National Geographic conjures up stunning images of remote places, natural wonders and magical creatures. Whether paging through a Nat Geo magazine or watching a Nat Geo documentary, one is transported to a world one hardly believes that one inhabits. But now, with the help of virtual reality technology, one can strap on a VR headset and inhabit that world which was previously only on magazine pages or a screen.
National Geographic announced this week that it plans to form its own virtual reality studio, called NG VR STUDIO. The announcement was made at a NewFronts presentation in New York. The studio will create virtual reality experiences that will take viewers to the front lines of the action, placing them on the ground alongside Nat Geo explorers, photographers and storytellers. Already the creator of master pieces like the critically acclaimed documentary series Explorer, the 128-year old scientific and educational non-profit, is in a prime position to bring the world virtual reality experiences that are bound to enthral and engage.
The entry of such a prestigious organization in the creation of VR content can only benefit the VR industry. Already known for top quality content that has resulted in a membership close to 7 million, one thing one can be pretty sure of, the NG VR STUDIO content will be tops. This is an important factor for the mainstream acceptance of VR.
The studio will offer both original and franchise experiences of popular documentary series like Explorer, transporting users deep inside the stories, taking them with on assignment with photographers and filmmakers such as Brian Skerry and Renan Ozturk. Ahead of the global television event MARS by Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment and Radical Media, the studio will show a simulation of what it takes to build a home on the Red Planet.
National Geographic is not new to immersive technologies. The organization has been working with Augmented Pixels, a leading developer of interactive solutions for augmented and virtual experiences since 2014. Using virtual reality and augmented reality technology, Augmented Pixels creates technologies and interactive solutions for global businesses to generate sales in retail, marketing, real estate, architecture, design, entertainment and events.
Founded back in 2010 and originally Ukrainian-based, Augmented Pixels relocated their operations to Palo Alto in California after obtaining $1 million in funding in May 2015. The funds were earmarked for the continued development of their platform, new technologies for 3-D scanning and the creation of inexpensive, but high quality virtual reality content.