President Barack Obama’s farewell address will stream live in 360-degree video at 9 p.m. ET tonight on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, courtesy of VRScout.
The virtual reality media company has been chosen by the White House to broadcast the event live from Chicago. This will mark the first time a presidential speech will get the live 360 video treatment. Viewers will be able to tune into the farewell address on VRScout’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages, and via its website. Samsung Gear VR owners will also be able to watch the live-stream through the virtual reality headset.
Obama’s speech will be live-streamed using three tripod-mounted Nokia OZO VR cameras “strategically placed” around the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. Nokia’s large, spherical device packs eight cameras and eight mics to help it capture high-quality video and audio. The entire operation will be carried out by 10 team members in conjunction with camera company Radiant Images and VR company Vantage.tv.
— VRScout (@VRScout) January 10, 2017
As is the norm, mobile viewers will be able to navigate the speech in 360 degrees on the aforementioned platforms by turning their smartphone. Desktop viewers will be able to drag their cursor to explore different angles from within the video. “If you have a VR headset, you will be able to pop it on and feel as though you’re sitting there,” claims VRScout in its announcement.
This isn’t the first time Obama has utilized virtual reality. The outgoing president previously teamed up with National Geographic and Facebook’s Oculus on a VR 360 video tour of Yosemite National Park.
YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook have all been pushing 360-degree video on their respective platforms of late. The format launched on Twitter (via its live-streaming service Periscope) late last month, and has already been adopted by brands including Airbnb and Toyota. Meanwhile, Facebook kicked off its live 360 video efforts earlier in December with a Mars emulation from National Geographic’s Utah-based Mars Desert Research Station
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