Just last fall, U.K. television was graced with the highly-anticipated Planet Earth II, the second entry in the nature documentary series. Alongside Planet Earth II came a surprising addition: a 360-degree web series, showing everything from behind-the-scenes looks at how episodes were made, to spotlights on particular animals prowling around. With a 360-degree view, Planet Earth II offered a bonus immersive treat, in addition to its spectacularly filmed (and narrated) series. But BBC’s Planet Earth producers aren’t ready to abandon the technology yet.
In the coming weeks, according to Engadget, BBC is teaming up with Oculus to create three short nature documentaries exclusively for the virtual reality platform. The nature documentaries will fully utilize VR, beyond giving viewers a mere 360-degree view of their surroundings. The three individual episodes will each focus on the “daily activities” of animals: a Caracal Cat, an Oogpister Beetle, and not-very-cuddly Black Bears.
Each episode will have its own unique twist for VR. In Cat Flight, focused on the Caracal Cat, the viewer can freeze the Caracal mid-jump and observe every detail of the wild feline. For the second episode, Oogie, the viewer will play an interactive game featuring the beetle, navigating it to safety away from predators. Meanwhile, Bear Island, the series’ final episode, follows a group of Black Bears on their long, turbulent quest to an Alaskan river.
All the episodes will be released by the end of January and will be free to download for the first three months.
Header image: “Caracal in Mountain Zebra Park, Eastern Cape, South Africa” by Leo za1 is licensed under CC BY 3.0 / Black Bear image: Public domain