The New York Times Uses Virtual Reality to Take Us to Antarctica

1280px Adelie Penguins on iceberg

Most of us will probably never get the chance to travel to Antarctica ourselves. But, thanks to modern technology and a little help from The New York Times, we can catch a glimpse of the place without ever having to leave home. The paper of record has produced four virtual reality videos from the frozen continent, taking viewers to the bottom of the world to get a sense of what it is like there.

The four clips take us to places like the McMurdo Station and the Ross Ice Shelf to give us a first hand look at Antarctica. The clips take us to the frozen surface of the continent, as well as above and below it, as we explore the environments there. Each of the videos is presented with narration that informs us of what we’re seeing, while also giving us the ability to pan around in 360º to examine the location from different vantage points. The result is a nice mix of informative documentary and freedom to view the film as we choose.

The four videos range in length from 9 to 15 minutes, and they far from static. Each shifts location within the context of the place they are visiting, allowing viewers to get a number of different views from which they can pan around to explore the region. Of course, we also get a healthy dose of information on the current state of the environment in Antarctica, which is threatened dramatically by climate change as well. Particularly on the Ross Ice Shelf, where large chunks of ice are preparing to break off into the sea.

This is a great demonstration of modern technology being used to tell an interesting story. The VR clips can also be viewed in the NYT VR app available for both iOS and Android too, which only opens the door to new possibilities.

If you’re fascinated by the Antarctic like I am, or simply like 360º videos and the use of technology, than you’ll want to check out these short documentaries. View them all here.

Kraig Becker