality (which is what I would call VR) is the issue.

We are just making it so that any panorama photo, when viewed on a mobile device, will use the phone's gyroscope to move around within the photo.

I just saw that same Safari bug when trying to figure out why video wasn't working. We're pretty keen on using this, so I've updated the error it throws to say "Safari doesn't currently support WebVR. Please use an alternate browser to view this content." It's a shame it won't work yet, but I don't mind trying to push those Safari users onto a better browser anyway. :p

From our stats, 40% use Chrome, 28% Safari (in-app), 20% Safari, 5% Android Browser, 4% Firefox. + all the rest for the remaining per cent. So I understand where you're coming from with compatibility. That being said, I think we'd rather move forward with the techology than suffer because of Apple's lack of support. Might finally be a kick in the pants for them if users, rather than developers, complain to them.


That is something to consider. I would feel better if I thought they were going to do something with it soon... but the fact that people have been complaining about it for years makes me feel like they are not fixing this for a strategic reason. Maybe they want to push people toward VR apps in the new iOS?

I'm going to upvote this. We use pannellum to embed via iframe 360 photos we published one today and that worked just fine. Having support for that would be great, being able to upload the photo in blox, as opposed to imgur or similar host. It doesn't kill my efforts to do these things if it's not in blox, but it sure helps. My 360-degree videos are hosted on youtube and I create youtube assets which work just fine.