Snapchat’s decision to rebrand to Snap. Inc and become “a camera company” selling hardware wasn’t just a smart business move, it was truly innovative. Unifying it’s software with hardware.
Their hardware release, Spectacles — a $130 pair of video capturing sunglasses to capture memories to share with friends — records short form videos (up to 10 seconds) in a circular format, that can be sent to your phone.
Despite Snap’s CEO Evan Spiegel branding the glasses as a ‘toy’ that are meant as a bit of ‘fun’, it’s 115 degree circular lens could change the way we shoot video forever.
Forget 16:9, or vertical — let’s embrace spherical.
Remember the days when your TV resembled a box? It wasn’t slim, wide angle, or 4K or even HD. It was 4:3 resolution. As technology advanced, so did the resolution. In 2 decades we went from a bad quality box-like picture, to a crisp, wide-angle, ultra high definition 4K image.
Video has also conquered the internet. Both Snapchat and Facebook claim to having over 10 billion video views daily with 135% higher engagement than photo’s On the whole, social media users prefer video to other forms of media — undisputedly making it the best way to reach consumers.
Brands have embraced video. Particularly in newer formats: vertical and square. They understand that competitors are fighting for attention on social — saturated with content. They understand that users view content on a newsfeed, and want it hassle-free — after all, a staggering 85% of videos are played without any sound.
There’s just one problem; consumers associate vertical footage with amateur footage. Authentic yes, but not necessarily professional. For brands this has been a problem.
How does it work?
It records a video as a circle, and the part the users see (on screen) pivots on a central point. This means that whether the users device is landscape, portrait or anywhere in between, it just works! An in-genius solution to a problem brands and agencies face.
Now here’s where it gets exciting…
Snap’s Spectacles aren’t for everyone. Their vibrant colours and design appeal to a more extroverted audience, comfortable with sharing every moment.
But if we take this technology outside of Spectacles, or even Snapchat, we can change the way adverts are shot — or documentaries, programmes, and even films.
For agencies and brands, we need to start thinking how shooting in circular format can shape our campaigns, and more importantly, how they will be viewed on any device.
For consumers, circular video offers an easier solution to what vertical and square videos achieved, just with the option for viewers to consume in a wide-angle format, or even 1:1 format.
Imagine a video file, with meta data that detects the output (whether it’s Facebook for mobile, or Instagram on a desktop) that scales appropriately. One file, multiple uses. A responsive video.
The possibilities of this new video format are huge. Let’s hope the platforms build infrastructure to support it, brands and agencies embrace it, and the consumers love it.