NBA, Facebook Teams Up For VR Sports Film
NBA fans know that this year’s Finals was spectacular, thanks to Cleveland Cavaliers’ slam-dunk victory. Yet there’s more to the event, all made possible by the forged team-up of NBA and Oculus with a VR documentary that marks a notable history spot for the sports media. Facebook-owned Oculus VR and NBA has released a VR film that puts you right in the action of the NBA 2016 Finals. It’s a way to relive the unforgettable moments of the game right in virtual reality.
The VR documentary, titled Follow My Lead: The Story of the 2016 NBA Finals, brings your senses to the very experience of watching the games that transpired in Oakland and Cleveland. Narrated by actor Michael B. Jordan, the 25-minute-long VR film shows that VR is a futuristic media platform – this is evident in the editing and strategic camera placements that replicate the same watching experience as if you were there, far from the likes of just peeking into 360-degree video. It’s a completely different experience from conventional mainstream VR, and it’s a proof that VR is a doable platform for showcasing various media events.
Follow My Lead was directed by Ray Tintori and Gabe Spitzer for m ss ng p eces, a New York-based creative studio that used to work for Google for its Tilt Brush VR promo video. The creation of this film was made possible by using three cameras: namely the Facebook Surround 360, the Samsung Gear 360, and Nokia’s Ozo VR. All three cameras have specific functions to capture tight angles as well as the ups and downs of the scene, stitched together forming an immersive viewing canvas.
This storytelling VR piece is quite different and unique amongst other VR films made in the past, in the sense that it never banked on using panoramic video to bring a sense of immersion – instead, it used a dynamic approach to recreate the live watching experience and bring it to virtual reality. There were scenes in the VR film that make you blend right into the crowd, bringing you a complete understanding that Follow My Lead is trying so hard to bring you right at the center of the action. In addition, the VR documentary also makes use of spatial audio, which brings you a sense of where sounds really come from and how intense they get as you get closer to it.
Ari Kuschnir, founder of m ss ng p eces, told Mashable that this is one of the longest VR documentaries he’s seen. He added that while there was a concern for people potentially being bored by lengthy VR pieces, they made it possible for viewers to keep track of every scene thanks to strategic positioning of certain shots.
While VR is still on track to bring the most true-to-life event experiences for everyone with live-streaming tickets, Follow My Lead is the closest thing to watching sports events like the NBA like you’re really there. NBA-Oculus’ VR documentary will be made available as a free-to-watch experience starting Wednesday on the Samsung Gear VR, as well as a 360-degree video on Facebook on the same day.