Space Explorers: The ISS Experience is a multi-part VR documentary from Felix & Paul Studios and TIME that lets you see what life is like aboard the International Space Station. The first two episodes transport you to the rarefied air of the ISS interior, however the studios today announced that they’ve begun filming episodes three and four outside of the ISS, letting you virtually experience the edge of space via 3D, 360 video.
Exterior scenes are being filmed by Felix & Paul’s customized virtual reality ‘Outer Space Camera’, making it the first such attempt to capture 3D, 360 video using the ISS as a space-based camera dolly. Those scenes are slated to be featured in Episode 3 Unite (coming fall 2021) and Episode 4 Expand (coming winter 2021).
The series is an Oculus exclusive, offering VR support across Rift, Quest and Quest 2 via the Oculus Store. Here’s a view from the ISS Cupola to give you an idea what it might be like looking out at the pale blue dot sans air.
The studio says its custom-fitted ‘Outer Space Camera’ is built on a Z-Cam V1 Pro camera consisting of nine 4K sensors allowing for a 3D, a 360-degree image at 8K resolution.
It’s also been “specially hardened” by the company Nanoracks to withstand a host of conditions including the vacuum of space, solar ultraviolet radiation, ionizing radiation, plasma, surface charging and arcing, temperature extremes, thermal cycling… the list goes on.
The Outer Space Camera, which has been attached to the Canadarm2 robotic arm, is built to store around 15 hours of 3D, 360-degree video, complete with custom lenses made to withstand extreme light and heat to minimize flare when directly exposed to the Sun—quite a feat when external temperatures can range from -250° F to +250° F (-155° C to +121° C).
Felix & Paul is an Emmy Award-winning studio responsible for VR films such as MIYUBI, the Nomads series, Strangers, and The Confessional. The Montreal-based studio has also created several productions for existing franchises such as Jurassic World, Cirque du Soleil, Wild, and Isle of Dogs. High-profile collaborations have seen VR experiences created for NASA, SpaceX, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, LeBron James, President Bill Clinton, Wes Anderson, Brie Larson, Jeff Goldblum, and Bill Murray.
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If you want to catch the first episodes of Space Explorers in VR, you’ll find them over on the Oculus Store for $3 a piece, each of which take around 30 minutes to watch. They’re also available from select telecoms LGU+ in South Korea, KDDI in Japan, AIS in Taiwan, Orange in France, and Deutsche Telekom in Germany.