Have you ever wondered what life looked like at the very beginning, before humans or even the dinosaurs walked the Earth? Well now you can in David Attenborough’s First Life VR, a virtual reality film that takes you into the heart of an ancient world with one of the greatest naturalists of modern times.
With David Attenborough as your guide, together you explore the ancient Cambrian ocean in this 15 minute film which takes you on a journey of discovery to unearth the secrets of the evolution of the first life on Earth.
Here you meet Earth’s earliest inhabitants, coming face to face with extraordinary extinct sea creatures including the fearsome Anomalocaris and the curious looking Opabinia.
First Life is a fully rendered 360 CGI environment created by award winning SFX studio ZooFX who have created graphics for Hollywood films including Gravity.
Working closely with experts and using real fossil data the team were able to accurately reconstruct these incredible extinct creatures in detail. The experience has been shown in some the world’s leading cultural organisations including London’s Natural History Museum and the Australian Museum in Sydney, but now thanks to PlayStation VR, you can watch this incredible experience without having to leave your sofa.
“The extraordinary thing about putting on a virtual reality headset is that it transports you into worlds you are utterly immersed in,” says Alchemy CEO Anthony Geffen. “It gives you a sense of presence that you just don’t get from any other experience”.
On virtual reality, David Attenborough stated that “we’re on the brink of a simply enormous change in visual communication” and First Life is a great example of this as it demonstrates how virtual reality is the perfect tool to transport users to places that they would otherwise never be able to visit.
In Alchemy’s next experience, you are back in the present on a journey to the incredible island paradise of Cocos, just off the coast of Costa Rica, and once described by the legendary underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau as “the most beautiful island in the world”.
Here you dive deep into its rich waters, discovering its incredible wildlife. But at night this underwater world transforms from a tranquil place to something quite different – these waters are teeming with sharks and when the sun goes down you witness first-hand what a shark feeding frenzy is like in the deep dark of night.
Alchemy teamed up with Alucia Productions on board the state-of-the-art research and exploration vessel the Alucia to bring Cocos: Shark Island to life, using the very latest in in 360 filming technology and under watering housing equipment, operated by expert divers, to capture the behaviour of these extraordinary underwater predators for the first time ever in full 360. The Alucia is equipped with two submarines, a helicopter, dry lab, wet lab, and a state of the art scuba unit.
What gives this experience an extra edge was the access to the Alucia’s Triton submersible, Geffen explains that “the Triton submersible is an incredible vessel that is capable of diving to depths of 1000m and can stay submerged for up to eight hours at a time, this gave the team the opportunity to capture even more of this ecosystems diverse wildlife – much more so than divers go do alone”.
The result is a 9 minute film that allows you to sit in the centre of this underwater world whilst also educating you on the species that you see throughout the experience.
The Bikini Atoll is an incredibly remote location and Alchemy again teamed up with Alucia Productions on board the team were aboard the Alucia for just under three weeks, which incorporated the long journey and the actual shooting time. The team used a specially designed camera rig for Ghost Ships and as with Cocos used a combination of expert divers and the Triton submersible to capture the underwater sequences.
Seventy years ago a series of atomic bombs were detonated over these islands as part of Operation Crossroads; with decorated World War II warships as the targets and the islands becoming off-limits to mankind, saturated in radioactive fallout. But in 2015, back aboard the Alucia, Alchemy VR returned to discover the secret below the waves – the graveyard of these wrecked titans.
In this film you journey inside the hidden rooms of ships including the USS Saratoga, the biggest and most impressive ship sunk during Operation Crossroads which enemy forces claimed to destroy on numerous occasions during the war, and the HIJMS Nagato that acted as the nerve centre of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour.
Atomic Ghost Fleet is in an 18 minute experience that combines world first 360 degree footage and archive materials with rare and poignant insight creating a haunting and truly impactful experience.
The Bikini Atoll is an incredibly remote location the team were aboard the Alucia for just under three weeks, which incorporated the long journey and the actual shooting time. The team used a specially designed camera rig for Ghost Ships and as with Cocos used a combination of expert divers and the Triton submersible to capture the underwater sequences.
Geffen concludes that “Alchemy are continuously innovating and providing more immersive and compelling content. We are thrilled to be collaborating with PlayStation and look forward to producing more high-end, factual, immersive and cutting-edge projects over the coming years for PS VR”.