MTV VMAs: New 360-Degree Production Technology to Bring Virtual Reality to Red Carpet

For the production, MTV has teamed with IM360, a joint venture between VR tech firm Immersive Media and VFX house Digital Domain.
Courtesy of Immersive Media

A 360-degree live virtual reality experience will be produced from the red carpet at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards.

To do this, MTV has partnered with IM360—a joint venture between VR technology developer Immersive Media and visual effects house Digital Domain. On Sunday, the red carpet VR experience will be produced with an IM360 imLive 4K VR camera system using its newly-developed Virtual Reality Toolkit (VRT) that its makers say is aimed at creating a more familiar production process.

It effectively enables live streaming from the camera to a sort of VR video village (video village is a term used to described the group of viewing monitors and related gear used on set by the director and others involved in the production), with a direct connection to VR head sets as well as monitors.

With VR photography covering 360-degrees, the director can’t really watch and direct on set without being in the shot, a challenge that director Randal Kleiser recently discussed with The Hollywood Reporter. The new IM360 technology is developed to allow the director to remotely watch what is happening in VR, as well as allow the production to immediately playback scenes, select dailies and simultaneously output both a raw file, as well as 4:4:2 ProRes files for the editors.

"Our Toolkit is operated by a virtual reality technician and mirrors the traditional pipeline to simplify the VR production process, open lines of communication and help to ensure sets run smooth and the team can realize their creative vision,” said IM360's Ryan Whitehead.

“MTV has believed from the start that 360 virtual reality is not the coolest new camera angle or parlor trick, but rather the start of a new genre,” said Jeff Jacobs, senior vp, production planning, strategies and operations at MTV, in a statement. "The IM360 Virtual Reality Toolkit will enable us to better utilize this emerging technology in a live setting with our editorial producers in a way that sets the table for our viewers to discover and tell their own stories.”