I heard a statement from a sports fan a few weeks ago that I never thought I would hear in my lifetime. “Why pay thousands of dollars for an NBA ticket when I can watch the game in virtual reality?”
What? I never thought that this aspect of technology would grow into what it is now, and what I’m sure it will turn into something even greater as our society progresses.
My whole life revolves around sports and sports journalism. To me, the opportunities are endless when it comes to the different experiences people can create involving shooting sporting events in VR.
I went into YouTube and typed in, “Sports VR Videos” and low and behold, last March the NBA filmed and produced a nearly 5-minute highlight reel from the NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles (and all of the behind-the-scenes festivities that came with it. The video provided us with special access that we would more than likely never get, (unless you’re on the NBA beat for a major news outlet). This provides die-hard NBA fans an exclusive look at a big weekend for the league without breaking their wallet, which I’m always a fan of.
The video incorporates interviews with players that are participating in the NBA All-Star game, such as: Klay Thompson, Shaquille O’Neal, Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell and so many more.
This video did have a beginning, middle and an end. It started out with an establishing shot outside of the Staples Center in LA where all of the festivities were held. We had footage of the participating players arriving to the arena.
Something that I thought was really cool was we saw footage of Shaq walking into the arena and he introduces the event, he then says, “Put your goggles on now,” and then he puts his sunglasses on. Very creative!
We then transition to footage of the players participating in team photoshoots before the three-point contest and we hear from Klay Thompson about he’s feeling before the contest because this is his first time participating in it.
One critique I had for this particular section in the story was that I couldn’t see very well when Klay Thompson was shooting his three’s. I’m not sure if that was something the photographer could have controlled or not, but it would have been nice to be closer to the action. (See picture below)
After that it was time to get ready for the dunk contest. There was footage of a pre-contest interview with Donovan Mitchell (who ended up winning the contest), and then it transitioned into footage of Mitchell’s contest winning dunks. Again, we still had the same issue with not really being able to see Mitchell’s dunks, but the view was better than the three-point contest because this took place closer to the basket.
The video wrapped up with footage from the NBA All-Star game, LeBron James’ team vs. Steph Curry’s team. I personally didn’t think that the footage that took place during the game was the greatest, but I did enjoy the on-court access we saw after James’ team got the win. We also saw James be presented with his MVP award—got to be up close and personal during that, which I’m sure all LeBron fans appreciated.
Overall, I thought this was a good experience and I thought it was appropriate to shoot this in VR, solely because it hadn’t been done before during this particular event. As VR become a more respected creative tool, we will be granted with the same access for 360-cameras as regular cameras.
This was the first 360-degree video that I have seen produced by the NBA. They do have a whole playlist on their YouTube page that is solely 360-degree videos.
If you like the NBA and you like watching videos with a VR headset, then this channel might be worth checking out when you have spare time!