Halsey Minor, CEO and founder of Reality Lab Networks, would like to transform VR the way he pioneered the net and web publishing with CNET and Vignette: hassle-free, immersive content that pushes artistic boundaries.
That is why Minor was in LA and San Francisco this week touting Live Planet, the first end-to-end immersive broadcast-quality, VR creation, management and distribution platform that he’s currently building.
Live Planet solves a range of VR production problems with flawless HDR, low-light capture, streamlined workflow and clever computing. There are three components: the new 16-lens Live Planet camera, which offers 360-degree, livestreaming VR (now available for pre-sale for $4,995); a cloud-based suite for managing, transcoding and optimizing delivery to all VR and 360 video platforms; and client software for all platforms that work with the Live Planet cloud to deliver optimized video content.
“This is the first professional livestreaming camera that captures stereoscopic 4K video for each eye, stitched 25 frames per second,” Minor said. Thus, it requires no external stitching box or post-production to render real-time video for Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Connect, Facebook Live, Google Cardboard and YouTube Live Streaming.
“Our goal is to get it ready 15 minutes out of the box,” added Minor. “Plug in, go to Live Planet, tell us where you want to stream 360 and that should happen.”
According to Minor, content producers can set up the camera, create a Live Planet account, decide what VR platforms to stream content to and begin livestreaming. Additional info about the Live Planet cloud (including use-based pricing) will be available when it goes live in the fall.
“We want everybody to be able to produce perfect VR, 360 video,” Minor said. He cited CNN, concerts and music videos as perfect Live Planet adopters. “I want to game-ify VR with added graphics for the VR experience. You should [also] be able to take 50 cameras to a political convention and go everywhere.”
For fast functionality, Minor’s looking to integrate the cross-platform Unity game engine. “You can use a game engine for motion graphics, graphics, 3D, data…. If you’re at an Imagine Dragon’s concert, and you’re VR, you should be able to go backstage, jump around the stage and then dragons should come out of the stage. There’s a whole world of creativity that lives above the video.”
In fact, Minor envisions this becoming a new value-added medium. with tools and solutions that would have to be developed.
“Take, for instance, Calvin Harris. He has a group of people that sing with him that don’t travel with him, like Rihanna. And he hits a button and Rihanna sings. But there’s no reason why you couldn’t drop Rihanna onto the stage for the VR people. What I’m trying to figure out is how to get people there as fast as possible,” Minor enthused.
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