Bringing you a 360° view of #LondonNYE

13 December 2016

The People behind London New Year's Eve Fireworks

Chris, BBC innovation exec, explains how the BBC is giving viewers a new way to watch London’s NYE Fireworks this year…

My role is to look at new and developing technology and how we can use these in our productions. One of the technologies we’re most excited about is working with 360 video and virtual reality. 

It’s probably the most visually innovative thing that’s happened since the start of TV itself! With over 12 million viewers on the night, the BBC is proud to deliver fantastic TV coverage of the London NYE Fireworks. Now we want to give viewers a new and different way to experience  the biggest night of the year.

What’s great about 360 is that it allows you, the viewer, to be your own director. It means we can put you in a position where you control what you see, giving you free rein to look where you want. Of course, that brings its own challenges as nowhere is ‘off camera’ anymore. 

BBC is providing a 360 view of the London New Year's Eve fireworks
As well as the fireworks, you’ll see the crowds and production team. For this event, this can help people feel like they’re really there – even those who didn’t get a ticket.

If you want to see the 360 view of the fireworks it’s simple. You can use pcs, laptops, tablets and mobile devices along with any supported headsets for a truly immersive experience.

As with any streamed video, it will be very data hungry. That means the best way to enjoy the experience will be to watch indoors with WiFi connectivity

As an innovation project we’re working closely with YouTube to ensure we give viewers a truly ‘like you’re there’ experience. 

With our unique access, we can capture the display a new way. It means viewers can enjoy a brand new angle on the event.

After our successful Trooping the Colour 360 coverage, we were keen to use 360 on a live event. YouTube only released the technology for live 360 this year. We are really excited to be able to use it on such an important night.

We want to bring the same level of production values as we have on our main outside broadcast coverage. We’re going to use more than one camera, and give viewers that exclusive ‘best seat in the house’ view.

Of course, 360 filming also presents us with a number of new challenges. We’re even more exposed to the elements. If it rains, using a wide angle lens, each droplet will be magnified. Then there are the technical challenges of shooting an event not only outdoors, but at night with bright explosions.

We’re also putting a camera right at the heart of the display. This poses multiple practical problems in terms of how we connect and protect our equipment.

On the night, I’ll have the best of both worlds. I’ll be at the location and in the 360 truck watching the coverage. I’m looking forward to working alongside my colleagues.

Together, we’re going to bring viewers a brand new way of enjoying London’s world-beating NYE fireworks.

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