The USA Today Network, together with Nikon, are looking to the power of virtual reality to create an unprecedented online viewing experience for the presidential inauguration on January 20. The stream will be made possible thanks to customized Nikon KeyMission 360 cameras and YouTube, one of the few video platforms in addition to Twitter and Facebook that supports both live streaming and 360-degree content.
The waterproof, shockproof, and freeze-proof KeyMission 360 was made to handle the rough and tumble lifestyle of extreme sports athletes and outdoor adventurers. It’s quite different from the broadcast-oriented Nokia OZO VR cameras used to stream President Obama’s farewell address, but its compact size allows it to be positioned nearly anywhere.
The KeyMission 360 captures spherical video in 4K resolution using dual, back-to-back lenses similar to other compact 360 cams. The $500 KeyMission 360 is the flagship model of Nikon’s nascent action-cam lineup, which also includes the KeyMission 170 and KeyMission 80.
One thing the KeyMission 360 doesn’t do, however, is live-streaming; at least not normally. Digital Trends reached out to Nikon for information on how this feature was added into the cameras used by USA Today Network, and whether such functionality could find its way into future consumer versions of the camera. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Nikon’s response was rather vague: “The KeyMission 360 camera does not natively have livestream functionality. USA Today and Nikon worked together to create customized cameras. We are not able to comment on future product plans.”
The inauguration coverage will mark the first piece of live-stream content for USA Today Network’s VRtually There show. The all-VR show launched in October of last year and has since reached over five million viewers.
“We’re excited for the next iteration of our VR storytelling with the live-stream of the presidential inauguration,” said Russ Torres, vice president of video content for USA Today Network, in a statement. “We believe that VR offers a unique storytelling ability, and we will continue to provide our readers with the opportunity to experience events such as the inauguration like never before.”
Viewers can tune in to the live-stream on USA Today’s YouTube channel via supported desktop browsers (like Google Chrome) or through the YouTube mobile app. The stream will kick off at 9:30 a.m. ET on January 20 with coverage of the “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration” concert.
Updated January 18, 2017 to include a statement from Nikon.