Atlantic Productions is bringing wildlife programming to the high-end world of virtual reality (VR), creating a version of its forthcoming Borneo-set, Sir David Attenborough-fronted production Conquest of the Skies for the much-buzzed Oculus Rift headset (pictured).
The Rift is a forthcoming VR head-mounted display, being developed by Oculus VR – a tech-firm which was acquired by Facebook in a headline-grabbing US$2 billion deal two weeks ago. Consumer versions of the headsets are expected to launch either later this year or in early 2015.
Talking to realscreen at MIPTV in Cannes, Atlantic’s commercial director John Morris said the London-based firm had already secured several of the Rift’s developer kits, and that Conquest of the Skies – which is currently filming in Borneo and other locations with Attenborough for Sky 3D – could be the first major wildlife production to be made available via the new tech.
“We’re now filming for the Oculus Rift,” Morris said, “so when we filmed our recent flight in Borneo, we filmed with an eight-camera rig, so you got the full 360° experience.”
Atlantic, via its Sky 3D joint venture firm Colossus Productions, already creates its natural history productions with multiple platforms in mind, including TV, 3D, theatrical and giant screen, with titles such as Flying Monsters 3D and The Bachelor King 3D [which was re-versioned for giant screen as Penguins 3D] airing across a variety of different formats.
Morris said he sees the VR tech as being “a new platform you can monetize,” adding: “I think we’ll see millions of these things [Rift headsets] being sold.”
One of the things that excites the company, Morris explained, is that there are no rules yet as to what a non-fiction experience on a totally new creative platform should be like. He compared audience experiences of using the Rift to the early reactions of cinema-goers attending the Lumière brothers’ famous The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station in the late 1800s.
“In terms of the creative challenge, we look at this as being comparable to the beginning of the film industry,” he said.
In addition to Flying Monsters and The Bachelor King, Atlantic’s other factual productions include Kingdom of Plants 3D, Galapagos 3D and Micro Monsters 3D.
Check out Oculus VR’s launch video for its Development Kit 2 below:
CLARIFICATION 1:40 p.m. EST: Atlantic Productions has clarified that the working title for the program is still Conquest of the Skies, and not Conquest of Flight, as originally stated. In addition, the program is being made via Atlantic’s joint venture with Sky, Colossus Productions.