With 360° of immersion, life-size virtual reality passengers and water as far as I could see, The Antarctica Experience had me believing I was actually on a boat. Once we were off the water, my dizziness passed, and I was entirely swept away by Antarctica.
PENGUINS, GLACIERS, SOUTHERN LIGHTS AND MORE
The Antarctica Experience is a virtual reality (VR) documentary shot at Australia’s Davis research station by WA producer and director Briege Whitehead.
With the aid of the latest VR headsets, you can soar in a helicopter over vast glaciers, watch Adélie penguins waddle at your invisible feet and witness the eerie flicker of the Southern Lights against a super-bright tapestry of stars.
“We wanted to bring Antarctica to people’s doorsteps,” says Briege. “It was like putting together a 2000-piece jigsaw puzzle. We had some of the best people around the world work on this project.”
The technology is super-impressive. The places you ‘visit’ are sensational. And the immersive 3D lets you take it all in from whatever direction you turn to. There’s so much to see in any one scene, I could watch the film again and again (especially the fluffy baby penguins chasing their disgruntled parents—adorable!).
YOUR PRIVATE ANTARCTIC TOUR
Viewing the film feels like an intimate experience. With your VR headset on, you can’t see the (actual) people sitting next to you, which means it’s just you and the (VR) person chatting to you.
These VR hosts share their passion for Antarctica and explain their research, and it’s all just for you. Don’t believe me? Look around! There’s nobody else out there on the ice.
VIEWING THE FILM FEELS LIKE AN INTIMATE EXPERIENCE. WITH YOUR VR HEADSET ON, YOU CAN’T SEE THE (ACTUAL) PEOPLE SITTING NEXT TO YOU, WHICH MEANS IT’S JUST YOU AND THE (VR) PERSON CHATTING TO YOU.
CELEBRATION OF SCIENCE
Often I found the scenery so irresistible and the technology so cool that I forgot to listen to what my Antarctic hosts were saying. That’s why, despite all the majesty and glory of the ice, my favourite scene takes place in an office. It’s here that the film delivers a clear and direct message about climate change. It’s the kind of message that might just change the way people understand—and personally relate to—the challenges our planet faces.
TRAVELLING TO ANTARCTICA WITH KIDS?
I’d recommend this experience to all ages, but be aware there’s just one size of headset. Viewers should be at least 5 years old if they’re planning to give the VR experience a go. Otherwise, they can still watch the film in 2D.