This project has been relaunched.
Help VR Save Grand Canyon! was the our first attempt on Kickstarter to fund this project. Since we are making this documentary, we thought we would simply relaunch with a lower fundraising bar for those who would still like to contribute.
Maybe you saw us in Outside Magazine? The Portland Business Journal? Maybe Road To VR? In any case, welcome. This is our passion project.
When we heard about the Escalade proposal, we were astonished at how close it was to becoming a reality. Last month, the Navajo People held a historic election, and appear to have beaten back the interests in desecrating their land on the rim and by the river in the eastern Grand Canyon.
We still plan to tell the story, in VR, and take you for a fantastic journey to a place too few ever get to see at the heart of America's premier natural attraction.
What is a VR Documentary?
Virtual Reality (VR) can take you to another place and time, real or imagined. At 360 Labs, we focus on photorealistic, cinematic VR with 360º video. Basically, we shoot video in all directions with specially designed 360º camera arrays. We stitch all of the video together into a "sphere of view" that is wrapped around you when wearing VR headsets, moving your mobile device, or clicking and dragging on your desktop screen.
It's like Google Street View, but in video.
Explore the Grand Canyon in 360º video via YouTube in a Chrome browser (click and drag on desktop) and on Android device (YouTube app - move your device)
Read more about our first Grand Canyon trip last August here - http://www.westernriver.com/360/
iOS users can get the Kolor Eyes app (with even more 360º functionality) at our website here - http://360labs.net/video/sneak-peek-grand-canyon-video-view
Oculus Rift users can use Vrideo to explore the Grand Canyon here - http://www.vrideo.com/watch/OLHoLEO
What is "As It Is" about?
Last month, Smithsonian Magazine asked, "Who Can Save the Grand Canyon?" in a stunning essay by David Roberts here.
"As It Is" will take you there, in VR, to the sacred sites in the heart of the wilderness that would be impacted by the proposed Grand Canyon Escalade development, a resort on the east rim that threatens to ruin the view and flood the Inner Gorge with over 4 million people per year via a ski resort-like Gondola/Tram from rim to river.
The Grand Canyon would never have been the same, but, for now, the Navajo people have protected their land. We want to tell you how, and show you why, in VR.
This year, millions of people will discover Virtual Reality for the first time on platforms like the Samsung GearVR, Oculus Rift, and Google Cardboard.
We want to take them into this incredible place in VR and inspire them to Protect The Grand Canyon from future threats.
Our 360º Vision For "As It Is"
On the canyon rim, where the Navajo people cast corn pollen into the wind in prayers that need silence to be heard, "As It Is" will take you there.
To the turquoise waters and travertine terraces of the flowing oasis that is the Little Colorado River, "As It Is" will take you there.
Where the two rivers meet at a place long known simply as The Confluence, "As It Is" will take you there.
You will run the mighty Colorado River, floating through it's Grand Canyon and some of the world's biggest whitewater rapids.
You will meet the people who have called this place home for centuries and be with them to hear their stories.
You will feel that you know the place, because "As It Is" will take you there.
You will want to protect it...
and so will everyone you share it with...
and everyone they share it with...
and it will be FREE FOR EVERYONE...
And together, with your help, VR will Protect Grand Canyon!
Over 100 years ago, Teddy Roosevelt famously implored Americans to leave the Grand Canyon "as it is" for future generations.
"In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it."
President Theodore Roosevelt 1908
The 360º Mission
360 Labs is heading back to Arizona with one goal in mind, to bring the world the absolute best quality VR experience possible. We are bringing 20 years experience in 360º content creation, multiple 360º camera configurations, 360º audio capture equipment, and maybe even custom built 360º prototypes.
We will again be rafting the Colorado River with Western River Expeditions. We will also conduct 360º interviews with key stake holders at the Grand Canyon NP, Confluence Partners, LLC (the corporation behind the development), Save The Confluence, Grand Canyon Trust, and American Rivers. We will capture feel of a Grand Canyon river trip in VR and bring it to you so that each time you watch "As It Is" you will find something new to explore.
We've trimmed our budget significantly since the last campaign, and we are now focused on simply covering our expenses. We will make "As It Is", regardless of Kickstarter funding, but you are helping us make it better and without significant debt incurred. Did I mention that "As It Is" will be free for everyone, so please help us give it away.
Funds raised in this Kickstarter campaign will go towards:
- Flights to Arizona to raft the Colorado and interview stakeholders
- Hard costs of a six day rafting trip, guide gratuity
- film permits
- memory cards
- additional expertise
Our Current Partners
Who Are We?
360 Labs has been creating 360º content for more than 10 years. CoFounder Thomas Hayden was a producer of the first Google StreetView imagery in 2006, captured 360º photos for clients like U2 and the NFL, and created award winning 360º video experiences with Beck, Lincoln, National Geographic, and VISA. Thomas was also among the first Google Trusted Independent Photographers in the country, followed shortly by both Matt Rowell and Brad Gill. Matt is an expert content creator with 10 years in media creation and web design. Brad Gill holds a BofA in Marketing and brings a wide knowledge of real estate and virtual tour creation. Their first project together in 2012 was a virtual guide to the businesses of Portland, OR called SeeInsidePDX.com.
Risks and challenges
Our single greatest challenge is convincing the National Park Service and conservationists leading the fight against the "Grand Canyon Escalator" that VR is good enough today to affect people's hearts & minds. We want them to have a powerful VR experience in their quiver for the battle to come. So, we've come to you to get it made.
Other than that, our technology challenges decrease daily. YouTube opened to 360º video content in March 2015. Facebook soon vowed to do the same. Billions of dollars are flowing into VR as the tech giants wage their battle for VR supremacy. New platforms for our content are springing up weekly and getting better every day.
There are rattlesnakes in the Grand Canyon. Mountain lions, too, but these aren't the risks that terrify us. The Grand Canyon is no joke. Dehydration is the real killer in the Grand Canyon. Water will be an issue. Rocks, too. One dehydration-induced, careless step while rigging cameras, packing gear, or just hiking can lead to helicopter evacuation or worse.
Too much water is also a problem on a Grand Canyon river trip. Our gear will ride in protected Pelican Cases for most of the whitewater, but there will be moments when cases are open, sand-saturated water comes popping over the side. It's a tough environment for camera gear of any variety.
We will overcome our challenges and risks with planning, determination, and help from the many friends of the Grand Canyon.
#WeAreGrand #SaveTheConfluence #SaveGrandCanyon
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