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Virtual Reality Front and Center at 2017 NAB Show in Las Vegas

Virtual Reality Front and Center at 2017 NAB Show in Las Vegas

The National Association of Broadcasters Show was held from April 22 to 27 in beautiful Las Vegas Nevada. 360VR Community was there to see just how much importance had been given to our VR Industry, and suffice to say, we were blown away. Not only did VR get its own section in prime positioning in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center (read: right at the entrance!), but VR imagery even made it onto the very first banner every single attendee (and LV Tram passenger) saw as they made their way to the NAB Show. We were all smiles, and hadn’t even stepped in yet!

There was a plethora of Manufacturers showing off their new VR Cameras, as well as all sorts of VR-related accessories ranging from stabilizers & gimbals to software & storage solutions. Our very own host, RV, had the pleasure of interviewing some of the figure heads of the show. These video interviews will be up on the RVinVR YouTube Channel soon, so make sure to Subscribe!

The first thing that caught our eyes was the Z-Cam booth, and the Mobius POV 360 rig, a collaboration with LA-Based Radiant Images. This rig was apparently used to create the Suicide Squad VR Experience. There may or may not have been a selfie involved…

 

 

 

 

There it was, one of the more popular 360° Cameras thanks to its successful Kickstarter campaign – the Z Cam S1, highly touted for its ability to livestream seamlessly. Ryan Moore of Hollywood-based Experience 360 used the S1 to build an all-in-one rig that included a wireless router, batteries, and a ZOOM H2N for audio capture, with a few “proprietary” details I can’t reveal, but trust me when I tell you it’s a cool rig!

 

 

 

 

We always appreciated the Insta360 approach, going straight to mobile via their Nano & Air 360° Cameras. But to tell the truth, we were really only there for one reason: to see & talk about the new Insta 360 Pro, who had gone to live pre-orders on the 1st day of the show. The Specs looked great, so we were anxious to see it in person. I did the demo. Works as advertised, definitely looking forward to its arrival at the office for testing. An interview with Eli MacKinnon of Insta360 about the new camera is coming soon on our YouTube Channel!

Continuing our stroll down the main lane in what we called VR Land, we overheard people speaking in French… There was the ORAH Booth! The Paris-founded company, now based in San Francisco following visionary VC backing, has provided their Orah 4i Camera for Live 360 Broadcasts for Major League Baseball, NBC News, CNET @ CES, and more.

 

 

 

Google had a gorgeous yet unpretentious booth, very Google, which we loved. Its main goal seemed to be to promote the Google Cloud platform, providing workshops & demos. We got to watch the latest JUMP 360° Demo Reel on Google Daydream, and it was great. Except for one little detail that nagged me…

 

Their newest Jump-ready camera system, the Yi Halo pictured below, finally has added a top-facing camera to the Jump platform, an improvement from the GoPro-based rig. However it is not yet ready for Livestream, which was a tad disappointing. But don’t get it twisted, this bad boy can produce some Cinematic beauties thanks to its 6K@60fps & 8K@30fps options, and we can’t wait to get our hands on it so we can put it to the test! Now if only they can figure out, as consumer-level 360° Cameras already have, how to capture the bottom area of the visual sphere, that’d be great. As a Google superfan, those two details left me wanting more.

The Nokia OZO Booth was quite possibly the best-looking booth of all, most definitely tailored for 360° Content Creators. With in-booth Talks, Workshops, Demo reels, etc, there was no lack of reasons to stick around. We were able to capture an interview with Tarif Sayed, VP of Virtual Reality at Nokia, about the impact that the OZO has had on the industry, and more. As you can tell from the picture below, you can look forward to a fun interview.

 

A major Highlight of the event for me was meeting Josh Dixon, Head of Samsung 3D 360 Camera – Lead Emerging Products at Samsung, and talking about their new Professional-level Stereoscopic 3D 360 Camera.

“ Samsung’s 3D 360 Camera is a real differentiator for broadcasters, producers and film makers”, said Dixon, The product offers real-time 3D Live Streaming, IP65 compliance, all packed into a small-form factor.” 

Samsung is touting it as the world’s first true real-time omniview 3D camera. Its ability to livestream with a 1.7 second delay is quite impressive. With an IP65 rating, it actually has a higher rating than their consumer level Gear360 camera, allowing you to truly challenge the elements while producing your stereoscopic content. We loved the fact that it allows you to import the content into your own stitching software as well, so that you can stitch in the bottom area of your content, something some camera systems are still neglecting. As much as we tried, we were not able to squeeze a launch date & pricing for the unit, as they are still going through user trials. However we understood immediately that the unit, in a hardware standpoint, is ready. What the user trials are helping to determine and fine tune, is indeed the software portion of the equation. Suffice to say, we are extremely anxious to acquire this potentially game-changing Stereoscopic 360° camera! Watch the full interview with Josh Dixon of Samsung below, on our YouTube Channel!

