HSBC UK City Rides

The Challenge

Inspiring the nation to dust off their bikes and take to the roads is no easy feat. That’s why Team GB and British Cycling sponsors, HSBC, reached out to Visualise for a VR solution to help support their new City Ride campaign.

The campaign involves 13 traffic-free, mass participation rides in cities across the nation, with the aim of making cycling the UK’s most popular activity. By working together, HSBC and British Cycling hope to get two million people on bikes by 2020. To help them reach their goal, we created a short 360° video that they could use as part of an in-store cycling experience.

The video storyline follows a young boy through various points in his life as he goes from learning to ride a bike through to cycling the track at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. It also features Olympic cyclists Chris Hoy, Laura Trott and Jason Kenny.

Negotiating Camera Tilt

The video was shot using dual sync GoPro cameras and ambisonic sound recording. Each scene features different actors in different positions, so our biggest technical challenge was angling the camera to avoid video seams distorting the action.

The tilt of the helmet-mounted cameras was changed depending on where the action was taking place within the scene, and also had to take into account how much of the helmet, body, hands or bike you’d see in the shot. We had to consciously find a balance that worked for everything.

“Providing a realistic cycling experience using VR was something we knew would be a challenge, with fast moving shots and camera movement making things difficult. However, Visualise were able to provide us with a remarkably steady experience, allowing the user to feel as if they are actually riding a bike with famous cyclists such as Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny. Shooting in the velodrome gave us the chance to produce something never done before, and we were particularly pleased with this scene.”

Luke Hall, CSM


Despite initial concerns, stabilising the camera in the velodrome scene wasn’t too complex—the surface is already very smooth and there’s a plethora of objects to track.

The real challenge was the stitch line that links the two GoPro cameras. We had to patch, and even move patch, depending on what was happening in the scene and whether a specific action needed to be in-shot but was on a seam.

Project Delivery

The finished 360 video was delivered on Gear VR S7 so it could be used in HSBC stores alongside physical bikes which were mounted to the floor.