NDP 2017 to be streamed live - in 360 degrees

Pre-recorded segments of the Red Lions, fireworks will be spliced onto the stream

Viewers of this year's National Day Parade (NDP) will get to skydive with the Red Lions, go on a high-speed boat chase and sing along with the parade crowd - all from the comfort of their homes.

The parade will be streamed live through video-streaming service YouTube in 360 degrees and with virtual reality (VR) support.

Viewers will see footage from three cameras at The Float @ Marina Bay during the livestream - from the seating gallery, promenade and platform stage.

For the first time, pre-recorded segments of traditional parade favourites, like the Red Lions' skydive and the fireworks, will be spliced onto the livestream as they happen, giving viewers a chance to join the fun from the performers' point of view.

There will be six such pre-recorded segments - the Red Lions skydiving, naval divers jumping off a Chinook helicopter, a ride on the army's armoured engineer vehicle, a high-speed chase on the navy's inflatable boats, a counter- terrorism segment and the fireworks finale.

The first three segments have already been uploaded to the NDPeeps YouTube channel. The livestream will air on Aug 9.

Colonel Tong Yi Chuen who is chairman of the NDP 2017 engagement and security, and also contingency committees, said: "These were chosen because they represent some of the traditional crowd favourites, such as the Red Lions, some segments of the dynamic defence display, as well as the fireworks display."

Users on desktop computers, when viewing a 360-degree video, can use their mouse to navigate their view.

When on a mobile device, they can use their fingers to do the same, or hold the device up and rotate it accordingly to look around them.

Those with VR headsets, such as the Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR, can toggle on the VR mode while watching the live- stream to immerse in the action.

Depending on the viewer's Internet connection, the livestream will be available in different resolutions, from compressed 480p to high-resolution 4K streaming.

"This initiative is not meant to detract from conventional TV broadcast, but to complement the home viewers' experience, to make it more immersive and engaging," said Col Tong.

Members of the public got a teaser of the VR experience at a roving National Day exhibition organised by the Singapore Discovery Centre at the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh yesterday.

Mr Alvin Tan, 39, who is self-employed, said that while the VR experience was very realistic, not many would get to watch the NDP that way.

He said: "VR headsets are still not so widespread. But when VR becomes more common and more people have headsets, it'll become the norm."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 23, 2017, with the headline 'NDP 2017 to be streamed live - in 360 degrees'. Print Edition | Subscribe