START VR VIRTUALLY TRANSPORTS VIEWERS TO WONDROUS LOCATIONS WITH ATLAS OBSCURA VR
“Globetrotting Through Virtual Reality Unlocks Unforgettable Travel Experiences, Captivating Imagery, Mini-Documentaries and Interactive Puzzles”
Sydney, Australia and Los Angeles-based virtual reality studio Start VR sparks the ultimate wanderlust with the self-paced interactive travel experience Atlas Obscura VR, in collaboration with Atlas Obscura—the definitive guide to the world’s hidden wonders. Allowing aspiring voyagers to navigate the globe without leaving their homes, the travel experience transports viewers off the beaten path and into destinations that are as unusual as they are fascinating. The Atlas Obscura VR experience kicks off its first season of content with experiential visits to The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA; The Temples of Humankind: Damanhur in Italy and The Salina Turda salt mine in Romania, among many others.
The Atlas Obscura VR app is now available in the Oculus store for the Gear VR headset and will soon be available for other platforms.
Notes Start VR’s Chief Content Officer Martin Taylor, “We strongly believe VR is more compelling as an interactive medium when it engages the visitor in the story. For this project we captured the most fascinating features and stories from each destination to provide visitors with the impression that they’re traveling with a companion and to give them the intuitive freedom to explore and interact at their own pace.”
A key feature to the VR experience is the mysterious underground “Atlasphere”; a powerful machine inspired by iconic postmodern and brutalist architecture, capable of teleporting visitors to destinations around the world. The interface hosts the episodes, articles and other immersive content.
Start VR’s creative team traveled to each locale to capture the high-quality imagery and immersive footage through 360 stereoscopic location shooting. Start VR also leveraged their technological expertise to fuse live-action VR content with the artistic CG imagery to create a high-fidelity experience.
There is currently over 45 minutes of interactive content with each 15-minute episode offering an adventure-filled experience. Holographic versions of Atlas Obscura co-founder Dylan Thuras and Senior Editor Ella Morton host the episodes, teasing at the thrilling story behind each destination, touching on intriguing historical information and the unique factors that make up each episode.
Notes Atlas Obscura Co-founder Dylan Thuras, “Many VR nonfiction apps, especially in travel, approach the VR medium by simply dragging the viewer along, or plopping them down somewhere with no ability to explore, but that’s not the true experience of travel! With Atlas Obscura VR, we wanted to capture the experience of exploring a fascinating location and not knowing what’s around the corner.”
Adds Thuras, “We wanted to push what the VR nonfiction experience could be, both by choosing the most unusual, incredible locations possible and by using a mix of photogrammetry, high-resolution stereo imagery and documentary all set within an environment where the explorer gets to decide where to go and what to do next.”
The Temples of Humankind: Damanhur episode is free to download and the following two episodes are available for purchase. Within the first month after release, 30 virtual articles will be available to be unlocked and an additional 20 to 30 locations, both local to the U.S and remote, are to be subsequently released. With new content being periodically released, the long-term app provides brands with the opportunity to get involved by sponsoring upcoming content.
About Start VR
Start VR is a cinematic virtual reality studio, creating highly immersive experiences and interactive content. A leader in longer form VR entertainment that resonates with viewers, the company is known for its compelling narratives, and best of class, blockbuster-quality visuals. Thanks to the in-depth industry knowledge and vast technical, design and production experience of Start VR’s team, the company consistently turns out polished, critically acclaimed experiences that are not soon forgotten.
Start VR’s beautifully made work is designed to spark unprecedented levels of engagement and viewer involvement, pushing the envelope to explore the storytelling capabilities of virtual reality.
About Atlas Obscura
In an age where everything seems to have been explored and there is nothing new to be found, Atlas Obscura celebrates a different way of looking at the world. With more than 5 million monthly readers worldwide, 500,000 email subscribers, and 200,000 registered users, Atlas Obscura is a multiplatform media and experiences brand devoted to discovery, wonder, and exploration. The heart of Atlas Obscura is a user-created guide to the world’s most incredible places, from miniature cities, to glass flowers, to gigantic flaming holes in the ground, to bone churches, to balancing pagodas,to homes built entirely out of paper. Our first book, Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders, was published in 2016 and was a No. 1 New York Times and No. 1 Amazon bestseller.