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Time Inc. Launches LIFE VR Platform

Life VR Logo

A first look at launch content that includes 360° videos from VR Playhouse and Wevr.

Time Inc. is rebooting the LIFE brand for a new era, bringing the compelling stories you would expect from the iconic magazine to life in virtual reality.

Announced on Tuesday, Time Inc. unveiled LIFE VR, a VR and 360° video app available on both iOS and Android devices. The newly launched app is expected to house content from the company’s various other brands like InStyle and Sports Illustrated.

At launch, the dedicated VR platform features immersive content including: “Defying the Nazis,” the VR companion to the new Ken Burns PBS documentary; “Fast Ride” from The Drive, which puts you in the passenger seat of one of the world’s fastest cars; and “LUMEN” a nonlinear interactive experience that helps users de-stress in minutes.

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LIFE VR is available as a free app download and its programming is also expected to be distributed across VR platforms like the HTC VIVE, Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. 360° videos will be available on desktop and mobile web, across Time Inc. websites and at Time.com/LifeVR and TheDrive.com at launch, as a precursor to a larger 360-degree video effort from Time Inc., which will be formally launched later in the fall.

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For now, Time Inc. is setting the tone for what viewers can expect from LIFE VR on an ongoing basis, where the company has an aggressive editorial road map and even live experiences planned for the platform according to Mia Tramz, Managing Editor for LIFE VR. On upcoming experience includes an InStyle VR music and fashion experience featuring Yuna, titled “Best Love”.

Time Inc.’s first efforts into VR included an InStyle VR experience last October, which featured a three-minute tour of a cover shoot starring Drew Barrymore, and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s VR experiences that take viewers inside the photo shoots of former cover models on location.

The first three experiences available on LIFE VR include:

“Defying the Nazis” – The VR companion to the Ken Burns documentary “Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War” premiering tonight on PBS. This powerful and emotional experience allows viewers to see and hear what it was like to leave Nazi France and travel on a boat from Portugal with Martha Sharp as she rescued children seeking asylum in America. Viewers are taken on the voyage across the Atlantic and can hear the range of emotions in the survivors’ voices, including the joy of reaching safety. The piece uses voice-overs and archival photos from the documentary to create a full CG VR experience. “Defying the Nazis VR” is produced by VR Playhouse in association with Artemis Joukowsky and Farm Pond Pictures and directed by Elijah Allan-Blitz. LIFE VR is the exclusive distributor.

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“LUMEN, a LIFE VR Original.” – Relax and calm yourself in minutes while exploring the wonders of a bioluminescent forest with LUMEN, a self-guided, nonlinear meditation rooted at the intersection of virtual reality and wellness. This VR experience begins with a short breathing exercise, then places you in a luminous multicolored woodland where you’ll use your headset gaze to interact with the sights and sounds of your environment—and de-stress in the process. LUMEN was created in collaboration with VR Neuroscience Advisor Walter Greenleaf, PhD Stanford University Virtual Human Interaction Lab, and Framestore’s VR Studio. LUMEN is available for Windows on Steam for the HTC Vive, and through the LIFE VR mobile app for iOS and Android.

“Fast Ride,” from The Drive by LIFE VR – The Mazda 787 is one of the most coveted race cars ever made. The first and only Japanese racer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it has an R26B rotary engine so loud and remarkable it must be heard—and experienced—to be believed. “Fast Ride” puts viewers in the cockpit of the 787 to run a lap at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The result is flat-out fantastic at 9,000 rpms. “Fast Ride” is produced by Wevr.

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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