Imagine experiencing a Formula E motor race, but without ever having to leave your house. Now you can.
The Formula E series uses electric cars, and some of those cars were recently fitted with 360-degree cameras, with the purpose of allowing you to experience a race from the driver's view. YouTube channel 360 Racing has uploaded several videos already, including the crash one below, which shows the Trulli Formula E Team racing in FIA Formula E Championship's round 6 Long Beach ePrix in California.
Dmitri Kozko, the presdient of 360 Racing, told MailOnline that each car had a specially-developed 360-degree wireless camera, which was mounted to the driver's head, with two fish eye lenses and stereo microphones. Kozko said 360 Racing relies on a specific algorithm to convert footage into a 360-degree video, and that viewers can also watch its videos from the Formula E app.
YouTube added support for 360-degree video in March, meaning you're now able to upload footage taken with a 360-degree camera and watch it back for free. All you need is the YouTube app for Android, and then you can move your phone/tablet around to see all sorts of angles as the video plays. Alternatively, on the desktop, you can use navigational arrows within the video to peer around.
YouTube in 2013 hosted a 360-degree live stream of a Kings of Leon concert in London, and for the first time, viewers were able to watch a live stream through a 360-degree camera. It allowed them to see the event from all angles. We found it a bit nauseating to navigate at the time, but it was definitely fun to try and even allowed us to capture an on-screen photo of the concert and share it.
The videos of the Formula E race in Long Beach are a little difficult to stomach as well, especially if you're prone to motion sickness, though you should still consider checking them out. Be sure to use the YouTube for Android app or, if you're on desktop, the navigational arrows in the video in order to see all around the videos.
According to Kozko, 360 Racing eventually hopes to develop its own live-streaming system that could launch later this year. It is also already working with Oculus Rift and planning to film more races, including one in Monaco that'll see 10 cameras made available to different racing teams.