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Sir David Attenborough Is Making A Documentary With The Oculus Rift

"In terms of the creative challenge, we look at this as being comparable to the beginning of the film industry," explained Atlantic Productions Commercial Director John Morris to realscreen.

Morris is referring to "Conquest of the Skies," a nature documentary his company is currently producing alongside naturalist Sir David Attenborough for the Oculus Rift- which some of you may recall is an upcoming virtual reality headset developed by Oculus VR. The team has already secured several Oculus Rift development kits, and is currently being filmed in Borneo and several other locations. This will mark the first major documentary - wildlife or otherwise - to be made available via the new technology. 

Of course, producing a documentary for a medium so different from traditional modes of distribution isn't exactly an easy task. Morris has admitted that, although the technology is quite formidable, the team that's working with it is treading on entirely unfamiliar ground. After all, there are currently no rules as to what a non-fiction experience should look like on the Rift.

I can see his point. The Rift isn't exactly something you'd often associate with passive media such as TV documentaries. Still, Atlantic Productions - and its child company, Colossus Productions - seem up to the challenge. 

"When we filmed our recent flight in Borneo," explained Morris, "we filmed with an eight-camera rig, so you get the full three hundred-sixty-degree experience." 

Speaking of the Rift, Morris was extremely optimistic, seeing it as easily one of the most monetizable pieces of technology released in the past decade and adding that he feels we're going to see "millions of these things being sold." I can't say I disagree with him. Even in light of Facebook's recent acquisition of Oculus VR (or perhaps in part because of it), the future of the Oculus Rift is a bright one indeed- and not just for video games. 

 


 

Sir David Frederick Attenborough is perhaps one of the best-known naturalists in the world. For the past sixty years, he has served as the definitive voice of the nature documentary in the UK, acting as writer and presenter of Life on the BBC and narrator for a wide selection of different documentaries besides. He has received numerous BAFTA awards throughout his lifetime, and was knighted for his contributions to the world in 1985. Along with Conquest of the Skies, he's working on bringing back David Attenborough's Natural Curiosities back for a second season along with several other projects.

Atlantic Productions is one of the leading production companies for documentaries. Based out of the UK, it has produced programs for a number of high-profile clients including The BCC, Channel Four, Five, PBS, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, A&E Network, History, and The Science Channel. Along with its child company, Colossus Productions, Atlantic has received multiple awards, including several Emmys, a BAFTA, a GSCA, a Lumiere, and a Wildscreen Panda. It has been working with Attenborough for several years, and is currently collaborating with the naturalist on a number of different projects, one of which is Conquest of the Skies. 

A target release date for the VR-enabled documentary has not yet been decided.

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Nicholas Greene
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