The BBC have announced a new, realtime rendered VR experience for the HTC Vive which aims to give people the chance to experience what it’s like to journey to space and take a walk into the void.
The BBC have continually tried to explore new forms of media production and consumption throughout their history and recently the broadcaster has been dipping its toe in the waters of immersive entertainment. First with 360 degree captures of their shows and now by exploring the possibilities realtime VR experiences.
A new project named Home: A VR Spacewalk is a collaboration between the BBC and UK VR content specialists Rewind. The new VRX (as Rewind call it) is a fully interactive, realtime rendered simulation of a spacewalk, built for the SteamVR-powered HTC Vive headset.
Home is a cinematic, narrative-led piece which Rewind say is inspired by NASA’s ESA training program which allows viewers to “really get to feel what it’s like to be an astronaut floating 250 miles above earth with stunning and vast views of the spaceship.” Rewind are bullish about the project’s technical achievements claiming Home contains “Some of the most advanced visual effects currently available in VR, accompanied with spatial audio have been used to create an incredibly visceral piece of content,” says Rewind CEO and founder, Sol Rogers.
Due to premiere at next week’s Sheffield Doc Festival on June 10th, Home also includes biometric input, with those who try the experience able to monitor their own heart rate during their journey into space. The experience also apparently supports the use of haptic motion chairs, although it’s not clear if this will form part of what’s on offer at the Sheffield Doc Festival premiere.
Rewind also recently collaborated on another realtime VR project, producing an experiential VR piece for musician Björk to create a musical VR experience for ‘Notget’, a single from Björk’s 8th studio album, ‘Vulnicura’. The piece forms part of a new exhibition dubbed “Björk Digital” at Sydney’s Carriageworks as part of Vivid Sydney, an arts and technology festival. Once again built for the HTC Vive, the piece uses data from physical performances, visualised stylistically in VR and built around a room-scale VR experience.
Home: A VR Spacewalk will premiere at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival on 10th June and via BBC Taster in the coming months.