Filmmakers are beginning to use virtual reality (VR) to tell much more immersive stories, but some are also looking to utilise the technology in documentaries and more, bringing viewers closer to current issues from around the world. American media company RYOT has recently released such a project, focusing on the tragic earthquake that hit Nepal last month. RYOT News as released a short documentary that explores the aftermath of this disaster, which has taken over 8,000 people’s lives, using 360 degree footage that can now be seen below.
As first reported by The Verge, the short piece, last four minutes in total, is narrated by Susan Sarandon and shows images of buildings collapsing as a result of the earthquake. It then takes a look at the devastation that was left behind, with viewers able to look around each 360 degree shot. It was shot by RYOT co-founder David Darg in some of the areas that were worst affected by the disaster, allowing viewers to get closer than ever. The piece can also be viewed without a head-mounted display (HMD), using a cursor to drag the camera around.
The company hopes that this piece showcases what VR can do for ‘news and action’ in the future. Indeed, VR documentaries touching on other important issues will be showcased at this week’s Doc/Fest in Sheffield, UK. It’s clear that VR is becoming a powerful tool to help filmmakers and activists tell their stories. It’s a hugely promising new area for the technology that will hopefully gain much more steam once the likes of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have launched for consumers at the end of this year and leading into next.
VRFocus will continue to follow any and all uses of VR, reporting back with the latest updates on them.