*UPDATE* – not announced at IBC, but at the time of writing, GoPro’s Hero5 cameras (as ‘Black’ and ‘Session’ units) have been released and must be included in any discussion re: VR rigs. We’re especially keen to see how the ‘advanced image stabilization’ will play out in multi-camera rigs – not to mention the 2-inch touch-screen display in the new unit. It’s released in Australia on the 2nd of October, RRP $569.95.
IBC 2016, part 2: Virtual Reality Live Streaming – IBC
Live VR streaming:
Exploring the various VR rigs and cameras currently on the market and under development at IBC (see My IBC 2016, part 1), suggests another emerging trend: the growth in the proliferation of real-time VR streaming. The applications and opportunities across all creative genres and VR markets is huge – both from a preview (working on set or location) point of view, and a streamed (for live broadcast and publishing to online channels) point of view.
On-set, live streaming is incredibly relevant, as Directors and crew (and clients) are forced to ‘tuck-away’ beyond the eyes of the camera unit which capturing everything in the 360-degree space. This makes direction especially difficult and changes the dynamic on-set. Live streaming provides a more intuitive way for a Director and DoP (Director of Photography) to interact with the set or location, saving time in takes and ensuring the shot is ‘in the can’ before moving on…
Operationally, it also allows the DIT (Digital Imaging Technician) to play with various tools such as ‘live stitch and sync,’ as well as add basic LUT’s, and indeed play with camera settings on-the-fly; usually using proprietary software, depending on the unit.
Nokia’s OZO Remote and Creator software allows such control over the camera on-set, and with a near-live stitch allows not only a rough-cut export on-set, but also allows the Director to preview shots in an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive head-set, prior to the next set-up. Media can then be published quickly, either to a cloud-based editorial/logging platform for the cutting room or, if desired, direct to social media channels.
OZO is not alone in that – on the lower end, cameras such as the NakedEYE offer similar functionality.
At IBC, it was good to see a demo of TeraDek’s Sphere – a smart 360-degree monitoring and live streaming box that basically sends a video source to a wireless router via Ethernet, which can then connect to iPad Pros via wifi. A proprietary IOS app allows for live stitching and review on iPads, and he functionality in that app seemed especially good.
The applications for live sports and events are very compelling – reference what NextVR are doing in the US in this space – and, while at early stages of development, the tools on display at IBC suggest that this is a market that will grow as live VR streaming tech becomes more prevalent and embedded in shooting work-flows.
Paul Willey – Head of Post Production