Pilot 1

In the documentary resulting from the first pilot of ImmersiaTV, we follow the steps of David, a young Portuguese athlete who joined FC Porto’s football school, Dragon Force, to pursue his dream of becoming a successful football player. During his busy, hard-working days, we meet his family, his friends and the dedication of this 14-year-old dreamer. Shot combining omnidirectional and traditional video formats, “Dragon Force: The Making of Future Heroes” gives the audience, quite literally, an inside view of what it takes to become a professional football player.

 

Pre-production and shooting

To create content targeting all platforms, we considered different shooting strategies (see deliverable D2.3 – Content ideation, production scenarios), did several tests, and ended up designing a production plan that combines omnidirectional and traditional cameras.

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Some pictures taken during the first preparation trials in Porto

 

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Behind the scenes pictures

Post-production:

We implemented a hybrid Postproduction process, where we combined the stitching and compositing of omnidirectional videos, the editing of traditional video, and the creation of a narrative structure that fit for all consumer devices. To edit the videos of such multiplatform narrative, we used a novel plugin for video edition created specifically for this purpose.

In the immersive displays, key challenges were finding how to drive the audience’s viewpoint through the omnidirectional scene, selecting the additional video inserts (close-ups, alternative viewpoints, etc.), placing such inserts in the omnidirectional scene, and considerations regarding the fact that different audiences might be consuming the content in different devices.

 Producing content that mixes traditional video with 360° requires a different approach to production but most of all to post-production, since editing becomes a whole different task. 

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Multi-platform video allows for new possibilities, but also introduces new challenges.  

 

Going public

Once the documentary was ready, we tested it with different groups of end- users and gathered feedback to improve the whole pipeline: the production tools, the content and the technical performance.

We first presented our end-to-end solution at IBC, in Amsterdam, September 2016, in an event that is described as the premier annual event for professionals engaged in the creation, management and delivery of entertainment and news content worldwide, where we were invited by the EBU. ImmersiaTV had an outstanding place at EBU’s booth. The different partners demonstrated the documentary in three different devices: TV, tablet and HMD. The production tools developed were also showcased. We had a good reception, with some press coverage and presence in the media.

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Pictures taken during the IBC showcase at EBU’s booth

ImmersiaTV had an outstanding place at EBU’s booth. The different partners demonstrated the documentary in three different devices: TV, tablet and HMD. The production tools developed were also showcased. We had a good reception, with some press coverage and presence in the media.

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Click on the image the see the fragment talking about ImmersiaTV.

After IBC, we presented an improved version at the NEM Summit that took place in Porto in November 2016, which obtained the best demo award. In addition, a session was co-organised presenting a paper explaining the project’s achievements.

In parallel with the NEM, and in collaboration with the Catholic University of Porto (UCP), we organised an evaluation with students and end-users from Porto, as part of the Portuguese Science Week. It consisted of, first, a training session using VideoStitch’s tools for stitching omnidirectional videos, as well as the Adobe Premiere plug-in developed by i2CAT and PSNC. After this, during two days different users watched the documentary, using all the targeted devices and evaluating the overall experience in structured interviews.

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The ImmersiaTV pipeline was also presented in different events, such as the #spainVRstartups16, a meeting for start-ups working with virtual reality held in Madrid early in December 2016. Later on,  in January, it was also presented at the official opening of Imec in Brussels, VRT’s Media Fast Forward (a yearly VRT Innovation event, open for the public, especially targeting the Flemish media industry).

Towards end January, EBU contacted ImmersiaTV to attend to EBU’s Production Tools Seminar (Geneva) to present the latest updates to the European broadcasters.

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Showcasing the pilot and interacting with stakeholders, together with rapid software iterations for the different production and publication tools, allowed to rapidly evolve the tooling. Many iterations were needed to improve the different production tools and streamline the integration of the overall production and distribution pipeline.

In summary, we have managed to develop an end-to-end toolset, usable in industrial production contexts, for an innovative case scenario, and done so in quite a record time, raising in the process some interest from relevant stakeholders. Overall, we believe it is a very good outcome for the first year of the project!