News: BBC VR App Lets You Travel Planet Earth II from Your Phone

BBC VR App Lets You Travel Planet Earth II from Your Phone

The BBC's Taster VR app released July 5 is providing new experiences visible on both iOS and Android, and one of the releases is a VR version of Planet Earth II. It is viewable on YouTube and works properly when viewed with a mobile VR headset.

(FYI though, the BBC site recommends Google Cardboard for the best VR experience.)

The Taster app is BBC's first non-standalone VR project. Right now it includes pieces from both Planet Earth II and the BBC Three channel, but it's planned to include more experimental content as well in the future. The app will also have "animated VR, interactive 360° videos, dynamic binaural audi,o and branching narratives" the BBC says.

The Planet Earth II VR version lets viewers choose where they go, jumping to beautifully different ecosystems around the world. It is drawn from the Planet Earth II documentary the BBC released in 2016, narrated by the iconic David Attenborough. Now the VR version gives 360 degrees to journey through the places filmed, with both sound and visuals.

The VR version of the documentary is in separate videos for each location, from cities to deserts to the jungle. That last one also provides "360 degree spatial sound" of that environment for a more complete experience. And you can see an apparently-familiar city ecosystem from a new perspective — the viewpoint of an urban fox.

Planet Earth II was the first BBC program in ultra-high-definition and got 100% on the Tomatometer with a 96% audience score. Both the original Planet Earth and Planet Earth II have been hailed for their sometimes-breathtaking and expansive views, and were filmed in a way that makes the viewer feel almost that they're moving with the camera through a place.

That makes it an exciting choice for VR, what was already considered a fairly immersive experience will be even more so. After letting viewers do possibly the closest thing to traveling through diverse landscapes and ecosystems, it remains to be seen what else might be created to rival what you can find on the planet itself.

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Cover image via the BBC

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