Last week we were able to try out one of our more unusual 360 camera rig designs as we filmed the Lakers in 360 video.
We were invited by the LA Lakers and the NBA to test an experimental 360 camera rig – during their game against the Atlanta Hawks.
The 6 camera Blackmagic rig we used is a novel design that features 6 cameras in the horizontal plane, each using a fisheye lens to capture more than 180 degrees top to bottom. The overall concept is to capture sufficient visual information to effectively reproduce stereo (3D), without using traditional left and right pairs, and instead using new computational photography stitching approaches.
The camera also works as a mono rig, with a generous 150% overlap for post production (more than 900 degrees of horizontal coverage), and features multiple levels of redundancy, as only 3 cameras are needed to stitch a full sphere.
We were very grateful to the LA Lakers and the NBA for allowing us such access. Everyone we engaged with, including the players, were extremely welcoming, and many found the concept of VR fascinating.
The opportunities for 360 video and sport are only just beginning, and the NBA has already shown significant technical leadership, having built one of the largest video libraries in the world, and through their regular use of advanced technology such as high speed Phantom cameras, to bring their fans ever closer to the game.