NextVR, a platform that specializes in recording sports, concerts, and other live events for viewing later in virtual reality, announced today at CES that it’s adding a new technology to make its recordings feel much more realistic. Called six degrees of freedom, or “6DoF” for short, the addition will make it so users of NextVR’s app can experience events with more freedom of movement than before.
With 6DoF, you can move forward, backward, left, right, up, and down, allowing you to shift your perspective in a pre-recorded scene as if you were experiencing it live. You can crouch down, move your shoulders, or even take full steps while the underlying technology behind the software used to edit the video takes into account the natural shift in perspective those movements involve.
Virtual reality games, in which the images a user is seeing are simulated by software, naturally have 6DoF so long as the headset you’re using tracks your head and body. That’s done either through an internal or external tracking system typically involving a mix of cameras, lasers, and sensors. For live scenes, however, 6DoF necessitates the video be captured with an advanced multi-camera rig that records dozens of simultaneous streams of a given scene. Computationally intensive stitching software is then used to combine those numerous streams into a single holistic VR video.
This software is typically able to replicate perspective changes by understanding depth and simulating the effects of moving through a physical scene, in effect…