YouTube has been pushing its new 360 hub of 360 degree and VR videos since it added support for them in early 2015. A year on, here's our picks of what to watch on your Cardboard viewer. With all the hype around Oculus Rift and buddies, new stuff is being added all the time.
Watch the vids by downloading the YouTube app on your Android phone, finding a video with the Cardboard avatar, starting playback then slotting your phone into your mobile VR headset.
The YouTube app on iOS supports 360 degree videos and just recently added a Cardboard mode so iPhone users can join in on the fun.
VR and nature conservation truly go hand-in-hand and this video should convince you. Join Ronald Mambrasar, an indigenous fisherman-turned-coral-scientist, and his son, Valen as they tell their story and take you on an amazing journey under the ocean.
Notes on Blindness
This short film has been around for awhile but was recently recreated for VR by Arte Experience. After decades of steady sight deterioration, writer and theologian John Hull became totally blind. He began documenting his experiences on audio cassette which is how the film and this project were born. His original diary recordings form the basis of the six-part interactive non fiction project using gameplay mechanics and virtual reality to explore his emotional experience of blindness. It's an incredibly fascinating and moving experience that you can't miss.
Skydiving with the GoPro Bombsquad
This Blue Skies spherical experience lets you hang out mid-air with skydivers/wingsuiters. The beginning of the 3 minute 30 second vid feels a bit odd as you realise you're basically on one of their heads, but there's some cool slow-mo tricks towards the end. Very cool.
A neat video by motion artist/filmmaker Quba Michalski in which you're inside gravity-less chambers and in the middle of a series of experiments (which pop up on a kind of HUD). It looks awesome and is a genuinely cool little experience, with binaural audio as a bonus. In 2D and stereoscopic 3D.
Waves of Grace
This is the real deal in VR video and part of the UN and Gabo Arora's series with Chris Milk and VRSE. The 9 minute long Waves of Grace, made in 2015, follows Decontee Davis, an ebola survivor in Liberia and her efforts to help orphaned children in her village.
Inside the Large Hadron Collider
One of the BBC's recent experiments with 360 degree video, this 3 minute video is a tour of CERN (100m below the Swiss-French border) with Click's Spencer Kelly. The Large Hadron Collider - which smashes particles together at close to the speed of light - is the world's largest machine and this is a nerd-friendly fly by of the facilities with hovering infographics.
Every opening crawl from Star Wars
Pretty self-explanatory, from IGN VR. No The Force Awakens yet.
Bjork's Stonemilker music video
Shot in Iceland by Vrse.work's Andrew Huang, Bjork's nearly 7 minute 360 degree music video for her track Stonemilker (from the album Vulnicura) is well worth checking out. Trust this one to get involved with emerging tech. Multiple Bjorks!
Dunking with Sir Issac White
Vice Sports has produced a 1:40 minute mini doc with professional dunker Issac White as he jumps over the top of the head of his companions to deliver ball after ball into the basket. The viewer gets a courtside view of his training with 360 degrees of the action.
GoPro Spherical: Land, Air, and Sea – A Virtual Reality Experience
GoPro again and it's really making a mark in the VR world. The company made a 16-camera rig specifically for virtual reality and this 360-degree intro video lets you search around as "GoPro Heroes" travel across the sea, sail through the air, and climb rock faces on land.
Grand Canyon 360° Video by 360 Labs
You can float down the Colorado River inside the Grand Canyon in this immersive VR adventure. Start off in calm waters and quickly get blasted in the rough whitewater rapids of the Hance, Granite, and Hermit. If you've always wanted to try an adventure on the rapids, but are a bit scared, this video will give you a sense of what it's like without the wet side effects.
Noa Neal 'Graffiti' 4K 360° Music Video Clip
There are quite a few VR music videos available on YouTube, but this one stands out because it makes good use of the 360-degree view. On the sides, you'll see dancers preparing for their mark, and musicians rocking to the beat, while the singer takes centre stage, heading for your face. It's made by Kolar, the interactive software company that was acquired by GoPro.
Additional words by Sophie Charara.
Let us know what you've been watching on YouTube 360 in the comments.