The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, this year for his efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war—described as the longest-running conflict in the Western hemisphere—to an end. Santos called the prize “a gift from heaven,” and both he and his country had plenty to celebrate on Saturday night. The occasion was further marked by the Nobel Peace Prize Concert held the following evening in Oslo, Norway.
The concert, hosted by late night talk show host Conan O’Brien, featured performances by Sting, Highasakite, Halsey, Icona Pop and others. It was also livestreamed in virtual reality, which marks the first event in a multi-year partnership between Digital Domain, the Nobel Peace Prize Concert producers Gyro AS and Warner Bros. ITVP Norge AS and the Telenor Group. The 360-degree broadcast can be experienced using the Nobel Peace Prize Concert’s PeaceIsLoud VR app on both iOS and Android, on the Nobel Peace Prize Concert’s website, or its Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels.
Digital Domain’s COO, Amit Chopra, told [a]listdaily: “The Nobel Peace Prize Concert is a prestigious event with a meaningful goal, and we’re proud to use our advanced technology to help share its message of peace with a passionate and increasingly connected global audience.”
Rich Flier, managing director of business development for Digital Domain, also spoke with [a]listdaily about its partnership to express how “peace is loud” across both real and virtual spaces.
What led to the partnership to broadcast the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in VR?
Our European partners Gyro AS, Warner Bros. ITVP Norge (Warner Bros. AS) and Telenor were looking to marry music, vision and cutting-edge technology to amplify the important work of The Nobel Institute and its celebrated laureates, so the relationship was a very good fit from the outset. It’s worth noting that these partnerships will extend to several additional immersive experiences going forward. This event is uniquely important to us, as it’s entertainment for an important cause. We’re working with our partners to amplify the Nobel Institute’s “peace is loud” message to a global audience. It’s an incredible honor to play an active role in sharing this prestigious event with the world and we cannot imagine a more worthy application of our technology and creativity.
How does the VR experience compare to a traditional broadcast?
In comparison to a traditional broadcast, 360 productions give the audience an opportunity to actively engage in an immersive experience that truly transports them to the center of the action. Viewers from around the world can experience live events in 360-degrees, as if they were a member of the physical audience—allowing them to the freedom to take in their surroundings, even if they’re watching the livestream from their living rooms halfway around the globe. Using our apps, viewers are even given the ability to change their perspective of the event by switching to different cameras, rather than watching what’s fed to them in traditional broadcasts.
How does the Nobel Peace Prize concert fit in with Digital Domain’s other VR content?
Like our livestreams of the Country Music Association’s 2016 CMA Fest and the Today Show concert series’ performance by DNCE, Digital Domain is providing the best seat in the house to technology and music enthusiasts alike. We’ve developed technologies that capture the concert’s sounds and surroundings to create a sense of presence for audiences everywhere. With our cameras and broadcasting tools, viewers now have a seamless connection to the live event.
How are you spreading awareness of this VR broadcast?
The Nobel institute and Telenor Group are the producers of the event, and therefore leading the charge in spreading awareness about the platforms available for tuning into the livestream. The artists themselves, including concert host Conan O’Brien, are participating in the cause with videos and social posts about the livestream. Our primary responsibility is to ensure the broadcast goes off without a hitch.
How do you think an event like this concert grow adoption of VR content among consumers?
Adoption of VR will be driven by the content itself. The more engaging and transportive the experience, the more consumers will immerse themselves in this technology. With a 360 livestream, we’re giving audiences around the globe the experience of actually being in the concert hall, sharing in the live event and viewing their favorite artists and entertainers in a way they cannot otherwise. It’s the next stage of evolution for the broadcasting industry, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it in these early stages.