PBS’ VR debut and WWII tank battles highlight this week’s top 360° videos

by Will Mason • October 3rd, 2015

Whether or not you believe 360 video is actually “VR,” it is a vein of content which is undoubtedly going to help propel VR into the mainstream – especially on mobile platforms. With filmmakers now armed with places to distribute their content, they are rapidly finding new ways to explore the medium and the amount of content is beginning to really explode. With these thoughts in mind it feels like the right time to begin to give credit to some of those videos that stand above the rest.

These are some of the 360 videos that really caught our eye this week:

GORONGOSA PARK: Rebirth of Paradise VR

PBS jumps into the 360 video game with this short piece hosted by Emmy-award winning cinematographer, Bob Poole. In the video, which was produced by DRYFT, Poole takes you on a journey through Gorongosa Park in Mozambique Africa as a part of the PBS TV documentary series Gorongosa Park: Rebirth of Paradise. Featuring some absolutely gorgeous visuals, awesome overlay elements, and nary a single stitch line in sight, this video is one that should not be missed.

1941 Battle: 360° Reenactment

This piece, which was produced by Google and World of Tanks, takes you on the battlefield to witness an epic battle between two opposing tank armies. You’ll see a number of German tanks, such as the Pz.Kpfw. III medium tank as well as the StuG III self-propelled-gun as well as Soviet tanks like the T-34-76 and the BT-7. The video contains some fun drone based camera movement, although about 12 seconds in the shadow of the drone does break the suspension of disbelief in the historical scene.

Greenland, where climate change meets the eye

This tour of Greenland gives viewers a unique look into the ways that climate change is affecting our planet. One thing in particular that we really loved was the way that the experience redirects one’s attention to the data overlaid in the scene. Using a slow moving arrow, the video encourages users to move to the point where the data will be displayed in the scene.

Heroes in 360

Youtube star FinalCutKing debuts his first 360 video with a bang, in this piece which appears to have been made with support from NBC’s Heroes RebornWhen Georges Méliès first stumbled upon the cut he realized that he was able to create magic, making things seemingly disappear right before the audience’s eyes. FinalCutKing uses some nifty camera and effects tricks to create a similar type of magic in 360 video. Definitely worth the watch.

As It Is – A Grand Canyon VR Documentary (Trailer)

While only a trailer for the full documentary, this video from 360 Labs really manages to impress with its combination of some stellar shots (including amazingly stable whitewater rafting footage in 360) and storytelling. The video was recorded, surprisingly, on a GoPro camera rig yet still manages to look like something shot with far more expensive equipment. In the full documentary, which should arrive this winter, “will take you on a journey down the mighty Colorado River to see the Grand Canyon as too few do, from the bottom, looking up. You will run it’s biggest whitewater rapids. You will explore its narrow slot canyons. You will travel through “geologic time” as you glide through the Vishnu Schist. And you will learn, what too few people have been down there to see…what could be lost if development shatters this vast wilderness.”

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