This Week in VR Sport: DJI Racing Headset, New York Jets & NASCAR Debuts 360 Content
More sporting goodness from around the world.
It’s been a busy week for virtual reality (VR) news, mainly revolving around all the Black Friday deals going on, with Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR all seeing new headset offers as well as plenty of content on discount. The annual sales extravaganza isn’t exactly over with most offers running through to Monday. If you’re already bored with Black Friday and want a change of pace VRFocus’ regular Saturday roundup of all things sport related should help to provide some informational respite.
DJI Introduces Racing Edition Goggles for Professional Drone Pilots
Drone manufacturer DJI is well known for its mixture of products, from the consumer Sparc and Phantom models, all the way up to the more industrial Matrice 600 Pro. This week the company has revealed a new virtual reality (VR) headset, the DJI Goggles RE (Racing Edition), offering all the functionality and dual 1080p HD screens from the original DJI Goggles but with an upgraded FPV experience.
The new headset offers a completely new look, with a redesigned metallic matte black visor and headband, along with red leather padding for better comfort. DJI has developed an external OcuSync Air Unit and camera module which can be installed or mounted on any drone or aircraft, allowing operators to pilot their drone up to 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) away with a 50 ms latency.
Features include a head tracking gimbal mode, so users can control the gimbal camera just by turning their head, while the OcuSync camera module has a 148° field of view (FOV). If you have two pairs of DJI Goggles RE then a spectator can join in for a pilots eye view.
“Innovation is at the heart of everything DJI develops, with each new product building on the previous model to offer users an unparalleled experience. The DJI Goggles RE are no exception and deliver video footage with ultimate speed, stability and clarity,” said Paul Pan, Senior Product manager in a statement. “And it’s not just racers and enthusiasts who benefit from the new DJI Goggles RE. Whether you fly a DIY drone, a fixed-wing aircraft, or a remote-controlled vehicle, the external camera and transmission module can be mounted and synced with the new DJI Goggles RE to provide you with an immersive experience and put you in the pilot’s seat.”
The DJI Goggles RE retail for £549 GBP/ $549 USD via the company’s website.
New York Jets Fans Will be Getting More Immersive 360 Content
Back in August VRFocus reported on the New York Jets partnering with content creators Xperiel to offer augmented reality (AR) experiences as part of the team’s existing mobile app. As it turns out the NFL team are keen on creating more immersive content, with the Jets 360 Productions media arm hiring experienced media professionals to build a library of 360-degree videos for fans.
The team is looking to produce multi-year storylines across its digital properties, reports SportTechie, with Chris Gargano, Vice President and Executive Producer of the Jets, saying they’re focused on unique content that includes its cheerleaders, players an the fans as well.
“Coming into the season, we wanted to tell very well-thought-out stories,” Gargano said. “We want to tell great stories with great production value so the fan base can engage with these players.”
“We try to have a 360 component on every story. It’s not just supplemental, it’s actually now a part of the experience,” he continues. “You have to pay attention to the industry, and the trends, and the way content is moving. How are sports fans consuming content and how could we best deliver it to them? It’s not necessarily what we want to do it’s what the fans want.”
NASCAR Cup Series Championship Debuts VR Experience for Fans
NASCAR has dabbled with virtual reality (VR) content in the past, but last weekend saw the racing championship take it up a notch. Through a collaboration with broadcaster Ultracast, fans were able to see live, 360-degree views of pre-race events for Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Ultracast setup a 360-degree camera to livestream the driver’s meeting through the NASCAR smartphone app and on NASCAR.com
“The technology around it is still evolving,” Tim Clark, managing director of NASCAR Digital Media, told Frontstretch. “It is literally a sphere-mounted camera that’s got multiple camera lenses in it so it is filming 360 degrees at all times. The user who is watching the video can control the angle they want to watch at.
“It’s a space we’ve been evaluating for a while. Daytona is something we’ve talked about, but we wanted to move a little bit quicker. We thought the championship weekend in Miami made a lot of sense since there is a lot of excitement around the weekend.”
If NASCAR is pleased with Ultracast’s results and feedback from the broadcasts then it may look at expanding content coverage to future races.