Laduma’s VP of Strategy Alex Kunawicz gives his rundown on what he believes to be the best five ways to experience the World Cup in VR.
As my colleague Ben Smith mentions in his piece yesterday this World Cup is both a yard stick for how far virtual reality content has come, and also how far it has to go. With this in mind, and if you’re curious to find out more, here are five ways to enjoy the tournament in VR.
The Spanish-language broadcaster has made a huge commitment to VR at this tournament. All 64 games will be shown in a “virtual VIP suite”, with the viewer able to choose from three camera angles. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the CGI hospitality box, no matter how plush its pixels and think that Next VR’s coverage of football in VR, which not perfect, is closer to how I want to experience it. For me, the Telemundo app’s strongest offering is the complimentary VR content. The highlights, opening and closing ceremonies and video from training and pre-conferences.
The British broadcaster has also gone for a virtual suite in their World Cup VR app. The 33 games they are showing live are also available in VR. Again, it’s at three camera set-up (one behind each goal and one on the halfway line). The Beeb say: “Audiences can access a range of live match stats that pop-up from the virtual coffee table”. But for me, again, the value comes in watching highlights after the game. We’ll see every goal multiple times, from multiple angles, at this tournament. The VR element offers fans a different perspective, and level of immersion. This is where its value currently lies.
3. SBS & Optus
Fans in Australia will have an offering very similar to the ones discussed above. “Users can watch matches with 180-degree and 210-degree super wide-angle views. A 360-degree video will be available on-demand once matches conclude,” say the companies. Again, I expect the highlights take up to outstrip the live viewing unless something remarkable or untoward happens in the stadium.
4. Host Broadcast Services
So where are all these VR cameras coming from? HBS – who provide all the production facilities for the World Cup. They will have 50 VR cameras at the tournament – at every game, as well as collecting content from training and away from stadiums. This content to me would well be the most interesting. It will be interesting to see what FIFA decides to do with this footage from a legacy and archive point of view. A first official World Cup VR film, to compliment the main one, would be a huge step forward and definitely worth a watch.
5. Fan-created content
From the Samsung Gear 360 to the Insta 360 and Ricoh Theta, these small personal devices are light, portable and shoot in as higher quality as 4K. For me, the amount of content coming out of Russia filmed by fans with these devices like these will be fascinating. The ability to feel like you’re in a fan zone, or amongst thousands of crazy Brazilians or English fans in the stadium will be amazing. The content will be authentic and immersive. But will fans favour this over one or two killer photos from their phone to put on Instagram? As Ben says at the start, this World Cup is very much a yard stick for this type of content. Not only for how it’s consumed, but for how many people want to create it themselves.
For more information about how VR can be used in sport, get in touch.