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Virtual reality changing the action sports film industry

Oct 6, 2016

Credit Jeremy Swanson/Aspen Skiing Company

The Meeting happens in early October each year in Aspen. The three-day event started yesterday, and concludes tomorrow. One Friday event discusses how virtual reality is changing the action sports film industry.

Jay Spangler, from Two Bit Circus VR, a Los Angeles Production company, is leading that seminar. He said virtual reality is an incredibly immersive medium.

“I mean, once you put the headset on, you’re fully dropped into whatever visual world that that experience has to offer,” Spangler said.

 

Initially, the first virtual reality camera rig he made was comprised of nine GoPro cameras attached to a helmet. Bo Bridges, a colleague of Spangler’s, said it’s amazing to see how fast the technology has changed.

 

A video produced by Bo Bridges, showing the potential of VR while surfing.
Credit Screenshot, YouTube.

“...We are now at two small cameras,” Bridges said. “In one year, we’ve gone from nine to two (cameras), and maybe five, to one and a half pounds.”

 

The hardest part, Bridges said, is figuring out how to film this on your own.

 

“There’s no book,” he said. “There’s no guidebook. We’re doing this. We are on the forefront of all the movements here.”

 

Bridges said he imagined a film where viewers wouldn’t be watching just one athlete — but multiple athletes.

 

Adding new elements to video that provide a more immersive experience — an experience that Spangler said made him think hard about how to even implement the technology.

 

“It’s like dropping into film school all over again,” he said. “Being a commercial film producer for 15 years, I knew how to shoot pretty much everything, but when it came to virtual reality, it was just all new.”


Bridges and Spangler are running a “VR Bar” on Friday. Attendees can sample some of the virtual reality footage they’ve been shooting since adopting this new technology.