Wimbledon holds close the traditions that have made it the greatest tennis championship since 1877. The oldest of the Grand Slam tournaments, it is also the last to be played on a grass court and still requires players to wear all-white uniforms. On the technological side, camera angles haven’t changed since the game was first televised. You could call it a tried-and-true formula, but this year, things will be different: For the first time ever, Wimbledon is letting in virtual reality camera rigs, thanks to GoPro. And for an event that last year banned the selfie stick, the news is perhaps a welcome surprise.
Earlier today, GoPro released its first VR glimpse into life at Wimbledon. The two-minute video, which you can watch above, follows the record-setting Bryan Brothers, Bob and Mike, as they arrive at the tournament and begin preparing for what will be an attempt at their 113th career championship and fourth Wimbledon title.
The video features one particularly impressive shot, with the camera mounted directly above one brother’s head, giving viewers a 360-degree, point-of-view experience. The moment is brief, but it illustrates the full potential of VR – particularly one created using GoPro gear. Other shots have been slowed down, providing time to look up to see an incoming tennis ball or pan to track the ball across the court. None of the footage will be used in broadcasts, however, it’s more of a second-screen experience, GoPro told us.
The video is the second part of GoPro’s documentary, “The Wimbledon Experience with the Bryan Brothers.” It is the promised VR follow-up to the (non-VR) first video GoPro released last week. Although that piece may have lacked the buzz-worthiness of VR, it was nonetheless impressive. Custom rigs were employed to attach GoPro cameras to racquets, nets, and, in one particularly unbelievable shot, the tennis ball itself. Even for people who don’t follow tennis, it’s a good watch.
For more on GoPro at Wimbledon, head over to the GoPro blog.