NDP 2017 to go on 360-degree YouTube livestream

Visitors try out the VR goggles at the Singapore Discovery Centre travelling exhibition in Toa Payoh on July 22, 2017.
Visitors try out the VR goggles at the Singapore Discovery Centre travelling exhibition in Toa Payoh on July 22, 2017.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - 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 own home.

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 live stream: from the seating gallery, promenade and platform stage.

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

It will contain six pre-recorded segments from the performers' point of view. These include the Red Lions' sky-diving, naval divers jumping off a Chinook helicopter, riding the Army's armoured engineer vehicle, a high-speed chase with 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 for public viewing. The livestream will air on the NDPeeps YouTube channel on Aug 9.

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


Users on desktop computers, when viewing a 360-degree video, can use their mouse to drag the video to look around them.

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

Those with VR headsets, such as Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR, can toggle on VR mode as well on the livestream, letting them immerse in the action.

Depending on the viewer's Internet connection, the live-stream 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 Colonel Tong.

Members of the public were able to get a teaser of the VR experience at a roving National Day exhibition organised by the Singapore Discovery Centre at Toa Payoh HDB Hub on Saturday.

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

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