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New app offers virtual reality concert footage

on November 20, 2014, 4:05pm

If the Virtual Boy and films like The Lawnmower Man taught me anything, it’s that worlds created by virtual reality can be truly frightening. But lo, a white, beaming light of pure, feel-good emotion has entered into this digital landscape of ones as zeros: Paul McCartney. Well, almost anyone beats SID 6.7.

Macca has teamed with tech developers at Jaunt to launch a new app that will let fans “experience McCartney live in concert like never before,” according to a press release. Using “completely immersive VR footage,” fans can relive McCartney’s August 14th show at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park (where The Beatles played their last public concert back in 1966). As the press release explains, the app “puts you right there in the crowd, onstage, backstage, or even right by Paul’s side in the midst of the climactic pyro, as he performs ‘Live and Let Die’ live at Candlestick.”

To capture McCartney’s performance, Jaunt used a number of brand new, proprietary technologies, including “360 degree, stereoscopic 3D cameras, and 3D sound-field microphones. They added, “Viewers will experience a completely new level of immersion: complete freedom to look in any direction and experience every moment of the performance in true stereoscopic 3D with reactive, omnidirectional audio.”

This marks Jaunt’s first publicly available VR content, as the company plans to expand with access to full concerts, movies, and sporting events. As Jaunt CEO Jens Christensen explains, “We’re creating a completely new medium for entertainment.”

This intrepid writer downloaded the app for a first-hand look. Even without the appropriate headset, it’s an interesting concept, one that offers a truly immersive experience by giving you total control of your viewpoint. (I spent a good two minutes starring directly at the drummer.) It’s a little jarring at first, and who knows about long-term applicability, but the app definitely merits even the briefest experimentation.

“Live and Let Die” is available for download on Google Cardboard and Android Phones, with the content coming to Samsung’s Gear VR and the Oculus Rift sometime soon. Or, if you’re vehemently old-school, just enjoy footage of the Candlestick concert below.