What if we could preserve the world’s most endangered landscapes in 360° video before it's too late? What if we could create a public platform, where anyone could access high-resolution footage of these places for free?
We call this project Catalog.Earth, and we're starting in Alaska.
We propose an initial expedition to capture 360° footage of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier before it's too late.
As the first chapter of Catalog.Earth, we will personally produce 360° video (4k) and audio (directional) of the glacier at a range of times and locations. The footage will be shared as Public Domain under the Creative Commons License. Our advisors include geologists, 360° video producers, and alpine specialists.
We will document our process and share our challenges, insights, and experiences to publish recommendations and guidelines for future Catalog.Earth submissions. Documentation will include interviews with researchers at the University of Alaska and the US Geological Survey, as well as technical specialists and video journalists. The footage will help promote a robust open-source platform of endangered landscapes in 360° video and audio.
Backers will have access to frequent video, photographic, and written posts in a special blog shared throughout the duration of our journey.
Why The Columbia Glacier
Since 1984, NASA’s Earth Observatory has documented the retreating Columbia Glacier, calling it “one of the most rapidly changing glaciers in the world.”
Satellite images and topographic models express its transformation over the years, and over the past year we have developed a series of interactive and immersive experiences to express the glacier's transformation in VR.
But models are not enough, and we hope to contribute to this archive of scientific documentation with high-definition 360° footage of the Glacier in its current form before it’s too late.
Our Vision for Catalog.Earth
Landscape extinction isn’t just an environmental problem; it’s a human problem. Urbanization, deforestation, tourism, war, and climate change are forever affecting our planet. Many of our most striking landscapes are already lost, only to be remembered in still photography and satellite images.
Catalog.Earth footage will share 360° 4k video and audio recordings of our most perishable places as Public Domain under the Creative Commons license.
The content could be used for:
- Virtual Reality Storytelling
- Scientific Research
- Experiential Design
- Game Development
- 3D Modeling
- You name it… It’s yours to use!
About David and Saba
David and Saba are interaction designers exploring how immersive video and virtual experiences affect the real world. They have spent the last year experimenting with climate change data and VR technology. They have prototyped interactive storytelling concepts for organizations like NPR.
They are currently graduate students based in New York, but bring distinct perspectives to their joint work. David has worked with AIGA to develop emergency response tools, received grants to photograph sustainable land use, and previously published a thesis on the rhetoric of the BBC's Planet Earth series. Saba has developed storytelling tools and has presented at the Sunbelt Conference; she is a keen oil painter and is inspired by cross-cultural experiences.
Let's find out what happens when an Iraqi-American from Baltimore and an Indian from Qatar head to the Arctic...
Gear, Technology, and the End Result
To successfully complete this mission, we expect to use two Samsung Gear 360 cameras to capture 4K 360° footage of the Glacier. We will record 360° / directional audio footage, though this is not set in stone. We will bring the Ricoh Theta S for behind the scenes footage. Our drone situation is TBT; we'll have one for sure but do not know which one at this time - any thoughts? Please share!
We anticipate spending two days on the glacier with support from local guides) to capture footage at different times of the day and from different angles. We will also use this equipment to record our journey, and any interviews and conversations we will have with experts in the field.
We will post all this footage on our website as well as on Github.com and public video channels so that people may follow our progress and journey as we complete the first step to preserving the most endangered landscapes in the world. All uploaded footage of the Columbia Glacier will be available for public use under the Creative Commons License as soon as it is posted online on any of our channels.
All pledges support the expedition to capture footage at Alaska's Columbia Glacier. A Detailed view of our budget is provided below, so please check out the great rewards we offer!
- $25 - A digital, 360° "postcard" of the Columbia Glacier
- $50 - Interactive digital wallpaper and poster
- $100 - A personal 360° video message from the Glacier, which can be viewed on any device as well as using VR headsets
- $200 - Custom Catalog.Earth VR Cardboard Headset with a personal 360 video message.
- $360 - The 360 Package: 3 custom VR Cardboard headsets and 3 personal 60-second video messages for your friends, colleagues, family or anyone you chose!
- $500 - Skype with us live from the Glacier!
- $1,000 - Sounds of Ice: Name the Mic! SOLD
- $2,000 - Eye on the Prize: Name Camera 1! SOLD
- $2,000 - Crystal Clear: Name Camera 2! SOLD
- $3,600 - Workshop 360: We will lead a workshop on 360° storytelling and endangered landscapes for a team, class, or group of your choice.
Risks and challenges
We have outlined two primary risks and challenges that could complicate the execution of our project: unpredictable weather conditions and technical equipment breakdown.
Unpredictable weather at the Columbia Glacier may challenge our expedition to capture footage at certain sites. To minimize risk, we will be traveling to the glacier at recommended times during the optimal season for this project and the desired footage. However, we are aware that in an environment as volatile as the Columbia Glacier, weather conditions could delay travel and increase costs.
A second challenge we face is transporting and maintaining equipment in extreme conditions. We will be bringing a backup camera and audio recording equipment in the event we experience any breakdown. This has increased our budget, but it is critical to ensuring success on our initial expedition for Catalog.Earth. We have also identified equipment providers and technical repair centers in Anchorage, Alaska.
These risks and challenges, among other obstacles that could impact our work in Alaska, may impact content capture for any future endangered landscape. Thus, our documentation of our process will be a critical deliverable from this project and will advise future efforts to advance Catalog.Earth.
We are grateful to our network of journalists, scientists, designers, engineers, and backers, who have shared their expertise to advance this project and offered their support to face our challenges in the future.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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