As business meetings and events were required to shut down in 2020, many corporate leaders and Event Planners found themselves forced to quickly find and implement solutions to facilitate the transition from in-person to remote gatherings. For the first time, Zoom was widely used across many companies.
At Maverick VR, we get calls weekly from customers who wonder if Virtual Reality might somehow make virtual meetings better? In this article, we will explain how virtual reality can play a part in live streaming events.
While you may be new to live streaming, you are likely familiar with video on demand, provided by Netflix or Amazon, when you watch a movie.
As there are several ways and variables to consider when creating a live stream, this article will not be an exhaustive review of each method. We will provide a brief overview of the components that make up a 360 live stream and then highlight a potential solution.
When live streaming an event, ensuring that the participants have a high-quality experience should always be the priority. Until recently, technological restrictions limited the extent to which you could live stream 360° video.
When attempting a live stream in 360, the technical environment is more complicated. Higher bandwidth will need to be available to ensure there are no performance issues.
When appropriately deployed, live 360° video provides event participants an opportunity to experience a truly immersive environment that many will find surprising and exhilarating!
Unlike standard live video, where a camera operator or director will direct what the viewer sees, instead, the participant is in control and can choose to look anywhere within a 360-degree circle. Viewing the live stream can be on a VR headset, a mobile device, or a PC.
360 Live Stream Components
1. 360/VR Live Streaming Video Camera(s)
Camera images captured from separate lenses will require seamless integration, and you will need high processing speeds for what is known as real-time Stitching.
Recent improvements in camera technology, provide choices when it comes to streaming video in 360. Three hundred sixty live streaming cameras with the ability to shoot in 6K or even 8k 3D resolution with multiple wide-angle lenses are now available.
The images and sound will need to be synchronized (stiched), ideally by an external server, to ensure adequate speed.
Research on this subject shows that in many cases, due to the limitation of internet bandwidth, most VR live streaming is still produced in 4K. When creating live steam, one must consider the trade-off in some resolution to ensure the live stream is stable and participants get a high-quality experience.
Compared to traditional live streaming, VR live has an extra part that needs to take care of Stitching. There Are different live stitching methods, in-camera stitching & computer-based Stitching.
While some cameras can handle the Stitching, computer-based Stitching typically has more power and a better chance that the production is smooth and without latency.
The second step is video encoding or Codec. This is where the raw video footage is converted to digital format, and the file is compressed. Essentially, the video size needs to be reduced to be transported over the Internet.
3. The streaming protocol
The streaming protocol is how it will travel over the Internet.
The fourth step is to transcode the live stream. A media server usually does it; on-premise or cloud-based. This step will convert the video, so it is ready for playback.
Once the video is transcoded, it is ready to be played. It can be viewed on a computer, smartphone, or VR headset.
A Potential Solution
Wowza is a well-known company that provides video streaming services. In the following video, they do an excellent job of demonstrating what it takes to put together the components for a 360 live stream. They begin with the camera and In the video, they show how to:
• Live stream video content through Wowza
• Provide high-quality immersive experiences at up to 4k resolution
• Cameras work with video stitching software
• View the stream on a mobile device or 360 headset
• Use a Nex 360 Player to assist with the live stream
• Use an Intel Nuc to help with the processing
• Use Wowza streaming cloud and or Wowza Server
• Video stitching software Vahana can be used
• Provide final output to tablets, computers, or headsets.
Maverick VR provides the headsets for live streaming and can work with other providers to make the production seamless. As a result of Covid-19, we have transitioned to sending headsets to each participant's home in addition to our standard event services. Please feel free to reach out to Maverick VR if we can assist with your virtual reality needs.