ON STAGE WITH MACCA
For some virtual reality experiences you can expect to pay an arm and leg, but in this instance we’re talking to the penny pinchers and the super scrimpers.
At first we were surprised too, but you really can achieve the allusive immersion of VR without the likes of Oculus Rift. All you need to get by is a little help from your friends at Google and Jaunt.
Android (Google Cardboard), Mac or Windows (Oculus Rift).
WHAT DOES IT DO?
Jaunt is a company that creates virtual reality experiences for apps with super high-tech 360-degree cameras. One of our favourites is Sir Paul McCartney performing ‘Live and Let Die’ on stage with his band in front of a live audience in San Francisco.
For this to work, you’ll need Google Cardboard – the lowest-tech VR headset available. There are no frills;you build it yourself for about £10, and use your phone as the screen. Simple.
Now then – the VR experience. As you strap on the headset and your headphones (as instructed by the app), you will find yourself standing just to the right of the former Beatle’s grand piano. Glance up and you’ll see the adoring audience, and spin around to watch Abe Laboriel, Jr. lacing the drums. Congratulations, you’re pretty much in the band.
At points during the song, you’ll be magically transported to different parts of the stage. Although this is a little disorientating at first, it adds a bit of variety to the overall experience. Your second virtual position is perched right on the edge of the stage. We tried this standing up once and nearly fell over, so as a safety disclaimer, we’d recommend sitting.
WHAT DID WE LIKE?
Jaunt used 3D sound-field microphones to record the song. In layman’s terms, that means that if we’re facing the band, the music is loud and clear, whereas if we were to face away from them, the volume levels dip and become softened.
This really did contribute to the immersion level, but you must make sure you’ve got your headphones in the right ears, or everything will be backwards.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER?
The only thing that was missing was the space where our virtual feet should have been. When you look directly down, you’ll see a circular Jaunt logo, which makes sense really, because there couldn’t be a lens inside the pole holding up the camera rig.
The resolution wasn’t exactly breath-taking either, but for a free app that puts you on stage with Sir Paul, we really can’t quibble. It would also be good if there were more songs from the gig available for free, but beggars can’t be choosers.
This app is awesome. Not often do we get to chill with McCartney & Co. while they jam out ‘Live and Let Die’. Plus the fact that it’s free really gives you no excuse not to get involved. We’d highly recommend this app, and would love to hear about your VR experiences – drop us a comment below.
MORE FROM JAUNT
Jaunt also produces a bunch of other VR experiences that you should check out if you enjoyed Paul McCartney.
The Mission, for example, follows a special ops team into WWII as they combat their way across the Eastern Front. There’s also Black Mass for the really brave. This is in essence a front row seat to a nightmarish horror film – and you can’t hide behind cushions when the screen is on your face. Too scary for us.