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Indonesia livestreams Independence Day ceremony in 360 degrees, video gets stuck

Indonesia marked its Independence Day with four 360 degree livestreams from President Joko Widodo's official YouTube account.

On Wednesday, the large Southeast Asian nation celebrated 71 years since Dutch colonial rule.

The president, commonly referred to as Jokowi, livestreamed the ceremony at the Merdeka presidential palace, where he lives. Four 360 degree videos were streamed, a couple simultaneously: one from the media pit, and others from various vantage points inside the compound with a view of the lawn where the military parade was.

The ceremony featured honour guards wearing the traditional Javanese soldier uniform, and ceremonial drummers performing as the flag was hoisted.

The government clearly had hoped the 360 videos would appeal to the 100 million Indonesians on the internet. The presidential palace press bureau put out a circular the day before publicising the 360 degree videos.

Unfortunately, the execution was marred by technical issues. At about 10 minutes into the ceremony starting, the already blurry main video froze and flashed an error message as the live audience dropped from around 3,000 to 300.

The other video from the media pit continued rolling, but there wasn't much to see since the first half of the morning's action was visible from the other vantage points.

Overall, the videos seemed to suffer from fairly severe edge distortion, and broadcast at pretty low resolution.

Eventually, the videos concluded with the buggiest stream getting about 7,000 views, and the most popular view from within the Istana getting about 50,000 by the end.

Thankfully, the president maintains a pretty varied and active presence across his social media accounts. On Twitter, Jokowi's official account with 5.6 million followers Periscoped the military flag raising ceremony from a very close vantage point, which drew some 4,500 viewers.

It's not clear if Jokowi posted that video himself.

On Instagram, where he has 1.1 million subscribers, he posted a video early on Wednesday morning publicising the 360 degree YouTube livestream. His Instagram account is regularly updated with pictures of his activities, and he signs off many of the captions himself.

Jokowi's YouTube account may have his smallest subscriber base of 36,000, but the president is enjoying exposure on his son, Kaesang's account, who posts videos of the two hanging out at home goofing around. One of Kaesang's videos featuring dad and son arm wrestling has 1.9 million views to date.

Neighbouring Southeast Asian country, Singapore, similarly livestreamed its national day parade two weeks ago in a 360 degree video on YouTube.

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