LeBron James' Christmas gift to fans this year is an unorthodox marriage of sports, film, and technology. The basketball juggernaut released a 12-minute virtual reality film in partnership with Facebook-owned Oculus VR today that takes viewers through his intense training regimen and offers an inside look into his daily life. 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.
It's worth noting that it's not exactly virtual reality 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.
James' live-action film is exclusive to the Samsung Gear VR headset
For James, who last year launched a video diary project for athletes called "Uninterrupted," the live-action VR push is a way to better establish himself as a lifestyle and entertainment brand, and not just a legendary NBA star. Oculus, which releases its own consumer VR headset early next year, now gets to tout having one of the world's biggest athletes on its platform. Plus, a push into live-action videos and sports-related content helps Oculus shake off the stereotype that VR only appeals to gamers.
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 #IPROMISEPosted by LeBron James on Wednesday, September 23, 2015