IF YOU’VE ever dreamed of exploring Antarctica but haven’t mustered the courage or the means to brave the coldest place on Earth, this is the opportunity to dip your toe in.
Briege Whitehead has experienced what very few have and now she wants others to share the journey from a more comfortable position.
The Perth filmmaker, along with BAFTA award-winning VR and digital producer Phil Harper and Perth drone operator Dean Chisholm, has delivered The Antarctica Experience.
The 3D virtual reality (VR) film arms viewers with special headsets that deliver an experience considered the next best thing to visiting the frozen continent yourself.
“We wanted people to be able to appreciate the place and give them an immersive experience that makes you feel like you’re really there, even if just for a moment,” Ms Whitehead, owner of White Spark Pictures, said.
Armed with 150 kilograms of gear worth about $100,000, the crew captured scientists at Australia’s research stations working to understand climate change, manage eco-systems, research sustainability and conserve wildlife.
The special VR headsets allow viewers to visit penguin colonies in a zodiac, explore research stations, experience the spectacular Southern Lights and take in all the sights from the cockpit of a helicopter – all while still in Perth.
The film was shot over a number of weeks in February – taking in all the ice world south of Australia has to offer – with post production beginning in March and taking the project all the way to Los Angeles.
“I’ve seen it countless times and I still get moved by it,” Ms Whitehead said.
Davis Station operations manager Robb Clifton said it was difficult to convey what life is really like on the ice.
“On your walk to work, you might pass a sleeping mass of elephant seals in their wallow, or penguins busy at work collecting rocks to make a nest,” he said in a piece by the Antarctic Division of the Environment and Energy Department.
“This film transports you there as an Australian Antarctic expeditioner, experiencing one of the most extraordinary places on the planet.”
The world premiere will screen exclusively at the WA Maritime Museum in Fremantle from September until mid-October.