Celebrate World Oceans Day with ‘ecosphere,’ Available Now on Oculus Quest
This World Oceans Day, we’re pleased to debut ecosphere, a new documentary series for Oculus Quest. Produced in partnership with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Silverback Films Ltd, and Oculus, ecosphere is a three-part journey across some of nature’s most fragile and diverse ecosystems. Narrated by Emmy Award-winning actress Anna Friel (Marcella), ecosphere is available now free on Oculus Quest and Oculus Go.
Filmmakers have often used VR to give audiences a fresh perspective on critical issues. With ecosphere, VR helps audiences explore the relationship between the people, wildlife, and ecological systems supporting life on Earth.
What’s it like filming in locations with varying climate conditions and challenges?
JP: Well, it’s important to note that the production was shot pretty much exclusively on pre-production prototype equipment with only a few sheets of best practice material, mainly from tests in studio environments. We faced considerable complications when we turned up in Kenya, where it was 40 degrees and had to mount pre-production cameras these prototypes, exposed, on a 13-foot scaffold on our camera car to get the camera into acceptable proximity with wild animals.
Joseph, can you talk a bit about that setup, and why you had to use it?
Sure, we used a steadicam with a gimbal to stabilize moving shots, and get the camera into position quickly while in the field. Traditionally, filmmakers have avoided movement in VR films, but we wanted to shift that paradigm. It helped a lot when trying to get shots with inquisitive baby elephants brushing passed, or leaning into me while filming.
Can you tell us a few things you learned while involved in the project?
JP: Good fixers are worth their weight in gold!!! Meditation is necessary when working in small teams trying to pave a new path in the world. There really is a way forward for environmental conservation, and it’s in collaboration and commune with local and indigenous communities.
What’s something about VR and immersive filmmaking that surprises you?
JP: The complete ubiquity of acceptance of VR as a powerful medium.
How would you describe this project to someone new to VR and immersive experiences?
JP: Ecosphere is an immersive nature documentary. The series was produced using prototype cameras, to make each episode feel as real as possible. We dare you to watch all three episodes and try to reach out and touch something you see in VR.
What was it like working across different time zones with a diverse collective of developers, creatives, and conservationists?
I’m truly grateful for the incredible global team we had on ecosphere and all the hard work and love they put into this project. The global nature of the team meant a pretty significant lack of sleep for me. While I was sleeping, our UK and French producers could be reviewing and working away, so I’d wake up to new edit notes.
Jun 08, 2020 at 21:32