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Blue Band offers ‘White Out’ virtual reality experience

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Marching onto the Beaver Stadium field and being greeted by a raucous ‘White Out’ crowd eagerly awaiting the Blue Band’s pre-game performance is a sight that very few can say they’ve experienced, until now.

The Penn State Blue Band has developed and released a 360-degree virtual reality video that takes fans through the tunnel and onto the field for the band’s pre-game performance ahead of the ‘White Out’ game versus Ohio State on Sept. 29, 2018.

The virtual reality video was shot in 4K resolution from the vantage point of a trumpeter in the Blue Band and, accompanied by high definition audio, it’s an experience Blue Band Director Greg Drane said offers Penn Staters the opportunity to view one of the University’s most iconic organizations from a fresh perspective.  

“When the concept started to become a reality, I was extremely excited for the prospect of offering an experience that you can only have here at Penn State,” Drane said. “The ‘White Out’ is uniquely Penn State, and the fact that this project was conceived of and developed by Blue Band students really highlights the creative vision and forward thinking that makes our University so special.”

To make their vision become a reality, Blue Band members Peter Meglis, Rachel Cooper and David Snowiss, now an alumnus, retrofitted an iconic Blue Band hat with the recording device that captured the images and sounds of the ‘White Out’ performance. The three then edited and coded the images and sound to produce the virtual reality video.

Building on the success they had with the ‘White Out’ video, the trio also produced a Blue Band virtual tour, which includes a greeting from Drane and offers the virtual reality user a tour of the Blue Band facilities and showcases various aspects of a Blue Band member’s daily routine.

The virtual reality experiences were intended for recruitment purposes, but after seeing the ‘White Out’ video, Drane knew that releasing it to the Penn State community also presented an opportunity to highlight one of the ways that the Blue Band is embracing technology while holding true to traditions that date back to the late 1800s.

“I put it on and I was blown away,” Drane said. “I have a very different vantage point of the pre-game and this gave me a chance to see all of this from the perspective of our students and I immediately thought, ‘Oh, wow, this is why they love this and this is why they come to Penn State.’ You can feel the energy with this virtual experience and it’s just amazing.”

To enjoy the Blue Band’s virtual reality ‘White Out’ experience, all you need is a virtual reality headset that is compatible with your smart phone and then simply load the video above, press play and enjoy Penn State as you’ve never seen it before. The full version of the video will be released on YouTube in the coming days.