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SBS and Google Cardboard turn Sydney Mardi Gras into VR experience

If you can't be present at the Sydney Mardi Gras on March 8, SBS might have the next best thing: A 360-degree virtual reality experience via Google Cardboard.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade is always a huge tourist drawcard for NSW, bringing hundreds and thousands of local, interstate and even international spectators who line Oxford Street to watch the colourful cavalcade of floats.

Of course, not everyone can be present on the day and if you're looking for a slightly more exciting experience than just watching the event on TV, SBS might have the solution for you.

SBS is producing a 360-degree virtual reality experience of the parade, viewable via the Google Cardboard VR headset.

The Parade VR app will be available from both the Apple's App Store and Google Play. John-Paul Marin, manager of multi-platform and interactive at SBS, said that the app would be available as soon as it was approved by the respective marketplaces -- hopefully within three to four weeks.

SBS will be shooting the video from a fixed vantage point, as well as with a roving camera rig. The VR experience is then being mastered by Pixelcase, a Perth-based media company with extensive experience in virtual reality and 360-degree "virtual tours."

Then end result will be a linear video of the parade, but one that allows the viewer a full 360-degree viewing range.

Additionally, SBS is partnering with the Sydney Mardi Gras and Pixelcase to distribute Cardboard headsets to communities all around Australia. Google has donated a number of Cardboard units and the SBS Outreach department will be distributing the majority of those to a number of regional Australian areas. The others will be offered as competition prizes on the SBS website.

You are, of course, able to use your own Cardboard viewer or even -- for the adventurous -- build your own.