Coldplay 360-Degree Concert Teaser to be Released

One of the big potential applications for the next generation of virtual reality gear is the ability to immerse yourself in a 360-degree video experience. While there is a going crop of 360-degree capture devices, NextVR has one of the most sophisticated rigs. That’s why, when it says it has captured a live concert of Coldplay using its system, I pay attention.

At the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York, NextVR revealed that last summer, they shot the entire concert of Coldplay’s Ghost Stories tour using its 3D 360-degree rig. A clip of the first song from the footage, “A Sky Full of Stars”, will be available via the NextVR app and accessed in conjunction with the recently released Samsung Gear VR headset.

No specific plans were announced for the release of the full single or other footage from the concert other than to say some “would be released in the coming months”. Plans are also afoot to release more content, such as sitting at an NBA game or attending a fashion show in the 360-degree VR format.

According to Phil Harvey, Creative Director of Coldplay: “You’re literally inside the show, front of stage with the band. The quality of this virtual reality experience is far superior to anything else out there. It’s pretty mind-blowing”.

NextVR has 17 patents granted or pending on the way it captures, processes and encodes for delivery to the end user in a VR headset. The entire solution has been rolled up into a proprietary package called NextStream360. This consists of a 180- or 360-degree camera capture rig that uses 3 or 6 FHD cameras to capture an UltraHD image every 180 degrees. These are stereo pairs of images and NextVR is very careful to compose these 3D shots so they are ortho-stereo shots. This means the 3D is captured without any magnification of the image so the objects appear the right size at all distances from the camera – mimicking real life. No zooming is allowed so that it maintains this ortho perspective. That’s a really smart thing to do to enhance the realism of the scene and to avoid creating any 3D artifacts.

NextVR then stitches the images together and applies a proprietary encoding scheme to the content. The full 360-degrees of content can then be streamed to the Note 4 smartphone, which is placed inside the Gear VR frame, using adaptive bit rates. As a result, the user will always get a low resolution image (base layer) and then depending upon their gaze angle, the high resolution image will fill their field of view (enhancement layer). This is done so if they turn their head quickly, they will at least see a low resolution image that will fill in as fast as the connection will allow.

The algorithms also use this sensor data to predict where you will look next to pre-load those pixels so you minimize the possibility of seeing a low resolution image. The company will be able to stream stereo pairs on the 2560 x 1440 resolution Note 4 screen using only 4-8 Mbps.

This set-up allows viewers to feel like they are at the game or concert. They can look up, down, left or right and see everything the cameras captured in either a 180-degree or 360-degree field.

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I wish I had a chance to check it out. – (CC)