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Sailing Above and Beyond VR


Jaunt launches three new cutting edge 360 VR experiences to mark the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup and let you sail with the Land Rover BAR team

As a nation built on sailing, the fact the UK has never won this most prestigious race rankles more than a little, so in a bid to finally put that right, newcomers to the race Land Rover partnered with BAR (Ben Ainslie Racing) to ensure the UK’s top talent are on board, giving us the best chance of taking that trophy in 2017.

It's surprising that Britain, a nation built on sailing, has never won the America's Cup Click To Tweet

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Design and testing of the BAR team's new racing boat - the R1 - has been kept strictly under wraps Click To Tweet

The design and testing of their sleek new racing boat, the  R1, has been kept top secret until now, with massive investment in bleeding edge tech to give the team every possible advantage. Competition has been tough as usual with some dramatic action in the semi finals this week underscoring the amazing skill level required to race in this elite event, as well as the very real dangers involved. It really is no exaggeration to say that this is “F1 on the water”. Take a look at the highlights video below, thankfully everyone in New Zealand’s Team Emirates boat were OK, and these boats can – similarly to F1 cars – be repaired very quickly, so everyone should be back on the water for the next rounds.

Jaunt flew off to Bermuda to capture the America's cup in 360 VR Click To Tweet

To promote Land Rover BAR’s challenge for the cup this year and put you on board with the team as they train, creative production and cinematic VR company Jaunt flew out to Bermuda (it’s a tough life sometimes) and did what they do best – push the limits of what is possible in 360 filmmaking. So even those of us not lucky enough to sail to those paradisiac settings can now experience it by downloading the Jaunt VR app (available on Android or iOS) and donning a mobile VR headset (you can also watch it on a normal desktop computer if you don’t have one, but it’s worth getting at least a cardboard to experience the more immersive version I think).

Above and Beyond Experience 3D VR with the exhilaration you’d expect only from Land Rover BAR. This #AboveAndBeyond experience features heart-stopping action scenes on crystal clear Caribbean water. From the adrenaline rush of flying at 40+ knots on board Land Rover BAR’s R1, captain the America’s Cup as if it’s your’s to win! WARNING: These are no ordinary athletes and this action film will leave you BREATHLESS!!

Meet Land Rover BAR From Captain to Grinder meet England’s home grown America’s Cup team. The 12 man crew open up to SKY TV’s Georgie Ainslie. From the camaraderie to the cut-throat competition, you’ll feel like part of the team. So grab your seat next to Sir Ben Ainslie, ‘Catflap’ and the courageous Land Rover BAR crew.

Discovering Bermuda Take a sun-drenched trip around Bermuda in 3D virtual reality with Sir Ben and Georgie Ainslie at the wheel of the all-new Land Rover Discovery. A light-hearted driving film set in the rugged rural beauty of Bermuda. Olympic Gold Medal Winner Sir Ben Ainslie opens up candidly about the excitement and challenges he and his team face in their bid to #BringTheCupHome

If you haven’t heard of Jaunt yet, you will, in fact if you keep up with movie related VR you have probably already seen their work with Warner Bros. Entertainment and Disney to produce VR experiences promoting movies including Fantastic Beasts and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

If you haven't heard of Jaunt yet, you will as VR continues to boom Click To Tweet

Launched in Palo Alto in 2013 Jaunt has so far raised over $100 million dollars investment from partners including The Walt Disney Company, Evolution Media Partners, China Media Capital, Highland Capital Partners, Google Ventures and Sky and this exciting company is now established in Europe with offices in London and an engineering and development office in Amsterdam.

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I met up with Dominic Collins, General Manager of Jaunt VR International and Canaan Rubin, Director of Content & Production at Jaunt’s International HQ in London to find out about their expansion into Europe, the VR production technology Jaunt has developed, and how they produced the Land Rover BAR films.

