Sky launches a dedicated virtual reality studio

Grab your headsets, folks - Sky has announced a “major new commitment” to making virtual reality content. It’s built a dedicated studio for VR video, and you can immerse yourself in the first films today.

The aptly-named Sky VR Studio plans to create more than 20 films over the coming year, giving us a unique look at major sporting events, news stories, and a thing or two for movie and entertainment fans too.

The first two films, available from today, were shot during Formula 1 testing in Barcelona. Sky promises they'll take goggles-clad viewers "to the pit lane, into the team garages, and out onto the track". You can watch them today via Facebook 360 Video, and they'll soon be viewable on Oculus and Samsung Gear VR too.

Other virtual reality in the pipeline includes a 360 film about heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua, an exploration of the Tour de France, and some very mysterious-sounding stuff in the entertainment, arts, and news genres.

Gary Davey, managing director of content at Sky, said: "The Sky VR Studio allows us to add a new dimension to storytelling, taking viewers to extraordinary places and offering a unique perspective on a whole host of events… Our expertise across a wide range of video content, from original drama to live sport, gives us a unique ability to bring VR to life for customers. This is just the start and we're exploring the possibilities with our tech and content partners."

In other words, the possibilities are pretty much endless.

The provider has been gradually stepping into VR for some time. Sky News has put out a few 360 videos, including one about the migrant crisis, and Sky Movies used the tech at the Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiere.

There's still the worry, of course, about how many people actually have a VR headset to watch the content on.

Sky VR Studio's creative director, Richard Nockles, said: "Is 2016 the year of VR? Probably not. But it will gain greater recognition this year, meaning 2018 is likely to be the year of VR. When the gear is lighter and smaller and the experiments are over, allowing the story writers to come in."

As head-starts go, this looks like a pretty good one.

Source: Sky | Guardian

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