NextVR, a platform known for its VR live broadcasting of sporting and concert events, is creating original VR content in the form of a suspenseful show called Paranormal Evidence. The California-based VR broadcast company developed the program, described as “a virtual reality investigation exploring the unexplained phenomena reported at notoriously haunted locations.”
The first episode, launching August 1st, focuses on the decrepit halls of Pennhurst Asylum, aiming to capture evidence of haunted happenings with a team of investigators, led by Jack Kassewitz. The NextVR engineering team used their VR live capture expertise to build a “proprietary camera system to capture full spectrum footage in the pitch-dark environment, enabling the audience to see things imperceptible by even the investigators.”
“We are creating original content for VR fans that significantly extends the entertainment portfolio at NextVR,” says David Cole, NextVR CEO. “Paranormal Evidence is at once an adventure through dark and creepy spaces and a thought-provoking exploration of the paranormal.”
The show appears to be styled as a typical paranormal ‘reality show’, where a mock non-fiction presentation will see ‘investigators’ spooked and scared, but naturally the ‘investigation’ won’t result in anything of substance, despite the audacious title of Paranormal Evidence.
The team claim to have successfully captured “multiple bizarre and disturbing events”, which certainly has the potential to be unsettling (or perhaps highly entertaining, or both, depending on your outlook) in VR. “When you put on the VR headset, you enter Pennhurst Asylum with our team during the witching hour,” says Cole. “You become part of the investigation. It’s an experience perfectly suited for VR.” Paranormal shows might not be to everyone’s taste, but it is likely a compelling use of VR camera technology. But perhaps more important than the subject matter is NextVR’s expanding portfolio, which now includes original content production.
NextVR has produced some short-form original content prior, but Paranormal Evidence marks the start of more substantial productions, with episodes hitting the 30 minute mark.
“First and foremost, we’re programming to be a destination. We’ve identified key areas that appeal with our fans that augment our sports and entertainment slate,” Cole tells Road to VR. “Specifically, areas where we can build repeat viewership with episodic releases. We’d love to meet that programming need with partners, and we’re excited to develop our own original programming when required.”
“Some of the genres of programming that we’re developing are pretty ‘out there’ in terms of concept. We’re in such a great position to meet viewer’s preferences with innovative VR programming because we have an existing audience and we’re getting good at understanding our audience’s preferences.”
Paranormal Evidence can be found on the NextVR app from August 1st, available for Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream systems. A VR teaser video will be available on the NextVR app by 5PM PT this evening.
Additional reporting by Ben Lang