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A Holiday Treat: Our Virtual Reality Messiah

VR Video

A few days ago, we performed our last concert of 2015: Handel’s Messiah in the new Ordway Concert Hall. Not only was it our first performance of Messiah in the new hall, but it was also our first virtual reality video recording. Today, we’re releasing the work’s finale in this new format. (Find viewing tips below.)

We think virtual reality video was one of 2015’s most interesting tech trends. Also known as 360 degree video, the technology allows viewers to turn their heads and look in any direction as a video plays. For classical music fans, it offers a chance to watch a performance from within the orchestra itself.

Our VR video was created by Visual, a Minneapolis virtual reality production company. To capture the recording, a device made up of several GoPro cameras was placed on a stand between the orchestra and chorus. Visual used special software to connect all the feeds into a panoramic image, then pair it with the Classical MPR audio recording. Here’s the camera used for the recording:

Virtual Reality Camera

How to watch

At the moment, the best way to experience VR videos is by using viewer goggles that attach to your smartphone. A good option for Samsung owners is the Oculus Gear VR for Samsung phones (approximately $99). Folding viewers like Google Cardboard provide a more affordable option, and all subscribers to the Sunday New York Times received one of these with their newspaper last month.


  • Update your phone’s YouTube app to the most current version.
  • If you’re using a VR headset or Google Cardboard, attach it to your phone.
  • Using your phone, watch our video on YouTube.

Apple iPhone and iPod Touch:

  • To use a VR headset or Google Cardboard, download the Vrideo app from the app store. Once you have installed the Vrideo app, watch the video at vrideo://watch/kbVDM5Y
  • Another option is the iOS YouTube app. It doesn’t yet support headsets or Google Cardboard, but you can still use your iPhone to watch a slightly less immersive version of the video on our YouTube channel. (Be sure you’re using the latest version of the YouTube app.)

On a Computer:

  • While the computer viewing experience isn’t as enjoyable as smartphone viewing, you can watch our video in your web browser. As the video plays, click and drag the image on your screen to look in different directions.

We hope you’ll enjoy a “musician’s view” of our performance! Happy holidays, and we’ll see you in 2016.