Quest: Oculus Demonstrates its $399 Standalone VR Headset

Oculus’ prototype wireless VR headset, codenamed Santa Cruz, is now a product. The new Quest headset is slated to debut this coming spring for $399. At its annual developer conference, the Facebook-owned company showed off the Quest headset, which joins the $199 Oculus Go and $400 Oculus Rift (that requires a dedicated PC). The standalone Quest offers 6DOF (six degrees of freedom). In his keynote address at the event, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg reiterated his goal to have one billion people using VR. Continue reading Quest: Oculus Demonstrates its $399 Standalone VR Headset

NBA Embraces Virtual Reality, Drones and New Technologies

The NBA used last month’s All-Star game in New Orleans to showcase technology initiatives designed to create new fan experiences. Orlando Magic player Aaron Gordon, the NBA Slam Dunk Contest defending champion, received a pass from an Intel-powered drone to set up his tech-assisted dunk. NextVR, the company with exclusive VR live-streaming rights for NBA games, experimented with new camera angles. The NBA also hosted its 18th annual Technology Summit before All-Star Weekend, which included companies such as Instagram, Snap, Twitter and YouTube. Continue reading NBA Embraces Virtual Reality, Drones and New Technologies

The NBA Plans to Experiment with VR Streaming This Season

The NBA announced it plans to stream at least one game each week this season in virtual reality. Available only to NBA League Pass subscribers, the VR streaming will debut October 27 when the Sacramento Kings take on the San Antonio Spurs. “Initially, they will only be accessible by people who own a Samsung smartphone and a Samsung Gear VR headset,” reports The Wall Street Journal, “but the plan is to make the games viewable on other types of VR devices later in the season.” The league, which “plans to have a distinct production crew and even announcing team for the VR broadcasts,” partnered with NextVR to develop an app for accessing the games in virtual reality. Continue reading The NBA Plans to Experiment with VR Streaming This Season

Samsung, NBC and OBS Test VR Broadcasts of Rio Olympics

Samsung has partnered with NBCUniversal and the Olympic Broadcasting Services for 80 hours of virtual reality broadcasts of the Rio Games, including the opening and closing ceremonies, diving, basketball, track and field, and gymnastics. The scope of VR content will be limited: 80 hours is a smidgen of a total 6,700 hours of programming and the VR will air the day after each event. Samsung, a major Olympics sponsor since 1998, will apply lessons learned in Rio to the 2018 Winter Olympics in its home turf of Korea. Continue reading Samsung, NBC and OBS Test VR Broadcasts of Rio Olympics

Halsey Minor Seeks to Disrupt VR Production with Live Planet

Numerous companies are introducing virtual reality cameras, filling a void that existed a year ago when VR productions were limited to the low-resolution Ricoh camera or custom rigs with multiple GoPro cameras. Among those manufacturers now offering 360-degree cameras are Samsung and LG aiming at the consumer marketplace, and Nokia, Jaunt and Lytro positioned towards the professional market. Kickstarter campaigns are also underway for additional cameras. The latest venture comes from CNET founder Halsey Minor, who is building an end-to-end immersive video system. Continue reading Halsey Minor Seeks to Disrupt VR Production with Live Planet

VR Companies Learn the Ropes in Broadcasting Live Sports

Sports coverage in virtual reality is gaining momentum. Jaunt VR, NextVR and IM360 have all shown virtual reality applications for professional baseball, basketball, football, soccer and Daytona 500 auto racing. But sports coverage in VR creates new and unique challenges for producers. For example, VR cameras can’t zoom — a common practice in typical sports coverage — meaning the camera has to be as close to the players as possible, easy for boxing but a tougher proposition for, say, football. Continue reading VR Companies Learn the Ropes in Broadcasting Live Sports

Live Nation and Hulu Pursue Original Programs, VR Content

Live Nation Entertainment, the world’s largest concert promoter, entertains 70 million people who attend its live musical events annually, selling many of the tickets via Ticketmaster, which it owns. Now, the company is leveraging its access to headlining musicians to create videos and virtual reality content featuring them. It hired MTV vet Heather Parry to build the TV/film production studio and announced co-production plans with Hulu, Vice Media, and VR company NextVR. The end goal is to generate more advertising revenue. Continue reading Live Nation and Hulu Pursue Original Programs, VR Content

ETC’s Virtual Reality Summit on Live Streaming Production

During ETC’s Virtual Reality Summit at NAB in Las Vegas this week, panelists, moderated by Fox Networks Group executive vice president of technology solutions Chris Blandy, considered the challenges in their experiences in producing live streaming VR. Fox Sports Media Group senior vice president of field and technical operations Michael Davies reports that, there are “some things you might think are captivating that aren’t.” “Some things surprise you,” he suggested. For example, “Boxing was great — we got a great camera position.” Continue reading ETC’s Virtual Reality Summit on Live Streaming Production

