VR Nature Documentary Series Ecosphere Launches on Oculus Quest and Go on June 8
A VR safari series known as Ecosphere launches tomorrow on both Oculus Quest and Oculus Go headsets.
The series features virtual reality videos that have been recorded in 180 degrees 3D and was created by Australian developer Phoria in collaboration with World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) and Oculus. The virtual reality app will take you into several encounters with exotic wildlife drawn from across the globe. The VR experience is narrated Anna Friel, an actress and WWF ambassador.
Ecosphere features a collection of nature documentaries all of which have been shot in high-definition 3D. It will available on both Oculus Quest and Go from June 8, tomorrow.
The documentaries were shot using pre-production 180-degree 3D cameras which are based on Z-Cam’s E2. It showcases what is in store for the next-generation immersive videos, bringing the state-of-the-art content capture and creation into consumer Virtual Reality experiences.
According to Phoria, the VR documentaries feature the first use of 5.7K stereoscopic VR footage at 60 frames per second. This will offer users very high levels of detail as well as 3D depth at a level of smoothness that reduces the feeling of nausea that you would typically get with such VR experiences. Ecosphere perfectly renders some of the highly demanding scenes that would typically be damaged by the visual effects. Scenes like the movements of schools of fish or the shimmers of the coral reefs have been rendered perfectly in Ecosphere.
The Oculus and Phoria VR experience has major implications for both enterprise and developers. It heralds a new era of content creation where the high-definition 3D videos will gradually replace the flat 2D streams that we have used for more than a century.
Three initial videos will put a significant strain on the bandwidth with each of the videos needing approximately 2GB for download for just 15 minutes of content. The use of next-generation wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi 6/6E and 5G will enable users to enjoy real-time or near real-time content streaming of very high-definition 3D “holograms” and videos eventually making it possible for such content to be viewed to be viewed live through Virtual Reality headsets and glasses.
The project was commissioned by Oculus with the aim of spotlighting the immersive potential of Google’s VR180. The VR180 is a 180-degree Virtual Reality capture technology that provides a more cinematic alternative to the more complex to create 360-degree videos. It provides filmmakers with the ability to channel the attention of the viewer by leveraging the traditional stabilization tools in controlling the camera movement.
Ecosphere is a VR180 180-degree experience and is different from the 360-degree Virtual Reality films which places the viewer on a spot and provides them with the freedom to look around them in all directions. However, the free-viewpoint 360-degree videos still suffer from the general low-resolution detail due to the completely wraparound capturing technique. Ecosphere’s VR180 experience takes you on an immersive experience that is similar to sitting right in front of a 3D IMAX screen where you are able to turn your head right, left, up and down but you are not able to do it fully to your sides or backwards since there is no footage behind you. All the footage is in front of you in a 180-degree capture.
The Phoria nature documentary series was recorded in 3D through the use of “true to life” human interpupillary distance for the cameras as well as dynamic range-maximizing LOG format. These enabled the creators to achieve an impeccably high level of color and brightness accuracy.
The footage, whether for the savanna, underwater or jungle appears in very vivid tones and you can see an obvious and convincing 3D depth in the people, backgrounds or animals captured by the camera. The footage also displays smooth transitions between the multiple viewing angles. Phoria also worked with Silverback Films to do “justice” to the natural history genre by adding dynamic camera movement which also included aerial footage as well as close-ups that put the viewer in a very close proximity to the wildlife than they would ever come in real life.
The first three episodes of the 180-degree documentary features include the savannas of Kenya, a beach/coral reefs in Borneo, Indonesia and a Malaysian jungle. You also get to encounter some of the locals working in these areas.
Each of the three episodes is available for individual downloads within the Ecosphere app. The app is available from Sunday June 8, 2020. From the high-definition 3D videos to the impressive 3D interface that has stitched together this footage, this is a certainly a VR experience that you shouldn’t miss if you want to get a glimpse into the future of content creation.