Oculus, LeBron, Samsung play for 12-minute video views

GearVR

What happens when Oculus, Samsung Gear VR and a video athlete's diary called Uninterrupted lock heads? Good things happen.

A virtual reality film of 12 minutes' length describes how NBA basketball wonder LeBron James trains, taking viewers through his regimen. Tech watchers have taken notice because it's an interesting turn in VR media creatives for the masses.

This is the first time James of the Cleveland Cavaliers has partnered with Oculus. The film is titled, "Striving for Greatness: An Uninterrupted Original," produced with Oculus Studios.

Kurt Wagner in Re/code said, "Some of the footage has already appeared on Facebook as part of the company's 360-degree video push. But this is the first time the two have partnered on a VR film, which Oculus funded and VR content studio Felix and Paul Studios produced."

Wagner also remarked that "he's one of the first big-time athletes to get his size-15 feet into the world of VR, too."

(Uninterrupted is an athlete-supported video site which was started earlier this year by James and sports news outlet Bleacher Report, said USA Today.)

The video is available through Oculus to those with a Samsung Gear VR headset, said Wagner.

The Oculus Rift VR headset is on schedule to see release early 2016, said The Inquirer.

What's in it for Oculus? The Verge spelled it out, how "sports-related content helps Oculus shake off the stereotype that VR only appeals to gamers."

Re/code's Wagner remarked that " Oculus and virtual reality in general still feel like products for gamers. Bringing someone like James into the fold early should help drum up some more mainstream attention." He said that "having the world's biggest basketball superstar creating content in VR is a pretty great tease." USA Today technology writer Mike Snider said, "The Gear VR is powered by Oculus and uses as a viewer the latest Samsung devices such as the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 edge+, S6 and S6 edge."

The film's message: More than trophies, rings, limos and celebration parties, a real athlete takes on a mission to gain high skills and even more important to maintain them. Becoming top of the game is one step; the next one is staying on top. "I work my tail off every day," said James. Not when you see it, not when the lights are on. He said he takes nothing for granted and would never cheat the game. He said he is breaking his game down to the basics, and the film shows him doing that.

Nick Statt, who covers video games for The Verge, said some of the film's contents have been featured before on Facebook as 360-degree videos, "but this film marks a more substantial collaboration between James and Oculus, which funded the project."

Striving For Greatness: An UNINTERRUPTED Original

I was born with God given talent, but I PROMISE you that when the bright lights go down I am grinding it out and working my tail off to get better. I will never cheat this game… Catch the full series on UNINTERRUPTED #StriveForGreatness #UNINTERRUPTED #IPROMISE

Posted by LeBron James on Wednesday, September 23, 2015

PCMag called it a virtual reality film but it deliberately put quotation marks around virtual reality. David Murphy said, it "isn't virtual reality in the sense that you'll be able to walk, uninterrupted, through one of his practice sessions or anything like that. You will, however, be able to spin your head around during the movie and view everything that's around you."

Likewise, Statt in The Verge remarked that it was not exactly as we would typically describe it. "There is no virtual world, and you can't move around. Rather, James and Montreal-based Felix and Paul Studios, which have a contract with Oculus to produce VR content, have filmed a series of 360-degree video clips that you can look around within using only Samsung's Gear VR headset."


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