 

Having all these amazing cameras to capture your 360° content is cool and all, but producing all this content is truly made possible thanks to accessories you will use in pre-production, and software you will use in post-production. Here is a quick rundown of some of our favorite pre & post production tools.

In early 2015, when we were putting together our first “high-end” 360° camera rig, we decided to go with a 10x GoPro arrangement, using 10 GoPro Hero 4 cameras. We needed a solution to hold all of these cameras together, and quickly got in contact with a company that was then known as 360Heros. The original mount we got was made of 3D-printed material and an aluminum core, but now operating under the name 360RIZE, the updated version of it is made of high-strength poly-carbonate & an anodized aluminum core. It’s always great bumping into people like this, who were there when you got started, and watching them grow as a business.

Robots and Stabilizers and Gimbals, oh my! It seemed like everywhere we looked, there was a booth trying to tell us they had the best gear to help us create our 360° Experiences better. We were looking for two types of solutions: one for Major Productions from Hollywood to Advertising, and one for POV Style VR for smaller consumer-type camera like the Samsung Gear 360. In the latter case, we found Chinese manufacturer FeiYuTech had the right approach with their G360. We then walked by the Motion Impossible booth, which immediately caught our attention with the Mantis 360°. I just HAD TO include their artwork below, which I found was a great way to represent the evolution of not only their product, but maybe even our industry as a whole. 

As we made our way from one big booth to another, trying to position our camera tripods to capture an interview, we inadvertently ended up meeting a very nice gentleman who happened to be doing demos of some of the more interesting software we discovered at NAB: SynthEyes by Anderson Technologies. And then while one of my colleagues spoke to him, I decided to Google the company, only to find that JJ Abrams uses the software… I will not mince my words: this software can save your production. Period. If you are serious about creating high-end 360° experiences, you should seriously take the time to read up about it and download the trial version. You’ll quickly be convinced, as we were, to then pay for the full treatment.

Inspired by that encounter, we made our way onto another inspiring space – the Mettle Booth. We have been using Mettle from their very first Plugin, and were delighted to find out that Chris Bobotis, Co-Founder of the company, remembered receiving our order and processing the PayPal transaction (lol) himself! Mettle had one of the more entertaining special guests of the show in Mix Master Mike, whom they partnered with to create the multiple Award-Winning 360° Experience entitled Magma Chamber VR. The booth also offered some Masterclasses & Presentations, such as the one pictured below, to explain the importance of the End User Experience when crafting your VR Creations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That all sounds great, but…. oh wait… SOUND! We’ve been hammering this since our very first 360 Experience: Sound is quite often the most overlooked component of any Virtual Experience, and yet it has the potential of being just as important, if not more, than any other element. While there are a few solutions out there, we were quite pleased with what G’Audio Lab has to offer to help VR Creators replicate the Ambiophonic Soundscape in the VR Experiences. Also, we can’t lie, we are huge fans of the Eero Aarnio-designed Ball Chair for enjoying VR Experiences, pictured.

 

The NAB Show was also a great way for us to meet with major virtual experience producers, such as Digital Domain, the production company behind the Olympics, NBA, and NHL Live VR Streaming experiences, and sooooo much more. We were quite excited to realize that our vision of the future of VR was absolutely in-line with a major corporation backed by none other than James Cameron. I had the pleasure of talking to Bob Dever, VP of Marketing, a great interview coming soon on our YouTube channel.

Last but most definitely not the least, it’s important for us to note that the NAB Show is much more than just a manufacturer product showcase. The Conferences, Panels, and Master Classes offered as part of the show were inspiring and informative. We appreciated the insight brought by all the speakers, and were quite impressed to see that there was a talk about how Artificial Intelligence is going to impact both VR & AR. For example, New York-based Edwin Rogers, the man behind NBC’s livestream of the DC Women’s March, had some great input about the demands of Livestreaming in 360°, yet another fun interview for you to look forward to on our YouTube Channel.

I encourage you to take a look at all of the NAB’s Annual Events, such as the upcoming NAB Shanghai & NAB New York events by visiting: http://www.nabshow.com/nab-annual-events.