GoPro LiveVR shows 360-degree view of motorcycle race from rider’s POV


For racing and virtual reality fans, GoPro has a new video that should excite both camps. The video tells the story of professional father-and-son motorcycle racers Randy and Dakota Mamola, and how both used the latest camera technologies to capture a high-speed bike ride, giving viewers new perspectives of the sport. The video also gives a behind-the-scenes demonstration of GoPro’s LiveVR technology and how it can be applied to live broadcasts of motorsports.

In 1985, Randy Mamola was the first rider to carry an onboard camera during a MotoGP race in Assen, the Netherlands. “What a rider sees, what a rider feels, that’s groundbreaking,” Mamola said, in that the POV camera gave at-home viewers a new experience to the sport for the first time.

Fast-forward to the present and Mamola’s son, Dakota, is now the first to use a GoPro camera to capture a 360-degree experience of a motorcycle race. The six-minute video gives a behind-the-scenes look at not only how the modified GoPro camera could be adapted for a race, but also how video capture technology has changed in racing and what the future of broadcast could look like.

LiveVR is a product of GoPro’s Custom Solutions team, which builds modified versions of the GoPro Hero4 Black camera for various broadcast applications. Introduced at the NAB 2016 trade conference earlier this year, Custom Solutions embeds a Hero4 Black with a tethered camera (removed from the body), along with GoPro’s HeroCast wireless HD micro transmitter, into a variety of products, from NHL helmets to NFL ref caps and even inside a Grammy award.

For broadcasters, it supports the presentation of a POV perspective without distracting from an event with cumbersome equipment. The products aren’t sold to consumers, naturally, but, except for the HeroCast, they do use modified versions of what’s used in the consumer products.

LiveVR was demonstrated at NAB, but this new video featuring the Mamolas gives a more in-depth look. With LiveVR, the unit features a two-lens camera head that’s connected to the camera body. Together, it can capture a 360-degree video. Instead of a straightforward shot, broadcasters can select any angle they want to show. For a motorcycle race, for example, they can quickly switch from a rider’s POV to presenting the other racers speeding alongside or behind.

It’s also possible that broadcasters could provide a 360-degree feed directly to viewers, allowing them to experience the race through a VR headset (which you can see Randy Mamola wearing, as he follows his son’s ride in Salt Lake City, while viewing remotely from the Netherlands). From the video, you can tell the stitching isn’t perfect, but it does give viewers an interesting new experience to racing.

gopro-livevr-mamola
GoPro
GoPro

If you’re wondering what a future Hero camera with 360-degree capture could look like, it may be something like LiveVR. While the LiveVR unit is bulkier than the tiny Hero cameras we’re accustomed to, that’s only because it needs to house the HeroCast transmitter; without it, it could be a much smaller platform.

LiveVR also provides a look into what GoPro is developing in the virtual reality space, but if we want to speculate further, it also demonstrates what could be implemented in the highly anticipated Karma drone — a 360-degree aerial shot, using just one camera. Of course, we have no proof this is what GoPro is doing — it’s all theory on our part — but for anyone who’s following the company’s development plans, Custom Solutions is a good tease of what’s to come.

Photography

Golf ball-sized Lume Cube Air is a pocketable LED for photos and video

Off-camera lighting for smartphones and GoPros just got even smaller. Meet the Lume Cube Air, a smaller portable LED light designed for photos and videos that weighs only about two ounces.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Home Theater

Put your home theater to the test with these spectacular Blu-ray releases

What's the point of having all of that awesome home theater gear if you can't breed a little jealousy in your friends and family? We've put together this list of fantastic Blu-rays that have the goods to drop a few jaws.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Gaming

The best free-to-play games you can play right now

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Photography

Edit portraits with A.I. and adjust focus in the new ON1 Photo RAW 2019 editor

ON1 Photo RAW 2019 now has a dedicated tab for portraits that automatically recognizes faces to help with retouching. The update also brings a new focus stacking tool, enhancements to layers, and improvements to local adjustments.
Mobile

Taking shots in the dark with Night Sight, the Pixel’s newest photo feature

The Google Pixel range has always been the home of some of the mobile world's best phone cameras. That performance is now getting even better with the introduction of the low-light Night Sight mode.
Photography

Alpha Female: Sony awards five women grants to support artisan diversity

Women can face several challenges in launching a photography career -- Sony's latest initiative aims to help propel women in the industry forward. Sony recently announced the winners of the Alpha Female program.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Product Review

Fewer pixels, better camera? The Nikon Z6 shows the beauty of restraint

The Nikon Z6 is the sibling to the new mirrorless Z7 -- but for some photographers, the cheaper Z6 may be the better option. Read where the $2,000 camera beats the $3,400 one (and where it doesn’t) in our Nikon Z6 review.
Social Media

Build a wish list and shop videos with Instagram’s latest shopping update

Eyeing a product on Instagram? Now there are more ways to shop from the social network. Instagram just rolled out options to save products in a collection as users can also now shop from videos.
Photography

See the National Forests like never before in these awe-inspiring drone videos

What's the difference between a National Park and a National Forest? Drones. With no ban on drones in National Forests -- at least, not yet -- filmmakers have a way to capture the immensity of these locations with stunning results.
Product Review

With outstanding image quality, the ‘basic’ Sony A7 III excels in every way

Replacing the four-year-old A7 II as the new entry-level model in Sony's full-frame line, the A7 III is an impressively capable camera that gives more expensive models a run for their money.
Social Media

Addicted to Instagram? Its new ‘activity dashboard’ is here to help

Ever get that nagging feeling you're spending too much time on Instagram? Well, a new "activity dashboard" has a bunch of features designed to help you better control how you use the addictive photo-sharing app.