In the 100 years since its inception, the Tour de France has become the most prestigious bike race, and one of the most-watched sporting events, in the world. Broadcast to 190 countries and with millions of spectators along the roadside, this three-week, 3,500-kilometer spectacle is unique in sports.In the Tour, the fans are an integral part of the action. The pageantry can go on for days, and the promo caravan rolls by for hours before a few brief seconds of the peloton flying by. After three weeks of intense racing, the margin of victory is measured in seconds or minutes. During these three weeks, the riders competing experience pain, suffering and camaraderie unlike any other. It’s life inside the peloton.
In 2016, Tour organizers invited GoPro to capture life inside the Tour. They wanted to give cycling fans around the world an immersive experience, a taste of the energy, speed and excitement on the road. The best way to do this was to use the GoPro Omni™ rig to create a VR experience.Filming the Tour presented significant challenges. The race moves to a new city every day and covers hundreds of kilometers. To capture an intermediate sprint or a finish sprint, the film crew had to stay two to three hours ahead of the peloton, set up Omni rigs along with several additional HERO4 Black cameras, then wait. As the riders approached and sprinted to the line, the crew had a few frantic seconds to get the shot, or miss it.
Managing the gear, batteries, and files are also big challenges for traditional 360 capture. With multiple rigs at each venue, as well as the HERO4 cameras mounted on riders’ bikes, delivering power, recharging batteries, downloading and synchronizing files would have been a monumental effort with traditional VR setups. And footage was needed on a daily basis, so minimizing stitch time was critical.Omni solved these challenges. Its flex power option and one-plug charging delivered reliable power for extended capture. Its synchronized camera array ensured precise spherical capture and eliminated guesswork before and after each shot. Once the raw footage was captured, the Omni Importer software expedited stitch time with a nearly instant 2K render, allowing producers to start working on an edit with rough stitches, then focus on fine-tuning the stitches on just the shots they’d use for broadcast.
THIS IS A NEW AND AWESOME EXPERIENCE FOR THE USERS AND A NEW WAY TO LIVE AND DISCOVER THE TOUR DE FRANCE CHECK OUT OMNI
The results were incredible. Between the POV shots from racers in the peloton and VR content captured and created with Omni, fans got an inside view of the Tour for the first time.