‘Space Explorers’: First Look At VR Footage Of Outer Space

The Emmy-nominated VR series breaks new ground with the first-ever 3D, 360-degree footage shot outside the ISS.

Felix & Paul, the Emmy Award-winning studio behind critically acclaimed immersive experiences such as Traveling While Black and Gymnasia, announced some exciting news today regarding its Primetime Emmy-nominated VR series Space Explorers. Using an “Outer Space Camera” attached to a “Space Crane,” the company has captured what they describe as the first-ever 3D, 360-degree footage shot outside the International Space Station.

Episode One of the ongoing series, ADAPT, premiered last year to critical acclaim. Earlier this year the company debuted Episode Two, ADVANCE, which shined a spotlight on the many accomplishments of women in space. The one-of-a-kind series has garnered praise from critics as well as audiences for its highly immersive scenes, so much so it was recently selected for Venice VR Expanded’s “Best Of” section.Developed in partnership with NASA and TIME Studios, Space Explorers is the first-ever VR series shot aboard the International Space Station.

Rather than train a film crew for space travel, the astronauts themselves served as the cast, crew, and narrators for the project. The result is an unparalleled look at the lives of these modern-day explorers, from the incredible work their doing aboard the ISS to the smaller moments that make up their day-to-day routines. In the end, the team managed to capture over 200 hours of cinematic 360-degree footage in addition to 18 hours of video logs and interviews.

“Over the past 20 years, very few people have journeyed to the International Space Station. Through the power of immersive storytelling, we can now bring hundreds of millions of spectators aboard this extraordinary spacecraft that circles the Earth at 17,000 miles per hour, to experience how astronauts live and to marvel at the beauty of Earth seen from Space,” said Félix Lajeunesse, co-founder of Felix & Paul Studios and director of the EMMY-nominated Space Explorers series in an official release.

“After two years of filming and over 200 hours of footage captured aboard the Space Station in 360-degree 3D virtual reality, it is truly gratifying to share this experience with viewers around the world.”

Up until this point, all of the footage featured in the series has been shot from within the International Space Station. Today’s announcement represents a major milestone in VR filmmaking, supposedly marking the first time 3D, 360-degree footage has been shot in outer space.

In order to accomplish this monumental task, the team at Felix & Paul created their own “Outer Space Camera” by strengthening a Z-Cam V1 Pro camera with Nanoracks to survive the harsh conditions of space. They also outfitted the device with custom lenses to withstand the incredible light and heat emitted by the Sun. This Outer Space Camera was then strapped to a “Space Crane” where it was able to capture up to 15 hours of cinematic 3D, 360-degree footage at a single time.

Image Credit: Felix & Paul Studios

“Capturing the Earth in stereoscopic 3D, 360-degree format from space, outside the space station, has never been attempted until now,” added Jonathan Woods, Executive Producer of Space Explorers: The ISS Experience at TIME Studios and Emmy-winning producer of A Year in Space. “It’s beyond exciting and surreal to see this happening, knowing that the dream for this ambitious project started over five years ago in 2015.”

Experience life outside the ISS when Episode Four launches on Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift headsets in January 2022. Episode Three of the series is set to launch in a couple of months.

Episodes One & Two are available now via the Oculus Store for $2.99 each.

To learn more about how this incredible project came to be, you can check out some behind-the-scenes footage here.

Feature Image Credit: Felix & Paul Studios

About the Scout

Former Writer (Kyle Melnick)

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