Recently in New Orleans, millions of Americans saw the world’s best basketball talent duke it out in the classic, and yet spectacular ‘NBA All Star Weekend’. Fans watched the game and the ‘Dunk competition’ via cable TV, and others watched pieces of the live experience shared over Facebook Live and Periscope, while many were happy just watching the highlights on Youtube–and some were lucky enough to see it all live.
If you’re a Basketball nut, you might have spent hours online looking for the best videos and livestreams, aiming to get the bigger picture of the overall event. And you probably went through the tedious process of playing one video at a time, only to find out that few of them are worth your attention, and, even more excruciating, it took forever to get to the good bits.
Rhinobird, a Cambridge based company, is transforming how we experience events by watching videos and live-streams. They created what they have called ‘MAV’, or multi angle video. Essentially, it’s a video player that plays multiple videos or live-streams at the same time, giving the user the opportunity to switch across video and audio sources, taking control of the experience in a seamless way, and with zero latency.
But that wasn’t enough, the real magic lies in its ability to sync hundreds of videos and live-streams in orchestrated way. Using a combination of techniques that include meta data analysis and machine learning, Rhinobird has found a unique way to discover and synchronize videos that have been posted directly to its platform or published on Youtube or Facebook–allowing viewers to play all the videos of the same event, live or not live, perfectly timed and within a single player box–without additional search or time consuming editing.
The result – check out how Rhinobird delivers a new way to experience the NBA All Stars Game and Dunk Contest.
But even that wasn’t enough! Seeking to connect with an increasing demand for more immersive experiences, Rhinobird’s CEO Felipe Heusser explains, “We have found a way to present video in an entirely different way, it’s no longer a linear piece you play and sit back to watch, but a medium in which you interact, take control, and eventually take part in by contributing your own angle into the experience.”
This is a completely different approach where videos are ‘never-ending’ and in ‘constant evolution’, allowing viewers to submit their own angle into the MAV and become part of the overall experience, even after the MAV has been published. This is exactly what happened with Afolabi Kolawole, a student from Northeastern University in Boston, who after playing with the All Star Weekend MAV on Rhinobird, decided to add his own dunks into the experience.
Rhinobird presents a solution that empowers the crowd to deliver stories that are only possible when combining the sum of the parts–wherever that content might be. That’s why Rhinobird works remarkably well for any event where there are lots of cameras trying to capture the same experience, like music festivals such as Lollapalooza, a sport event like Superbowl 51, or even during important social movements like the Women’s March in Boston. Rhinobird also gives users have a chance to sing, dance and play along with their favorite artists.
Rhinobird, incubated at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, is about to close a USD $2M seed round and is in active discussions with two major sport leagues, a prominent NFL team, and a world class sport brand. They are also partnering with the producers of Lollapalooza in Latin America, and waiting to close deals with some of the most important music festivals in the US for the upcoming Summer season.
The name of the company was inspired by the the symbiotic relationship that exists between two very different, and yet mutually dependent species. Like the rhinoceros and the oxpecker bird, this new platform is using cooperation to bring video to an entirely new interactive level. Starting this week, the app will be available for iOS users (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rhinobird-multi-angle-video-streaming-lipsync/id1049432684?mt=8), and on the Web at www.Rhinobird.tv. A native Android version of the app is coming soon.
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