Video production company Soundview recently had an unexpected close encounter of the furry kind! While creating a 360 VR video at Paignton Zoo, Fabi, a Sumatran tiger scaled 5 metres to take a good look at the camera, giving a fantastic close up and everyone quite a shock.
But all was well. The Soundview team were out of the way as the remotely operated camera was attached to a pole inside the tiger enclosure. Managing Director and Holiday Park and Resort Innovations 2017 speaker, Gareth Allen, described his amazement as he stood outside the enclosure, watching the action unfold.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes as I saw one of the most ferocious animals on the planet get close up and personal with the Soundview VR camera!”.
The camera had been positioned on a pole well above the tiger’s food, to capture them in the act of feeding. So, when Fabi effortlessly climbed 5 metres to check out the kit, watchers were stunned.
360 VR Video: Right in the Action
This was one of several films that give a unique insight into animal behaviour. Commissioned by Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, they demonstrate their animal enrichment programme.
And of the video shoots, this was certainly the most surprising. But each location allowed Soundview’s VR camera to get close to the action: underwater, capturing penguins feeding; dangling above saltwater crocodiles at dinner time; and inside a meerkat enclosure as they prize open a packed lunch - grubs craftily hidden by zoo keepers in a log. And of course, these naturally curious creatures provided some fantastic close ups too.
What Happened Next?
The videos were on display at the New Scientist Live Event at Excel London. Lots of visitors to the event queued to wear a VR headset and watch the films. And it seems they caused quite a stir. Dr. Amy Plowman, Director of Conservation and Education for the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust said,
“There were some great reactions with people laughing, waving and even talking to the animals and quite a few little screams in places.”
Perhaps they were watching Fabi at that point!
Soundview is exhibiting and speaking at the Holiday Park and Resort Innovations 2017. In his talk “The Next Best Thing: Virtual Reality and Immersive Video”, Gareth Allen describes the power of VR to connect with audiences and visitors.