Interview: Supersphere Rocks the World of Live Streaming
Supersphere, an immersive technology and content company, is rocking the world of live streaming (http://superspherevr.com/live-vr/). According to Lucas Wilson, founder and executive producer, “We’re in the business of immersive storytelling that helps clients deliver groundbreaking experiences of any scale, on any platform. We thrive on the challenges of this exciting medium, and right now, we’re seeing big demand for live streaming for such events as music concerts, e-sports, corporate and product-announcements – you name it.”
What makes Supersphere a standout in live streaming?
Wilson: There are several factors that contribute to our success. Our team is fully dedicated to delivering high-impact live-streaming immersive (VR/AR/XR) content to audiences. Clients don’t need to worry about whether the shoot is 360°, 180°, 4K, or HD. We do the heavy lifting with our live-streaming technology and workflow, which includes the best software and hardware, so that clients are only limited by their imagination.
We have also designed and built cutting-edge 12G glass-to-glass flypacks that are fully optimized for live immersive streaming. Each flypack is standard equipped with several Z CAM K1 Pro stereoscopic 180° cameras and Z CAM S1 Pro 360° cameras, and it’s also customizable to any camera as productions demand.
And we have a novel approach to multi-geometry (mesh/rectilinear/equirectangular) requirements. Our flypacks can handle live 360°, 180°, 4K, or HD production and seamlessly mix and match all geometries. This gives our clients unlimited freedom to be creative and imaginative in developing their content and venues. To accomplish this, our go-to software is Assimilate’s SCRATCH VR; we include it in all the flypacks for our live streaming workflow. SCRATCH VR is the only tool on the market that has the necessary combination of what we and our customers need – real-time geometry conversion, extensive color grading and camera painting features, highly efficient workflow, and incredible speed/performance for live streaming. No other tool does this.
Tell us more about your approach to the geometry needed for live streaming.
Wilson: With geometry independence, we’re offering a new model for live streaming. The broadcast world is long used to resolutions and frame rates easily mixing and matching. Our technology allows geometry to also be freely mixed and matched: Equirectangular 360º and 180º, Mesh, Fisheye, Rectilinear, Monoscopic, Stereoscopic, HD and 4K pan and scan from within a 360º image, 4K windows placed within 360º or 180º. And not only cameras. Add real-time Unity environments to a video stream and position video images within the environment. The flypack also includes built-in video distribution network (VDN) encoding and delivery for live streaming to any platform or custom player.
What are some of your latest live-streaming productions?
Wilson: Recently, the Supersphere team worked with Butch Walker (www.butchwalker.com), the legendary singer, songwriter, and record producer, to live stream the 2018 Talpanga Concert for Pancreatic Cancer on November 3 & 4 to Butch Walker’s Facebook page. The concert was held at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon, CA. The event is an Autumn Leaves Project (https://www.autumnleavesproject.org/ ), which Walker founded in honor of his father who succumbed to pancreatic cancer, and who holds the belief that no one should ever face this diagnosis alone.
This project is an example of how SCRATCH VR is a real workhorse for us in real-time geometry conversion, camera control and painting cameras. We use SCRATCH VR constantly during our shows, but it especially shines in a situation like this — an outdoor show that starts in daylight and ends in darkness. Our team is continually tweaking color and camera settings as the light changes to ensure we are always streaming the best image possible.
2018 Talpanga Concert for Pancreatic Cancer
Another recent project was the live streaming of the keynotes and the e-sports events at the Oculus OC5 annual virtual reality developer conference held in San Jose, CA. Oculus partnered with Supersphere to produce the VR live streams via Oculus Venues app, a social VR app, so that users were able to interact with each other.
The content was streamed exclusively to the Oculus Venues app. SCRATCH VR’s flexibility allowed us to explore different creation paradigms, inserting other images from different geometries as picture-in-picture, or similar, and gave us the ability to consistently up our production game and explore new options.
Image courtesy of Oculus
What other projects do you have in the works?
Wilson: Some of our recent music projects include work with Thievery Corporation, bands Spafford, Lettuce, and Ghost Note with our friends at Nugs.Net, as well as two days of immersive production at the Rolling Loud festival in Los Angeles. For all the typical privacy reasons, many of our upcoming projects are under wraps. However, watch for our VR project tied to the horror classic “Night of the Living Dead,” coming in a multi-platform, multi-format immersive experience next year. For this project, we are working closely with the late director George Romero’s production company, Image Ten. It’s literally a thrill to be working on a film of this caliber…a cultural touchstone.