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A behind-the-scenes look at ‘ecosphere,’ a new VR documentary series

‘ecosphere’ sets out to redefine the limits of 3D-180 cameras, natural history storytelling and conservation filmmaking.

This World Oceans Day, we’re pleased to debut ecosphere, a new documentary series for Oculus Quest. Produced in partnership with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Silverback Films Ltd, and Oculus, ecosphere is a three-part journey across some of nature’s most fragile and diverse ecosystems. Narrated by Emmy Award-winning actress Anna Friel (Marcella), ecosphere is available now free on Oculus Quest and Oculus Go.

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Filmmakers have often used VR to give audiences a fresh perspective on critical issues. With ecosphere, VR helps audiences explore the relationship between the people, wildlife, and ecological systems supporting life on Earth. Split into three distinct episodes — Borneo, Kenya, and Raja Ampat — the 180° experience takes you through rainforests, savannahs, and coral reefs, and introduces audiences to the people fighting to protect them from harm. Using the latest image capture technology and filmmaking technique, ecosphere is a profound adventure that both entertains and educates viewers.

To learn more about the ecosphere, and hear insights from the creators behind the project, we spoke with ecosphere Director Joseph Purdam and Oculus Immersive Media Lead Eric Cheng. Below, you’ll find three photo galleries that take you behind the scenes of the production. 

Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery

"Filming what remains of Borneo’s lush tropical landscape was truly humbling, as was the incredible work being done to save the wildlife and guide the country and industry to a more sustainable future. The villagers and families were so welcoming, and the cheeky Orangutan almost managed to keep their hands off the cameras. If you plan to visit, prepare for such high humidity that it feels like it’s raining even when the sun is out."
Joseph Purdam

Local kids were kind enough to show us their favorite parts of the river.
Families are creating new ways of living through sustainable farming and forestry.
On the lookout for furry friends along the The Kinabatangan River.
In Sabah, where they’re making huge strides towards sustainable forestry.
An Orangutan enjoys some Papaya as a treat in the jungles of Sepilok.
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"In Kenya, our first shooting location, we shared the Savannahs with giant African Elephants, lions, and Giraffes. From feeling like one of the herd with Save The Elephants in Samburu, we went North to meet the incredible community rescuing and rehabilitating baby Elephants in Reteti. Then in  Siana, we met the Masai and learned how they are adapting their traditions to align with the natural world and its creatures."
Joseph Purdam

Rafael and his friends from the Masai Moran on our last day of filming.
Witnessing the beauty of Elephant families. They are more similar than you’d imagine.
A local man from Samburu steps into VR for the first time.
Baby elephant feeding time at Reteti. A community united for Elephants.
Our gracious and knowledgeable Elephant whisperer. David from Save the elephants.
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Raja Ampat
"Raja Ampat was the final stop for ecosphere. Here, we didn’t have to change locations every few days and could deeply immerse ourselves in the conservation efforts of the Misool Foundation. Here, after setting up a no-take zone and marine park and with significant community consultation, Misool is arguably the most diverse and thriving marine ecosystem on earth."
Joseph Purdam

Our custom boat / landing pad was invaluable whilst chasing those perfect sunset and sunrise shots.
Cowboy Dan framing up a shot.
The local villagers were more excited to feature in their first VR film!
Local families live just outside the no take zone to fish the overspill. They were so welcoming and gracious
Capturing underwater life while exploring Raja Ampat.
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If you’re ready to start exploring, grab your Oculus Quest or Oculus Go, and check out ecosphere today. For more ways to celebrate World Ocean Day, dive underwater with even more experiences on Oculus TV.

Head over to the Oculus Blog for a full Q&A with the creators of ecosphere.

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