Follow My Lead: The Story of the 2016 NBA Finals is a VR film made in partnership with Oculus is nearly as long as a single TV episode at 25 minutes long.
The VR film is a Gear VR mini-documentary about the showdown between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, narrated by actor Michael B. Jordan. The NBA have already embraced 360-video as have MLB, but this is the first time the sport have gone as far as a full featured film.
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“We wanted people to stop saying, oh, you can only use VR to do this story, or that story,” says Oculus head of video Eugene Wei. “There are a lot of things that VR video can do, a lot more than people believe. But you just have to show them that it’s possible.”
The film-making techniques that have gone into Follow My Lead aren’t typically what you’d find in VR, and instead feature quicker cuts and rolling dolly shots. Unfortunately this does result in a few messy stitching lines that are visible in parts of the video, and even the camera man visible at points.
“There’s a lot of things that you should and shouldn’t do right now, because you’re still handholding the audience in this new medium,” says Missing Pieces founder Ari Kuschnir. “But we felt moments like that, they’re so present that whatever imperfection is there, what’s happening is much more powerful for the story.”
While a great idea, it seems the VR film is limited by the available technology and this is apparent especially in the low resolution in places. However, with the medium that this will be viewed on residing on somewhere like Facebook 360-video these issues become of little importance, but is a piece that will not continue to standout as technology evolves.
Follow My Lead is free on the Gear VR store and Facebook 360 Video. It will also be shown to visitors at the NBA Store on 5th Ave in Manhattan if you can withstand a VR experience that spans 25 minutes without feel nauseous.