I downloaded this yesterday, but didn't try it until today. I figured it was just another one of those lousy 360 videos. I was wrong.
It is a 360 3D video, but on a whole new level. Not only does this one finally get the scale right, it also gets the distortion down to a minimum while providing the highest resolution video I have yet seen in VR (You can easily read the time on the clock on the far wall) it also does some magical trickery to compensate for positional headtracking. Instead of being locked in one spot, you can move your head around a little and it looks convincing enough to make you believe you're actually there.
I had given up on streaming 360 and 3D VR videos, they look very rough, distorted, make you feel like a toddler one moment, a giant the next, yet this free downloadable demo shows how it should be done and that it can work. It's not perfect yet, the floor still doesn't look flat (sorta waveform) and the people have a bit of that uncanny valley feeling. (could be the artists too :p) But wow, what a difference. I watched it 5 times, checking out all the details in Lyndhurst hall trying to count all of the microphones they used.
Sony’s newly released Joshua Bell VR Experience falls into the VR video category, and it’s among the best VR video productions you can find today on any VR headset, despite the PSVR’s somewhat lower resolution and less powerful hardware compared to PC VR headsets. That’s thanks to a carefully planned production which incorporates a number of interesting techniques to allow for much higher quality capture than standard 360 cameras, and the significantly improved immersion of positional tracking.
The Joshua Bell VR Experience On PSVR Features Spatial Audio, Positional Tracking
The company used camera rigs with dual Sony FDR-X1000V action cameras to capture stereoscopic 4K video of a performance by Bell and Sam Haywood in Lyndhurst Hall at Air Studios in London. Bickerstaff explained that the team had to isolate each item in the scene, deconstruct the digital video, and then build 3D recreations of each component to recreate the video sequence in 3D.
Sony recorded the experience with several microphones surrounding the performers. The team measured the distance and placement of each microphone and used that data to map the soundscape of the experience. The performance was also recorded with an ambisonic microphone, which captures audio from all directions. This allows the sound to change as if you were really there when you lean towards one of the performers, for example.
Sony made a PSVR music video you can move around in
At this level of detail it definitely does add to the experience. Faith in VR as a medium for pre-recorded media restored.