UK commercial broadcaster ITV will produce a daily highlights package of horse-racing action from this week’s Cheltenham Festival in Ultra HD and 360° video.
The content will be posted at 7pm each day on ITV’s Facebook and YouTube pages during the festival (March 14th – March 17th).
Production company VR City will capture the footage for ITV using 4K cameras and 360° rigs placed at the starting and finishing lines, the jump fences and at the winner’s parades. Footage can be viewed on all VR headsets compatible with the Facebook and YouTube apps.
A total of three camera crews will be making their way around the festival each day, going behind the scenes to bring to bring to life the inner workings of the vibrant festival, placing cameras in locations rarely seen on TV. It is the first time a UK Racing broadcaster has used 360-degree video technology as part of its overall offering.
The Cheltenham Festival will mark the first major festival on ITV since the channel acquired the rights to broadcast the sport on 1st January 2017. With its coverage and promotion of the sport, ITV aims to place Racing at the heart of mainstream popular culture.
One of the aims of ITV Racing’s on air coverage is to give viewers ‘the best seat in the house’. ITV’s media agency, Goodstuff, and VR City wanted to extend that principle, identifying the potential for VR to immerse consumers in the unique live event atmosphere Racing, and the Cheltenham Festival, generates.
Each day will focus on a different aspect of what makes Cheltenham the biggest festival in the Jump Racing calendar, from behind the scenes access to the jockeys’ weighing room, to the sights and sounds of the Grandstand, to never-before-seen race coverage scenes. The films will also give viewers a glimpse into the ITV Racing team, providing an insight into what goes into broadcasting a sporting event of this scale.
Ed Ross, Head of Marketing and Media at ITV says: “ITV are really excited about the opportunity of giving viewers a unique perspective onto one of the greatest sporting events in the UK. When it comes to thrills, anticipation and atmosphere, nothing comes close to the Cheltenham Festival, so we wanted to give viewers who couldn’t be there the opportunity to be there with us, right at the heart of the action”.
Laura Moorcraft, Business Director at Goodstuff says: “As a leader in entertainment, we feel ITV are particularly well-positioned to utilise VR as a way of giving viewers an entirely new perspective of the content at their disposal, and Cheltenham Festival leapt out as the perfect opportunity to utilise the technology. The sport is renowned for its thrill and excitement, so it’s great that we can bring this to people through their mobile phones”.
Ash Cowan, co-founder of VR City, adds: “It is incredibly exciting to work with ITV to bring the Cheltenham Festival to its fans in daily virtual reality experiences. Being able to offer people at home the chance to feel like they are at Cheltenham, fully immersed in all the excitement from just a few hours earlier, really is what VR is all about. Delivering daily highlights in VR is truly ground-breaking and opens the door to fans to get closer than ever before to the day’s events.”