It's that time of the year, when Sports Illustrated comes out with its much-anticipated annual swimsuit issue. Keeping up with the latest trend, the magazine is releasing not one but three different covers this time around, with former UFC fighter Rhonda Rousey, plus-size model and activist Ashley Graham and model Hailey Clauson featuring as the three cover girls in the SI 2016 swimsuit issue. What's most interesting is that the powers-that-be at the publication are also apparently well-attuned to the latest happenings in the tech world, as for the first time ever, fans will get the opportunity to get a sense of what it feels like to be on the set during a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit photo session.
That's because Sports Illustrated has just launched a new mobile app which will let viewers watch the action from all angles by taking in a 360-degree view of the models during the photoshoot. The app is Google Cardboard and Gear VR-compliant, which means that owners of those particular VR devices will be able to enjoy the videos and have a full 360-degree view of the action. According to SI, the videos were shot last November in collaboration with virtual reality startup, Wevr – the company that counts HTC and Samsung among its investors.
According to the magazine's creative director, Mr. Chris Hercik, "This is the kickoff for 'Sports Illustrated' in general. We have a slate of virtual reality projects that we're lining up now and that will be coming out over the next six to nine months". While the first five teaser videos will be free for all to get a taste of what's to come, additional content can only be unlocked upon paying a charge of $1.99. The app will reportedly be updated with between three to five new clips every week. Sports Illustrated subscribers, however, will be exempt from paying any additional charges, according to the company.
Mr. Hercik says that the idea of incorporating virtual reality into the Sports Illustrated swimsuit photo shoot came to him last year while playing around with the HTC Vive headset at Seattle, WA. The experience made him believe that VR will be a "game changer", which is why he flew back and presented his idea to the staff. According to Hercik, the staff didn't need much convincing, and "Right away … We knew we had to do something in VR for this year". Those wanting to download the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit app can do so by heading through the link below.