Award-winning naturalist David Attenborough has brought some of the world’s most remote environments into our living rooms with documentaries like Planet Earth and Life.
But now you can be side-by-side with Attenborough as you are immersed in a prehistoric ocean and the Great Barrier Reef in two virtual reality films screening at the Australian Museum.
The virtual reality experiences were created by innovative UK-based studio Alchemy VR and are presented at the museum in partnership with Samsung.
In First Life, viewers travel back 540 million years and come face-to-face with ancient sea creatures such as giant shrimp-like predator Anomalocaris and the spine-covered Hallucigenia. While Attenborough guides you through the seamlessly animated ocean, you can explore all 360 degrees of the visuals.
But in Great Barrier Reef Dive things get even more real. Filmed at the museum’s own Lizard Island Research Station as part of David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef TV series, viewers explore the world’s largest reef system in a bubble-like submarine. Turn to your right, and David is seated next to you gazing at the multitudes of fish, sharks and coral surrounding the submarine. The real-world footage also gives viewers a glimpse at the devastating effects of coral bleaching.
While virtual reality is still seen as a novelty by many, Kim McKay, CEO of the Australian Museum, says the technology is a game-changer for engaging the public in museum experiences.
“Virtual reality is a powerful new way of transporting us to the most extraordinary places on our planet, and David Attenborough is the perfect guide,” says Kim McKay, CEO of the Australian Museum. “It revolutionises the way people experience museums.”
The virtual reality films are also setting a new benchmark for educating viewers about the natural world in a compelling way.
“VR is opening up new frontiers for how Australians create, consume and interact with content,” says Phillip Newton, Corporate Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Samsung Electronics. “What better way to be fully immersed in our innovative technology than through these experiences?”
The two films are showing at the Australian Museum until 9th October 2016.
– Gemma Conroy
Featured image credit: Alchemy