Felix & Paul, the studio that recently signed the “largest live-action VR deal to date” with Oculus, has released three episodes of Lebron James’ new mini-series, Striving for Greatness, via Facebook 360° video.
James’ collaboration with Felix & Paul peers at past, present, and the best-in-a-generation player’s upcoming 13th NBA season. In particular, it pairs scenes from his no-doubt grueling and diversified training regimen with James’ ruminations on what drives him and where he’s headed. Fans can watch the videos both by tuning in weekly for new FB 360-enabled episodes on UNINTERRUPTED’s Facebook page and by catching it “as a standalone 3D 360° VR experience for distribution on the Oculus platform, available soon.” At press time, it is not entirely clear whether “Oculus platform” refers to the upcoming Rift, the Gear VR or both.
The series announcement further states that the filmmakers have optimized the videos for each platform separately to take full advantage of the different technologies.
This is not the first NBA-related foray into VR; rather, the mini-series represents an integration of prep- and drive-centered basketball films like Kobe Bryant’s Muse and more traditional VR sportscasts coming from NextVR and others. Professional sports currently employ VR technology not only for entertainment purposes, but also for training.
Considering the dual focus on narrative and James’ day-to-day life, the decision to tap Felix & Paul for the project makes sense: they have produced content for the film Wild, fly-on-the-wall style video about Mongolian yak herders and a piece on the Clinton Global Initiative’s efforts in East Africa, among others.
Along with their experience in creating diverse content types, Felix & Paul possess a wealth of experience in creating high quality content, as Road to VR’s Ben Lang discovered when he screened their Cirque de Soleil extravaganza Inside the Box of Kurios.
It remains to be seen how many people will watch James’ miniseries. Although he is one of the most recognizable and talented athletes, period, James will have to rely on both fan interest and willingness to try out what remain to many a relatively new storytelling technology.