VR Documentaries Production: Case Studies and Useful Guides
What makes my experience truthful?
What connects me to others? to this world?
And why should I care?
These philosophical questions present no easy answers. Meanwhile, at this unique and unprecedented stage of technology, VR documentary makers apply them as fundamental criteria to their crafts, to achieve the one and only ultimatum – to resonate with cause.
Compared to traditional medium, VR documentary has a much more personal space. Instead of learning at a distance, viewers are transported to the event of interest, reliving the experience as it happens. As our World Bank VR correspondent has advised: “The big challenge I see is ensuring audiences experience VR in as ‘pure’ an environment as possible; ideally with a quality headset, in a quiet space away from phones and distractions so that they can have that immersive, personal experience.”
Apart from a 360 view, a key immersive factor comes from VR spatial audio, a sonic experience where the audio changes with the movement of the viewer’s head. Additionally, many creators are very excited about exploring new techniques in VR. Since it’s a still a relatively new medium, the rulebook is largely unwritten.
Watch the trailer to “As It Is – A Grand Canyon VR Documentary” right here.
The story follows the experiences of two Filipinos living in Upper Campo Islam, Mindanao, a region in the Philippines affected by a decades-old conflict now looking to rebuild.
‘Vei lomani’ is a Fijian expression meaning ‘love in action’, and it is a value at the heart of Fijian life. And it is in the spirit of ‘vei lomani’ that Fijians are coming together to respond to the impacts of climate change. Experience the story of Catalina, Rai, Asmita and Rupeni in 360° VR.
WeMakeVR and Arita Baaijens travelled to the edges of Europe to explore the fields of rough Ireland, where we searched a bond between the land and its inhabitants. We discover that there is more to the land than what you can see.
13-year-old Selam used to spend every day trying to find a balance between providing water for her family and pursuing her education. Until last year. Experience the transformation of her community as they receive clean and safe water for the first time.
Ground Beneath Her is a virtual reality film that showcases the struggle of a 14-year-old girl Sabita. Sabita must balance the pain of picking up the pieces after the devastating 2015 Nepal Earthquake and fulfilling the everyday duties of a fractured home, all while trying to keep her dreams for her future alive. It has been shown at film festivals in Paris and Seattle, at conferences in New Delhi and Brussels, and at key events across the world. It has spurred support for projects in Nepal and it has helped keep the focus on recovery efforts in the country.
Qiqi and Diandian (which combined means “the beginning of a journey”), as the first ever Animal Ambassadors for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Pandas symbolize the plight of the world’s diminishing wildlife in the face of climate change and the loss of natural habitats. Biodiversity, as one of the SDGs, is essential for the well-being of the human race.
Narrated by a Guatemalan grandmother, Amor de Abuela invites its viewers into the homes and lives of two unique children—one who reaps the benefits of solar power and one who doesn’t. The film shares insight into a life without light to raise awareness of the one in seven people worldwide living without access to electricity.
“Behind the Fence” looks inside the 5×5 square mile camp that imprisons the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar, and investigates the extremist Buddhists who propagate virulent anti-Muslim sentiment across the country.
It profiles Abul, a husband who does everything he can to try to help his sick wife, Barbulu, a twelve-year-old boy whose future is diminished due to the constraints of living in this open air prison, and U Wirathu, the Buddhist leader of the 969 movement who stokes public support for restrictive laws that have rendered the Rohingya stateless in their own land.