Award-Winning VR Video….and a Jam Band

One of my favorite jam bands (sorry) has done something super cool. Umphrey’s McGee recently teamed up with a company called Reel FX, which is a digital effects/animation company that is fortunately located here in Los Angeles (#notvancouver), to produce a 360° degree VR concert video! Reel FX filmed the band playing their song, “Puppet String,” at the House of Blues in Houston last spring. And this spring, the video took home a Gold Remi at the 50th WorldFest Houston International Film Festival. Reel FX took home the top prize for Music Video Craft Awards for New Technology.

The resulting video is a really neat experience that you should all check out. Be sure to watch it on Chrome or Firefox to be able to use the 360° function! You can drag the screen around with your mouse to see what’s going on everywhere in the room. You can even check in on the sound guy, read the setlist at the band’s feet, or check out their equipment rigs.

Reel FX filmed the band using several different mounts with multiple GoPro 360 cameras attached. So basically a less-USC version of the camera we saw in the Jaunt Lab the other week. What’s really interesting is when there are cuts to different cameras (some are closer to different band members on stage while there is also a view from the front of the stage and the ceiling above the audience). The video seamlessly transfers from one shot to the next, regardless of what the viewer is currently looking at. It’s downright impressive work. And the stitching is immaculate as well – I never once saw a mount, camera, or part of the room that looked weird in the entire 12 minute video.

This is an extremely exciting step forward for recording live performances as it allows you to experience the space the way the concert attendees did. It also gets you closer to the artist than you normally would be. Oh, and technologically, it’s just stunning.

You should also take a quick look at Reel FX’s website. They do super cool work!


One thought on “Award-Winning VR Video….and a Jam Band

  1. I would agree that there is likely a future for immersive video in anything event-based, especially ones in which the space itself is important, like this. I was likewise talking to a live sound engineer this week who was interested in live-streaming shows, as a way to make additional money for venues and artists (though the pessimist in me just sees it as another opportunity for labels to snatch that money, but whatever). Either way, I’d be curious if VR might play a part in something like that in the future. This post definitely pairs well with your midterm, in that both are commenting on technologies that offer a mediated experience of something we greatly associate with physically being there. It’s cool (or not, depending on your view of technology) to see developers and engineers trying to bring their technologies into the sacred ground of “you had to be there!” spaces.


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