Time Mixed Reality App Sheds Spotlight into the Fast Disappearing Amazon Rainforest
Two months ago, TIME magazine’s AR experience Landing on the Moon immersed users into an augmented reality moon landing experience which recreated the historic Apollo 11 mission of half a century ago with very detailed information on the historic moon landing. Now TIME, in partnership with Jane Goodall, is taking you on a very different journey inside Amazon.
TIME’s newest augmented reality experience is known as Inside The Amazon: The Dying Forest and it is the second immersive experience that the magazine has introduced into its AR/VR app TIME Immersive. In July this year, the app was made available to all Android and iOS users.
Just like in the Landing on the Moon augmented reality experience, TIME’s Inside the Amazon is also meticulously detailed. It transports you into the vastness of the Amazon forest in Brazil, an intimate virtual tour into some of the remotest and most hard-to-reach destinations in the fast-shrinking Amazon rainforest.
To develop the immersive experience, two augmented reality producers were sent deep into Amazon. Also joining the team was the reporter Matt Sandy. The team used high-definition cameras which were mounted on powerful drones in order to capture numerous detailed 3D scans of the Amazon which could then be rendered in augmented reality.
Inside the Amazon augmented reality rendering of the rainforest has been created to coincide with TIME Magazine’s publication of a special edition issue that will be focusing on the current climate change crisis. The issue hits the stands on September 12th and its cover will be used as a launchpad for the augmented reality experience. The augmented reality experience will have a piece from Matt Sandy detailing how the Amazon Rainforest ecosystem has hit an ecological catastrophe of the point of no return. Sandy’s piece also explains how with continued neglect, the rainforest could degenerate into a dry savannah-like environment or even accelerate global warming.
Inside the Amazon features spectacular 3D visual augmented reality experience by utilizing spatial sound design to yank the user out of their immediate reality and immerse them into a rich and eclectic ecosystem of the Amazon jungle.
The project also features the veteran conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall who lends her voice to the narrative and guides the viewer through the experience and also exposes the main factors responsible for the deforestation of the Amazon.
In the experience, Dr. Goodall is also highlighting the stories of the people currently involved in the Amazon conservation efforts as well as the motivations behind their passion for conservation work. Goodall’s is also the voice for the flora, fauna and all of humanity who are most likely to be affected by the disappearance of the Amazon.
The experience represents the next frontier in digital journalism, providing audiences with a new medium of a rich and more personalized news experience. Other media organizations have also embraced AR. Last year, the New York Times used augmented reality to immerse their readers into the Thailand Caves. The Weather Channel has also used mixed reality with great efficacy to bring out the terrifying effect of some of the most dangerous storms.
As virtual reality and augmented reality technology continues to advance, we are going to see its increasing application in journalism and storytelling. By leveraging on the power of immersive technology, activists and journalists are able to build very immersive and hyper-realistic experiences that will strongly impart the message and help to intimately connect the audience and the subject matter.