“We’re extremely excited to have landed at scale in London,” Collins told Tech Trends. “Virtual reality is playing a huge role in the future of technology and brands everywhere are looking to differentiate themselves by creating the most compelling experiences for their audiences. Expansion into Europe allows us to further our mission to bring immersive cinematic realities to everyone. At the same time, our teams in the Bay Area and Los Angeles will continue to tap into the creative community and build best-in-class technology.”

Brands everywhere are looking to differentiate themselves by creating compelling VR experiences for their audiences Click To Tweet

Not only have they designed and built the best 360 camera currently out there – the Jaunt One –  but they have invested a lot of time and resources into developing a high-tech end-to-end production pipeline for creative VR production. In line with their collaborative ethos, Jaunt makes all this infrastructure available for hire at very low cost to anyone out there who needs to shoot, edit, colour grade, re-touch, finish, export in the right format and distribute their VR films on a budget.

“Making VR content can be hard, but we try to make it easy,” explains Collins “We bring a turnkey solution, that includes the camera, all the cloud-based render solutions, automatic stitching (bypassing the laborious and time-consuming hand-stitching) as well as the distribution technology with the Jaunt app. We are platform agnostic so everything we do goes from Facebook to YouTube all the way through to Daydream, Gear, Oculus, Vive, PlayStation and we have an SDK around that as well so that other people can build for their own custom platforms and consumer experiences too.”

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We are constantly inventing new ways of shooting in VR Click To Tweet

Rubin and Collins were both super enthusiastic about the tech and pushing the boundaries of VR production and creative storytelling. They went on to explain how they dealt with some of the challenges faced when producing the Land Rover BAR films and how surprisingly easy it was to get the dedicated, busy sailing team to be involved in the filming.

“If you’re BAR and on that crew you’re there to win the America’s Cup and they are very dedicated to that and anything that gets in the way of that, like shooting a promo video, can seem a bit of a chore but actually when we rocked up with VR they were totally on board,” Collins recalls.

Drones were used to film the experience's most ambitious 360 shots Click To Tweet

“Once they saw that camera they were like, wow, game on,” adds Rubin “It was, ‘How long do you need us for?’ They loved it. The first shot we did with the team was in the gym, we put the camera in the centre of the room and had them all work out around it and that won them.”

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“We are constantly inventing new way of shooting in VR,” Rubin says. “One of my favourite shots in Bermuda was when we put the camera on a long metal pole hung underneath a drone and submerged it, hovering the drone above the surface so you are underwater, then we pulled up so you broke through the water and then flew along side the boat. We flew in our drone pilot from the UK, we brought on the absolute best people to do this. It took us two trips to Bermuda to get that shot of the boat flying over us, so we basically built, in the swimming pool of the hotel we were staying at, we built a floating device with wings on it to keep the camera stable, we gyro stabilised it, and went nuts trying to nail that shot. Oh and then we had to recalibrate it as the fresh water in the pool was different to the salt water, so yeah, it was fun!”

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“This is an action film, so we want you to feel the speed of the racing,” adds Collins. “With that much action and that much movement you wanted to cut fast, also so people don’t start to feel sick as a dog. We kept the shots short to avoid this and we were using a range of cameras on the boat and body cams so the editing had to be quick to hide differences in picture quality.”

Nominated for best Mobile App at MWC this year, alongside the likes of Pokémon Go, Jaunt is definitely becoming a force to be reckoned with. Even the big boys in VR, Apple, Google and Facebook don’t  encompass the entire ecosystem of hardware, software and content production/distribution, so it’s no wonder that they already count names such as Disney, Warner Bros. and Sky among their investors and customers. Definitely one to watch as the VR space continues to grow.

Jaunt is working with Disney, Warner Bros. and Sky Click To Tweet

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Tom Atkinson is a Digital Producer & Photographer at R3Digital and Reviews & Dept. Editor at Tech Trends. Connect on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @R3Digital