BBC VR and 360° video experiments: Be the Queen!

The wonderful thing about experimenting with new technology at the BBC must be not so much the shiny new toys but the access you have to try them out. Hence for an experiment in 360° video they haven’t shot a pretty sunset or even a train station – they’ve recorded a run through of Trooping the Colour from the point of view of the Queen. The wonders of technology eh?

Personally what I find most interesting about a major broadcaster’s treatment of the tech is that it’s integrated into the look and feel of a regular programme. So as you would with a regular 2D video you have narration from Huw Edwards, with graphics overlayed to explain and clarify what’s going on.

The piece also highlights the issue of how and where to cut in VR – here the BBC have decided to simply fade to black after each sequence to try and make sure viewers aren’t disorientated by changes in scene. It will be interesting to see as the technology develops – and as viewers get more used to it – whether the familiar grammar and construction of 2D filmmaking will translate across or if we’re going to be watching a lot of videos made from static camera positions.

The piece is available to watch on BBC Taster, a website for experimental video that also includes samples of Strictly Come Dancing and (swoon) David Attenborough in 360°.

I think it would be fair to say the BBC aren’t betting the farm on VR – these blog posts by R&D Controller Andy Conroy and BBC Taster’s Will Saunders are circumspect about the new technology – but it’s good to see Auntie experimenting with what’s possible.

The videos on BBC Taster will expire after three months, so take a look (using your phone or Chrome/Firefox – no Safari support for now) and let us know what you think in the comments below…

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