National Geographic’s another step – VR Camera into space

A cool new virtual reality camera arrived at the International Space Station today (Nov. 14) aboard Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft. The camera will be used to film a 3D, 360-degree cinematic virtual reality (VR) experience as part of National Geographic’s upcoming series “One Strange Rock.”

European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli will use the new camera to “lead us on a tour of the space station,” Matt Zymet, National Geographic’s executive director for advanced formats, said in a prelaunch teleconference with reporters. “The idea is to use all of that footage to document a day in the life on the space station.”

The Vuze VR camera, created by a company called Humaneyes, is a compact and lightweight device with the dimensions of a typical four-sided sandwich.

“What is it like to live more than 200 miles above the Earth? Life for the astronauts aboard the International Space Station is unlike anything else — they are among the elite who have left the Earth and seen our home from space,” National Geographic officials said in a statement.

Award-winning filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (director of “Requiem for a Dream”) and the production company Nutopia are working together on this new global series, which will be filmed for 100 weeks around the world and in space.

“The series will use innovative micro- and macro-photography technology and bring cameras where they’ve never been before, to explore how the particularities of Earth’s unique history made it ideally suited as a cradle for life and to demonstrate how the planet’s biological, chemical and physical systems form an interdependent equilibrium, sustaining all the wonders of the living world we know,” Nutopia officials said in a statement.

The virtual reality companion to the television series “will not only give you a sense of what life is like up on the space station, but through the stories that the astronauts who are on our show tell, will really give you a lens on what is amazing about our planet as seen through their eyes from space,” Zymet said.

The series is scheduled to premiere on the National Geographic Channel sometime in 2018. To see Nespoli’s footage in 3D and 360 degrees, viewers will need to use a VR headset, Zymet explained, adding that the videos will mainly be distributed via Facebook, Oculus, YouTube and PlayStation VR platforms.


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