Celebrate Earth Day in VR with ‘Serengeti River Crossing,’ ‘Earth 360: The Call of Science,’ and More

Oculus Blog
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April 22, 2021
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It’s Earth Day, which means it’s the perfect time to explore the wonders of the world and reflect on the importance of conservation efforts across the globe. Today, we’re highlighting content on Oculus TV and Venues to help you mark the occasion in VR on the Oculus Quest Platform.

Launching today in Oculus TV, Serengeti River Crossing is a stunning eight-minute immersive experience that tells the dramatized story of the largest mass migration of animals on the planet reaching and crossing the treacherous currents of Africa’s Mara River—all from a unique perspective.

Created by Simon Fuller in partnership with Verizon, Serengeti River Crossing is shot using a blend of 2D and 3D 8k 360° stereoscopic panorama cameras and is set to a soundtrack composed by Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory and Grammy Award-winning songwriter Cathy Dennis. Capturing this intimate footage presented many challenges for the production team in Africa: Rather than disrupting the animals with the crew’s presence, Farsight controllers were used to trigger cameras from a distance; eight GoPro MAX 360 cameras—used for close ups—were destroyed by passing hooves. However all were recovered and some of this retrieved footage made it into the final film. Robotic cameras were used to capture footage when no crew were present. These action cameras were also used on custom disguised radio-controlled boats to capture rare live-action images from the heart of the river crossing.

Directed by acclaimed wildlife filmmaker John Downer, Serengeti River Crossing lets you share the excitement and drama of the Great Migration, the largest mass movement of mammals on the planet as 1.5 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebras, and 350,000 gazelles thunder across the great plains of the Serengeti towards the treacherous waters of the Mara River, where young and old take their chances amongst the swirling currents and ferocious crocodiles. Co-Produced by Simon Fuller and Verizon. Production Companies: Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment and John Downer Productions.

To mark this release, 500,000 trees will be planted in Kenya by Verizon in partnership with Eden Reforestation Projects as part of Verizon’s commitment to climate protection.

Check out Serengeti River Crossing on Oculus TV today.

Produced by the Fijian Government in partnership with the World Bank, Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, and the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program, Climate Change in Fiji: Our Home, Our People explores climate change vulnerability and resilience in Fiji through the stories of local people. Learn how rising sea levels and extreme weather impact Fijian people today and what support is required in the future. Click here to learn more.

Produced by the UN Environment Programme, Meet Your Carbon Footprint in VR is an immersive experience about climate change that shows how the actions of our everyday lives can impact the environment. Click here to learn more.

Join NASA Earth scientists for a 360° view of our planet as they head into the field to study ice in Greenland and coral reefs in Hawaii. In Earth 360: The Call of Science, you can stand with scientists on Arctic ice, fly above the ice sheet, glaciers, and sea ice as part of Operation IceBridge, then head to Hawaii as scientists dive into Kaneohe Bay as part of NASA’s CORAL mission.

Over in Venues, we have a variety of programming to commemorate the holiday. Kick things off tonight at 5:00 pm PT for a special screening of Micro Monsters with David Attenborough. Next, take in breathtaking cinematography April 29 at 5:00 pm PT with Mountain Views. Finally, explore a trio of Always On content at your leisure:

  • Wildlife Adventures: Get ready to embark on a wildlife adventure to one of the most extraordinary places on earth. Visit the great Savannahs of Kenya and see elephants, orangutans, and more in this cinematic VR documentary.
  • Aerials by AirPano: Glide through bustling cities, expansive deserts, frozen landscapes, and more in this aerial adventure across destinations all over the world. This high-resolution immersive capture is filmed and produced by AirPano.
  • Nature in Motion “Fireside Tales”: Produced by Habitat XR, this modern incarnation of traditional African fireside storytelling takes audiences on an immersive journey of learning about iconic and fascinating wild creatures. Told through the voice of a sub-Saharan village elder, “Fireside Tales” is the second episode in the Nature in Motion series.

Click here for a look at even more ways to celebrate Earth Day.