Today, BBC VR Hub and BBC News have announced a new virtual reality (VR) series exploring the water politics of the river Nile in Egypt, Damming the Nile VR.
The two-part documentary series follows BBC Africa Correspondent, Alastair Leithead, on assignment across the Nile, taking viewers on a journey down the famous river, taking in its beautiful sights and dramatic sounds as they travel through canyons and fly above waterfalls. But it’s also where the world’s first war over water could be fought. A major new project – the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam – threatens to upset the balance of power between neighbours and rivals Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.
Damming the Nile VR looks to give audiences a unique perspective on the dispute, joining the crew as they hear from locals in the cafés of Khartoum and street corners of Sudan, meet the richest man in Sudan, and grill ministers fighting their countries’ corners. Viewers will have to opportunity to inspect the dam up-close, then explore some of the local ancient wonders including Sudanese pyramids and Egyptian temples from a hot air balloon,
“As a foreign correspondent, my job is to introduce people to new and fascinating places, challenge stereotypes and explain how countries are growing and changing. Virtual reality means films like Damming the Nile VR can actually take our audiences there so they can see it for themselves,” said Leithead in a statement. “Once you put on a headset and enter the virtual world, you come with us on assignment to Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt to explore their issues up close, and understand the politics of the Nile through a unique new perspective.”
Filmed in stereoscopic VR and featuring fully spatialised audio, Damming the Nile VR includes music from The Nile Project, a collective of musicians from countries along the river.
Zillah Watson, head of BBC VR Hub, commented: “We want to create high quality mobile VR pieces that give audiences experiences they can’t find anywhere else. Damming the Nile VR does this by making you feel like you’re there, unearthing the story as you go, and getting a better understanding of the different cultures and points of view at play. Audiences can also enjoy the sheer scale and beauty of the Nile, alongside the major infrastructure projects that have shaped its past and will continue to shape its future.”
To mark the launch of Damming the Nile VR, the BBC has launched a new BBC VR app for free on Samsung Gear VR, combining all of its mobile VR experiences (The Turning Forest, Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel, Himalayas: A Trek to School and Bloodhound) into one place. For any further updates from the BBC, keep reading VRFocus.