For the first time, fans of David Attenborough can join the documentarian and naturalist on a virtual reality adventure under the sea. Mashable reports that, in 2014, the then 88-year-old Attenborough embarked on a submarine excursion to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, recording his journey in 360 degrees. Now, that virtual reality dive is showing at the Australian Museum in Sydney, along with another virtual reality Attenborough project called David Attenborough’s First Life in VR.
David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef Dive VR allows viewers to feel as though they’re on the submarine with Attenborough, seeing from his perspective, and hearing his real-time commentary. But it also takes viewers out of the confines of the underwater vehicle, allowing them to immerse themselves in the breathtaking reef, and get up close with an array of underwater creatures.
Mashable explains that making Great Barrier Reef Dive VR was a complex and laborious process: In addition to the cameras within the submarine, divers holding Go-Pro rigs were sent out to explore the reef, trying as much as possible to stay out of the submarine’s camera shots.
But perhaps the most exciting part of the virtual reality experience is being able to embark on an underwater journey with Attenborough himself.
"You actually get to see what David sees, as opposed to what the director has selected for the audience to see," filmmaker David Bradshaw told Mashable. "You get to ride along and share that experience with David as he saw it. We haven't curated that after the fact. We've given you a David-eye view of the reef."
Check out the short making-of video above to learn more about the project, and hear David Attenborough explain exactly why he wanted to start shooting nature documentaries in virtual reality.
Banner Image Credit: Natural History Museum, YouTube