U2 Film Newark in 360 Degrees

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2018-06-30)

Last night in Newark, NJ fans entering the concert were greeted with signs that explained the concert would be filmed. The signs warned “You may be videotaped or recorded” and explained that the evening was being recorded by “Six Degrees”. Previous in the tour, both nights in Washington DC were filmed with traditional cameras, possibly for a home video release. The warning that evening was that video was being filmed by U2.

Once on the floor last night, fans who had attended the Apollo theater show saw familiar cameras. Explained by the camera operator at the Apollo as a special camera used to capture 360-degrees video, these cameras were placed throughout the venue in Newark. Like Newark, the Apollo show was filmed by Six Degrees. One was seen in the corner of the ‘E-Stage’ where the mirror is usually place. Another was seen on Adam’s side at the end of Red Zone, and one was seen at the VIP riser on Edge’s side of the venue. Cameras were also seen at various points of the main stage.

PHOTO: 360-degree Camera in Newark NJ.

No additional traditional cameras were seen last night, it looks like the filming that was being done was being done for some sort of 360-degree video presentation.

The cameras used, the Yi Halo, features 17 cameras in a circle around a single body to make up one 360-camera. The camera is capable of shooting video in 8K resolution at 30 frames per second, or 5.8K at a faster frame rate of 60 frames per second. We have confirmed at the venue in Newark, twelve of these Yi Halo 360-cameras were in place filming last night.

Six Degrees was the name of the company listed as doing the filming. Although little information is known about this company, the term ‘six degrees’ is one that is quite common in the VR industry. The term refers to the freedom of movement of a body in three dimensional space. Traditional VR video has left the viewer in the center of the video, with the freedom to look around the space in all directions, but you were unable to move. Six degrees of freedom filming offers a new experience, allowing viewers to move about a room and to see the video from various locations, and filming in this manner does require multiple 360-degree cameras to be used throughout the space.

With multiple cameras capturing 360-degree video last night in Newark, it is possible U2 is testing out a new technology to capture a performance. U2 have always toyed with new technology, and in 2015 paired with Chris Milk to produce a video for “Song for Someone“ using VR technology, allowing the viewer to look around them but from a fixed position. At the live concerts in late 2015, the “Experience Bus” was parked at a variety of U2 shows allowing U2 to view this video for themselves using VR headsets.

It is unknown at this time where the footage from the Apollo and Newark using these 360-degree cameras may be used. Due to the platform, it is unlikely this would be used for a traditional home video release, but will more likely be used for some sort of special online footage in the future. The concerts in Washington DC, filmed recently with more traditional cameras, including film cameras, is the more likely candidate for a home video release. But until plans are announced for any of this footage, it is all just a guess as to how it will be used.

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