NAB and ETC to Present Virtual Reality Summit in Las Vegas

NAB and the Entertainment Technology Center at USC are coproducing a Virtual Reality Summit at the annual NAB Show on Wednesday, April 20, from 1:00-5:00 pm at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The half-day summit will address key concepts and lessons learned regarding VR production. Hands-on practitioners will discuss the technical and business aspects of producing content in this emerging marketplace, which some consider to be a new media type and art form. You can register for the Virtual Reality Summit and learn more about the NAB conference at the event’s website. Continue reading NAB and ETC to Present Virtual Reality Summit in Las Vegas

Sky Opens VR Studio to Produce Virtual Reality Video Content

European pay-TV company Sky launched Sky VR Studio to create immersive video content for VR platforms. The first content will involve sports and, later, entertainment and news. Majority-owned by 21st Century Fox, Sky, which was an early investor in VR startup Jaunt, has 21 million subscribers. Sky’s VR content will first be ported to third party platforms such as Facebook 360, Oculus and YouTube 360, for users with Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. Its ultimate goal is to develop its own VR app and host and stream VR content. Continue reading Sky Opens VR Studio to Produce Virtual Reality Video Content

HPA Tech Retreat: VR Experts Talk Cameras, Workflow, Markets

Virtual reality was the focus of a panel I moderated at the HPA Tech Retreat, which included Phil Lelyveld, who runs the VR/AR initiative at ETC; Stuart English, head of worldwide sales for presence capture at Nokia Technologies; and Steve Schklair, producer, cinematographer and chief executive of 3ality/Technica. Lelyveld described the emerging virtual reality space, first noting the increasing number of VR cameras, from the consumer level (GoPro, Ricoh Theta, Kodak PixPro) to the high end (Nokia, NextVR, Headcase). Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: VR Experts Talk Cameras, Workflow, Markets

Sports Business Forum: Panelists Talk eSports, VR, Sensors

The NBA manned point on Thursday at the CES Sports Business Forum with assists from NextVR and Intel. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and NBA great Shaquille O’Neal were on hand to share their perspectives on tech investing in sports and more. Sessions featured NextVR’s Brad Allen, Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, and others. Sensors, sports betting, and the future of VR broadcasting were among the most popular topics. The event was hosted by Turner Sports and served as a lead-in to their eSports Showcase. Continue reading Sports Business Forum: Panelists Talk eSports, VR, Sensors

CES 2016: Virtual Reality Headgear, Platforms, Ecosystems

Virtual reality began to dominate headlines last year at CES, and that drumbeat will only grow louder this year. Falling at the beginning of the proclaimed release window for two of the flag bearers of the VR renaissance, Oculus and Sony, and accompanied by a bumper crop of hardware and software suppliers, VR is ready to emerge from the shadows of the early adopters and meet the general consumer. We expect to see innovative products in January from companies such as Google, GoPro, HTC, NextVR, Sixense, Yezz and others. Beyond gaming and 360-degree video, we’ll be watching for new approaches to live streaming sports and music events. Continue reading CES 2016: Virtual Reality Headgear, Platforms, Ecosystems

Allie Cameras Can Live Stream 720-Degree Virtual Reality Video

IC Real Tech is showcasing a consumer-friendly and affordable VR camera solution at CES this week. Using new video stitching technology, the Allie camera line (pronounced “All-ee,” like a “selfie” in all directions) can create a 720-degree view by combining two 360-degree camera feeds into an “all-D” image. Users have the ability to control perspectives in recorded videos and can stream live footage. IC Real Tech debuted its Allie Play, Home and Pro video cameras at CES, which will range from under $500 to $3,000. Continue reading Allie Cameras Can Live Stream 720-Degree Virtual Reality Video

IBC 2014: NextVR Unveils 360-Degree 3D VR Camera System

NextVR, a virtual reality technology and content company, introduced a 360-degree 3D virtual reality rig outfitted with six RED Epic Dragon cameras at IBC in Amsterdam last week. The “NextVR Virtual Reality Digital Cinema Camera System” supports the recording and live streaming of immersive, ultra high definition, stereoscopic content at 60fps and includes spatial audio capture. NextVR also unveiled VR content acquired with the equipment, displaying it on the new Samsung Gear VR headset. Continue reading IBC 2014: NextVR Unveils 360-Degree 3D VR Camera System