Is virtual reality the Next Big Thing in consumer tech?
Well, while there are a few other candidates for that position – HDR television, live 4K broadcasts to name a couple – the problem we have with that statement is that, technically speaking, VR is already here. Look! It’s even made its way into that most mainstream form of entertainment: the music video.
GoPro Spherical rig
Wait – there are VR music promos?
Yep. First it was Bjork with her 360-degree video for “Stonemilker”, released in June, and now British indie darlings Foals have dropped the new clip for “Mountain At My Gate”, which has been filmed using GoPro Spherical technology.
GoPro Spherical is a special rig consisting of six Hero4 cameras. The cameras are set up so that they capture everything surrounding the rig, and the footage can then be merged together into one 360-degree video with Kolor technology.
Kolor is a French software company that was acquired by GoPro back in April. It specialises in making software that knits together several videos into spherical virtual reality clips. It has already released an app, Kolor Eyes (available on Mac, Windows, iOS and Android), that allows you to view 360-degree videos on your phone or tablet.
So I need to use the app to take advantage of the VR in Foals’ video?
Nope, you can just watch it on YouTube. If you’re using Chrome to do so, you can move the camera around with your keyboard’s W, A, S and D keys or your mouse. The video is seamless and smooth, with no sign of where GoPro has merged two different sets of footage together.
What’s the future for VR music videos?
Well, as more and more of us end up with VR headsets at home and capture technology improves, you can definitely expect more bands to follow Bjork and Foals’ lead. But it won’t end with promos – there’s a huge amount that VR can do when it comes to live music too. One day soon you’ll be able to watch an entire music festival in 3D virtual reality, alone, from the comfort of your second bedroom, without needing to worry about weather, tents, portaloos or MDMA-addled members of the public.