MORE DIG­I­TAL DES­TI­NA­TIONS

Metro (UK) - - CONNECT -

Stand­ing at a jaw-drop­ping 29,029ft, Mount Ever­est is, of course, the high­est moun­tain in the world. Now you can make the gru­elling as­cent with­out the as­sis­tance of bot­tled oxy­gen, all the while munch­ing on a pack of Hula Hoops if you fancy.

To ef­fort­lessly achieve this on­cein-a-life­time climb, you’ll need to strap on an Ocu­lus Quest VR head­set and tune into Ocu­lus TV’s Ever­est VR: Jour­ney To The Top Of The World (free, Ocu­lus Quest from £399, Ocu­lus Go from £189). The three-part VR do­cuseries will give you a 360-de­gree first-per­son per­spec­tive of one of the most dan­ger­ous jour­neys in the world.

But how was it con­structed? Cap­tured in im­mer­sive 8K stereo­scopic 360 over the course of three years, film-maker Jonathan Grif­fith and climber Ueli Steck, along­side a small team of ad­ven­tur­ers, car­ried mul­ti­ple stereo­scopic 360 cam­eras, rig­ging and other kit from the Alps all the way to Ever­est’s sum­mit. Faced with many chal­leng­ing set-ups, they used the Yi Halo and a 17-cam­era cir­cu­lar ar­ray, as well as the Z CAM V1 and V1 Pro cam­eras, to bring to­gether a huge amount of footage.

You won’t get 8K vi­su­als be­cause the Ocu­lus head­sets don’t sup­port it but when you’re star­ing into the depths of a crevasse, avoid­ing avalanches or just gaw­ping at the beauty of the French Alps and Hi­malayan moun­tains, the high level of de­tail can’t be ig­nored.

The 360-de­gree vi­su­als give you a sense of the scale and steep­ness of the climb, not to men­tion the un­par­al­leled dan­ger and stren­u­ous phys­i­cal ef­fort it takes to ac­com­plish it.

Post-climb, the footage was edited, graded and stitched to­gether with DaVinci Re­solve Stu­dio and Fu­sion Stu­dio. The for­mer en­sured footage was hon­est and true-to-life, while the lat­ter han­dled the more in­tense stitch­ing work from stereo­scopic align­ment fixes, mo­tion graph­ics and rig re­moval, to sta­bil­i­sa­tion, stereo cor­rec­tion and re­ori­ent­ing 360 im­agery.

While the ex­pe­ri­ence can’t mimic the crunch of snow un­der your boots, you do get to soak in some stun­ning footage of a place most of us will never get to see in per­son.

If you want to turn up the graph­ics a notch, Me­mo­ria: Sto­ries Of La Garma (£4.56) for the HTC Vive face fur­ni­ture fam­ily, Valve In­dex and Win­dows Mixed Re­al­ity head­sets is a great shout.

Set in Pa­le­olithic-era Spain, the ex­pe­ri­ence al­lows you to ex­plore cave paint­ings and bone arte­facts that re­mained un­touched and undis­turbed for thou­sands of years – un­til they were dis­cov­ered re­cently, mapped and cap­tured for VR with mil­li­met­ric pre­ci­sion us­ing laser scan­ners and pho­togram­me­try.

Given that only 50 peo­ple have have en­tered the caves in the last 16,000 years, we’re go­ing to bet that this is your only shot at see­ing what’s in­side.

Na­tional Ge­o­graphic has added Peru’s Machu Pic­chu – one of the great­est ar­chae­o­log­i­cal finds of the 20th cen­tury – as a dig­i­tal des­ti­na­tion in its Ex­plore VR Ocu­lus

Quest app (£7.99). The team be­hind it spent two weeks tak­ing more than 25,000 snaps to bring a pho­to­re­al­is­tic ex­pe­ri­ence to this in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­di­tion and the end re­sult is a truly im­mer­sive three­d­i­men­sional en­vi­ron­ment.

When you’re done there, pop over to Antarc­tica and step into the shoes of a Na­tional Ge­o­graphic ex­plorer. Nav­i­gate around ice­bergs in a kayak us­ing con­trollers or climb a mas­sive ice shelf and search for a lost pen­guin colony – all while still be­ing able to feel your fin­gers and toes.

The na­ture en­thu­si­asts also launched an­other YouTube doc­u­men­tary se­ries called Into Wa­ter. It fea­tures ex­plor­ers ven­tur­ing into places such as Ice­land’s glaciers and In­done­sia’s co­ral reefs that can be en­joyed on a com­pat­i­ble VR head­set, in­clud­ing Google’s cheap-as-chips card­board head­set (£12.30), as well as on your com­puter or smart­phone. While you’re there, check out the BBC Natural His­tory Unit’s 360-de­gree 3D videos, which in­clude one that takes in div­ing with gi­ant manta rays in Mex­ico.

And if you fancy hav­ing a peep at what’s been hap­pen­ing around the world, When We Stayed Home (free) is a se­ries of VR doc­u­men­taries for the Ocu­lus Quest and Go, cre­ated in part­ner­ship with Unesco and cap­tured by city lo­cals who walk you through what the world was like on pause. Cities on dis­play in­clude Venice, Paris, Tokyo and Jerusalem.

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