Vantrix is Bringing Sports Closer to You
Picture watching a fight from front seats where you can see all the action or going down to the pits in the middle of a car race and observing the crew and what they do down there. These experiences are mostly not possible for most of us as they are either too expensive or difficult to reach.
A Montreal company is trying to change this and they hope to bring you closer to these experiences with the help of virtual reality technology.
“The idea is to convey the feeling of being there,” says Kjell Kolstad, Vantrix’s vice-president for cloud services. “Think of somebody in the first row, best seat in the house, we place the camera there and we can then sell that seat virtually to millions of users.”
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Vantrix has created a cloud based system that allows you to stream fully immersive 360 content directly from events and competitions and they are claiming to do this better and faster than all their main competitors. The system will make use of special cameras created by another Montreal based company, ImmerVision.
“Think of it as an ultra fisheye lens without any distortion,” Kolstad says.
For sporting events, it will enable a full panoramic view that is like that someone would get by turning their heads from side to side, and up and down. The most important thing here is the fact that it uses a single lens. The implication of this is that Vantrix doesn’t have to perform any software stitching to combine multiple videos together into one.
“Software stitching is, to us, kind of like a bad word. It slows things down, it degrades the experience, I’ve not yet seen any sticking software that can do this seamlessly,” Kolstad says.
The single lens camera makes everything simple and straightforward. There is no requirement for an elaborate set up or rig with multiple cameras and complex lighting systems to make sure everything is similar on all of them. Vantrix operates in the background, working with videos and streaming it to the viewers who can experience it on virtual reality headsets via an app.
“You can sit in the front row, you could look left, you could decide not to follow the action on the court in front of you, you could look at your neighbor,” he says.
Vantrix has also recorded combat sports from high vantage points and races from the pit and in both cases the viewer can focus on any area of interest to him.
“We can do object tracking, for example,” says Kolstad. That means that viewers click on something that’s not even part of the game, like a player’s shoes, and follow them.
“Being able to sell the best seat in the house one million times is a very attractive proposition,” he says.