The Amazon rainforest is just a few clicks away with this new canopy-diving, sloth-dodging, immersive 360-degree virtual reality (VR) video.
“Under the Canopy” is a new project from nonprofit group Conservation International, bringing the latest filming and VR technology to one of nature's greatest endeavors. Along with providing a beautiful and entertaining experience, they also hope to raise aware of what’s at stake from the perils of deforestation in the Amazon.
Why is this important? Well, for starters, the area holds 40 percent of the carbon stocks of tropical forests globally. It provides 20 percent of the world’s breathable oxygen, 20 percent of the world’s fresh water, and holds more species of plants and animals than anywhere else on the planet. Additionally, it’s home to a number of indigenous peoples, each with a rich history and culture.
The 11-minute long video is best seen through a VR headset, however, it still makes for great viewing on any screen. Simply by clicking around the screen, you can “look around” the scenes while the story plays out. There’s also a handful of bonus behind-the-scenes videos explaining some of the impressive techniques they used to capture this footage.
It begins as you descend down a 60-meters-high (200 feet) Ceiba tree to a panoramic view of the great forest around Suriname, and in Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park. Once you hit the ground, you’re introduced to Kamanja Panashekung, a native of the forest who acts as your personal guide through the gorgeous ecosystem and its potentially dark future.
“Under the Canopy gives those who may never visit the Amazon rainforest an opportunity to rappel down a 200-foot tree, see its wildlife up close, and understand what is at risk. Sustaining the Amazon is not an option, it is a necessity,” said Dr. M. Sanjayan, Conservation International executive vice president and senior scientist.
Turn down the lights, hit the fullscreen button, and enjoy.