Italy’s Movie & Arts exploring the sports potential of virtual reality
Sports is among the many areas that hold tremendous promise for virtual reality technology. Milan, Italy-based company Movie & Arts has undertaken a number of significant projects in this area, including the recent creation of a 4-minute film using Samsung Gear VR 360 cameras.
Movie & Arts is a company with its roots in post services, primarily for advertising, but that is now exploring a wealth of communication opportunities for its clients. These involve design, implementation, post-production, corporate content, educational and event materials, and realisation. M&A has long been associated with UNAPOST, the National Union of Post Production Companies, because this allows them to operate at the highest level with their professional profile.
Gianfilippo Napolitano, owner of Movie & Arts, remarks of the aforementioned VR 360 project: “This is a very interesting VR project, created in cooperation with Samsung Italy and involving a very comprehensive test with VR 360. We engaged Fabio Spiranelli, newly entered in GP3 Championship as the youngest rider, [and who is clearly intimately connected to the world of motorcycle racing].
“The fact is that there is no typical story of the pilot on the circuit and the race, or the relations with the other riders and the federation, [so what we have here is a] meticulous description of the preparation from the point of view of the chief mechanic. The experience is then related to the whole team, towards the bike and the new approach of the pilot in his [role as a newcomer] in the world of the GP3 races. It is the life of 16-year-old guy, living in this new environment, meeting the team, [and] starting to build something together.”
Napolitano continues: “All images were shot by two Samsung Gear 360 VR cameras, one placed on the pilot’s head and the other on the head of the mechanic, while the timespan covers the entire weekend of trials. This camera is capable of recording video and taking pictures in 360-degrees, with two 15-megapixel CMOS sensors and two fish-eye lenses.”
For 3D vision a compatible browser is needed, while the visuals are relayed courtesy of the VR device. The camera provides onboard a WiFi module a/b/g/n/ac Dual Band, used for shooting on drones, along with microSD cards up to 128GB. In addition to the 4-minute film, a ‘making of’ documentary was also captured in HD for broadcast and corporate applications.
Napolitano emphasises: “Something that adds a further interesting value in the virtual reality market is the possibility of multi-angle shots. In fact, with this technique of fruition, the user can decide whether to follow the story with the eye of the pilot or the mechanic, and exchange points of view whenever he wants. So the initial plan of a double VR 360 vision [was ultimately] merged into a single film to make it easier.”
Special software made it possible to undertake the necessary conversions, maintaining the 360 format, and then the assembly was done in the traditional way (offline-online, ‘compacted’) on Adobe Premiere, which then returns the final format to the standard required. A special plug-in in the Adobe suite and on After Effects made it possible to create all the necessary captions, and achieve retouching and correction for compositing. Images are then automatically reassembled in 360 and from here the export to MPEG 4 in 4K resolution, 3840 × 1920 pixels at 30 fps was achieved.
Gianfilippo concludes: “These images must be shot quickly [in a] reporter style, in many different locations. This necessitated the use of very lightweight shooting devices, [which are] practical and non-intrusive. All content producers are seeking fresh means to explore new avenues for revenue and this [project shows that] VR 360 is one of the ways forward – [especially when you bear in mind] the growth of streaming that can support this format.”
For the Video 360 with Fabio Spiranelli GP3, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzpbwykkJrU.