ACC, Raycom Sports Dive Into VR With ACC Virtual Reality With EON Sports

Using Samsung VR equipment, the conference is creating compelling evergreen content

Virtual reality continues to be an intriguing laboratory for video-content creators to experiment in, and Raycom Media is bringing that type of content innovation to ACC Football. Through a partnership with EON Sports, Raycom Sports and the ACC have launched a new app and begun creating exclusive behind-the-scenes content in VR.

Raycom Sports and the ACC use the Samsung Gear 360 camera to acquire VR content that it will distribute on its new VR app or as 360 content on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

“We want to bring the fans a perspective that they never would have had,” says Trey Walters, senior director, content marketing and business development for ‎ACC Digital, Raycom Sports. “It allows them to immerse themselves in what the 360 video provides. It’s one thing to load a behind-the-scenes video. It’s another to have the viewer be allowed to look around [during] the coach’s pregame speech and see how the players are hanging on every word that he says. Using today’s technology gives the fans a deeper engagement than ever before.”

Raycom shooters on the field during ACC football games this season are acquiring VR content through the use of the Samsung Gear VR camera. Although some perspectives require little more than placing the camera on a pole in the desired location, in some cases, shooters acquiring traditional video content for the conference have VR cameras attached to their shoulder mounts, keeping them free to shoot their regular footage. Whatever content is acquired by the running Samsung Gear camera is bonus material.

“That’s part of the beauty of VR [in postproduction]: you can just hit record and let it go where you go,” says Walters. “Then, on the editing side, we can go back knowing what we are looking for and slice and dice some of the best stuff.”

This is content designed for on-demand viewing in the days following a game and will range from a coach’s speech to school-specific experiences, such as running down the hill with Clemson or riding on the back of the Rambling Wreck during player intros at Georgia Tech.

Content is available for viewing in a full headset experience on mobile devices via a new ACC VR app available in the Apple and Google Play stores. Some of the best content is also released as simply 360-degree content on social platforms that allow that type of content, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Walters and his team edit the content in Adobe After Effects and proprietary Samsung software. Turnaround time for a piece of content is typically a few days, and it usually is released midweek.

“Some of it actually performs better as midweek evergreen content,” says Walters. “It’s good fodder for people to enjoy in remembering the past weekend or looking ahead to the next weekend. Some of this content is agnostic to when it was shot; it’s more just about the coolness factor.”

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