Bellator MMA is always looking for new and exciting ways to bring the most forward-thinking technology to its ever-increasing fan-base, providing them with unrivaled access to the world-class promotion and its superstars. During the record-shattering “Bellator 149: Shamrock vs. Gracie” event this past February, Bellator launched a virtual reality initiative, giving fans a new immersive behind-the-scenes experience, from inside Royce Gracie and Kimbo Slice’s locker room before their fights to walking down the ramp with the fighters in front of thousands of fans at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Relive Moments From The Record-Shattering Bellator 149 Event In Virtual Reality
“We’re continuously looking for new ways to leverage technology to bring our fans into the cage so to speak,” said Bellator COO Jason Jordan. “We want to make them feel more connected to the sport of MMA, to the fighters themselves and to the underlying storylines that fuel the emotion and passion of the sport. In this sense, we are very excited about the potential that Virtual Reality holds, and this was unequivocally proven in Houston where we captured some groundbreaking and incredibly immersive footage that I’m sure both hardcore and casual fans alike will enjoy. Not only did we break ratings records that night, but we also raised the creative bar with our VR coverage in terms of literally engulfing fans in the energy and excitement that makes MMA like no other sport.”
To shoot the VR footage, Bellator used three separate six-camera rigs using GoPro cameras including one that was fully spherical, attached to a stabilized, mobile monopod. This camera was used for capturing fighters as they left their locker rooms and entered the arena. Two rigs were tethered to a monitoring command center, which allowed producers to monitor the cameras from each rig. Bellator also used Kolor’s Autopano software to stitch together the footage from the GoPro rigs and Adobe Premiere and After Effects to edit and apply graphics to the final stitch.
CHECK IT OUT: To re-live some of the action from “Bellator 149: Shamrock vs. Gracie,” fans can check out the Bellator VR Experience by clicking here. It is recommended to use a smartphone or tablet for best results, or better yet a VR headset.