Virtual reality and 360 video is a fantastic way of bringing new experiences to people. So when we won the contract to supply marketing videos to the Falkland Islands Tourist Board, VR was the obvious choice for creating truly immersive content. One of the experiences we wanted to capture was with the Southern Elephant Seals on Sea Lion Island in the south of The Falkland Islands. These beasts of the seal world are enormous, the adult males can weigh up to 4 tonnes and can be over 6 metres in length! In February they haul up on the beach to malt. So it was a unique opportunity to capture this incredible wildlife in 360 VR.
We got up before sunrise, and headed out of The Lodge, Sea Lion Island’s only hotel, with our VR kit, to the beach. We had to carefully negotiate a path though the elephant seals to find a good location to place the camera, to ensure the VR experience was right in the middle of the action. Walking through a colony of massive, fairly grumpy and very stinky Elephant seals was an experience in itself. They hiss and grunt at you, to let you know to keep your distance. We filmed early to capture the seals when they are most active. They fight with each other and explore along the water’s edge.
Once the camera was carefully placed, it was time to hide ourselves from view. This is not easy when shooting VR as everything is in view. We also had to be aware of the massive creatures in case they decided to go Fabi the Tiger on our kit. Keeping ourselves, Elephant Seals and the equipment safe made for a pretty tense experience. As the sun came up, it blessed us with clear blue skies. We were ready to roll.
Next we needed to record some audio -“wild track” – and at this point you realise just what an amazing sound scape this island is. The sound of the sea, combined with the birds and the strange noises the seals add up to quite a hubbub. These sounds plus the images will allow the viewer to feel like they’re actually there. Slap bang in the middle of these epic creatures. The only thing that’s missing is the smell, but on this occasion, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
360 VR wildlife (not Falklands)
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