Help VR Save Grand Canyon!
A 360º Video & Virtual Reality Experience Exploring How A Proposed Gondola Resort Will Impact the Grand Canyon from Rim to River
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 Chrome (Click and drag on desktop) and on Android (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 will 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 will never be the same, unless we rally the public to action.
This year, millions of people will be discovering 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 Save The Grand Canyon.
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 Save 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 be both hiking into the Little Colorado River (LCR) drainage and again rafting the Colorado River with Western River Expeditions. We will 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.
Our budgeted project goal will be consumed mostly by VR application development with stretch goals feeding advanced VR experience design. We dream of options like hotspots leading the user through a web of multimedia in the VR shell.
We will capture amazing 360º VR content and standard media formats, with a bit of effort, but we need your help making "as it is" work across platforms.
We dare to dream:
$35,000 - Will provide us with an additional $10K to purchase new 360º audio gear to capture and deliver 360º 3D sound in "as it is". This goal takes additional equipment, a field mixer, and additional development to implement the 3D sound into the apps. 3D sound hasn't been perfected in VR, so this is totally new ground.
$45,000 - Will allow us to build a 360º rig from DSLR cameras to capture a day-to-night 360º time lapse under the fantastic canopy of stars only found in the deep wilderness. Something few people today ever get to see. Such a shot requires additional equipment, great weather, and lot's of time, adding significantly to production costs.
$55,000 - May allow us to shoot in 3Dx360º video that doesn't make your eyes hurt or distract from the experience, but augments the VR with natural depth that surrounds you in VR.
Because technology around VR changes just about every week, the priority of our stretch goals may be subject to change depending on availability of hardware or software needed. Ideally, we'd like to do all three so please help us get there!
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. 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 last month. Facebook recently 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.
That said, we don't control the VR platforms, and apps need approval. There should be no reason for rejection, but it is out of our hands, so that is a challenge.
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. One gallon of water per person per day is the minimum requirement for hydration in this place. The hike has an accumulated gain of 3,187ft and no water but for the calcium carbonate and parasite loaded LCR. Round trip to The Confluence is at least 12 miles. Dehydration is the real killer in the Grand Canyon. Water will be an issue. Rocks, too. Hiking unestablished trails means loose rock. One dehydration-induced, careless step while rigging cameras, packing gear, or just hiking can lead to helicopter evacuation or worse.
We will have loads of equipment and will need to sleep separately (without a base camp) in low-impact bivouacs to leave no trace on the area ourselves.
Weather and timing are important risks to consider on any production. We want to capture the Little Colorado when it's water is following turquoise blue, but one rain cloud opening up over it's drainage can turn the LCR into a free-flowing mocha latte. Our logistical plan has us going at the right time of year for the best waters conditions, but northern Arizona has been seeing strange weather lately.
We will overcome our challenges and risks with planning, determination, and help from the many friends of the Grand Canyon. We would not come to you without a definitive plan, but we can't share exact specifics of how we plan to pull this off just yet. There is simply too much incentive for some people to try and stop the truth from being shown.
#WeAreGrand #SaveTheConfluence #SaveGrandCanyon
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