I may be showing my age, but when I first started off as a tech journalist back in the early 1990s, TVs were virtually square, weighed a ton, and most people were listening to grunge music coming out of Seattle.
Nearly 30 years later, everyone has a super light flat widescreen TV and early adopters (admittedly mostly gamers at the moment) are getting into virtual reality headsets for an even more immersive experience. Thankfully the music has changed a fair bit too!
For the last few weeks I’ve been working with Kodak, testing out its little VR camera, the Kodak PixPro 4K VR360 and looking for different types of content to shoot in 360 to do it justice.
Obviously the first things that spring to mind are action videos which is why we went to Go Ape to film as well as a skateboard park in Tottenham.
Both were great in showing off the immersive experience of 360 filming, although shooting with a camera strapped to your head or holding it as you negotiate a zip wire (especially if you a broken hand like my son did at the time) are never easy. Thankfully we didn’t break the camera though!
Live music in VR
However, what interests me are alternative uses for VR and 360 outside of the obvious genres. For example, YouTube now has its own virtual reality channel where you can check out thousands of the latest 360 videos in different categories.
These include a live MTV version of Ed Sheeran singing Shape of You at the 2017 VMAs and, for those of a certain age, Duran Duran’s performing Hungry Like The Wolf filmed to commemorate this year’s Duran Duran Appreciation Day (#DDAD17) – who knew?
In both you can choose to see a close up of the performers on stage or pan round and check out the audiences just as you would do if you were there in real life (there is of course a considerable difference in age between the two audiences!)
For our 360 video, filmed with the Kodak PixPro, we chose to hire the talents of our very own wolf: Frankie Rowley-Walker, a.k.a Wolfie.
In the video below he shows off his beatboxing skills in full VR 360 (you can check out his own music channel here //soundcloud.com/user-27733578.)
And while the audience is a little smaller than for Ed Sheeran and Duran Duran (just two cameramen and a stray dog), the experience is nevertheless very immersive.
Sometimes I miss the early 1990s. But I must admit when it comes to the size of the TVs and the music, I much prefer 2017!
You can see Frankie performing in our YouTube video below:
And if you want the full 360 experience with footage taken entirely from the Kodak PixPro VR360 then go here:
You can see all of the videos shot with the Kodak PixPro camera here.