BBC tests viewer appetite for VR with slate of storytelling experiments

The BBC has released three new pieces of virtual reality content, including a spacewalk and a migrant's view of being smuggled, to test the public appetite for the medium.

Image from 'Home - A VR Spacewalk'
Image from 'Home - A VR Spacewalk'

‘Home - A VR Spacewalk’ was created for HTC’s Vive hardware by BBC Learning in partnership with production company Rewind.

Participants test their hand-eye coordination as they explore the story set 250 miles above the earth, while integrated Bluetooth heartrate monitors feedback the sound of their heartbeat to replicate the enclosed atmosphere of a spacesuit.

‘We Wait’, the migrant story, was created for the Oculus Rift hardware by BBC R&D in partnership with production company Aardman Digital and is being promoted with this trailer:



It is based on accounts gathered by BBC News from migrants and brought to life in collaboration with Aardman Animations using animation techniques. ‘We Wait’ enables the user to get a visceral understanding of what it is like to be on board a vessel as it crosses the Mediterranean - something that it would not be possible to do through traditional reporting.

‘Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel’ was created for Oculus Rift and Samsung VR by BBC Learning and Crossover Labs.

Users are taken back to the streets of Dublin in 1916 to relive the memories of 19-year-old Willie McNieve, a rebel who took part in the Easter Rising against the British.

Andy Conroy, controller of BBC R&D, said: "We are learning a great deal from these experiments about production techniques and workflows, user experience, and the technology of capture and distribution, but above all we want to know how our audience feels about these new forms of storytelling."

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