Click the screen and drag around to view video in 360.
In December of 2016, Director / Cinematographer Mark Leisher flew to Union Glacier, Antarctica with his Omni VR (Virtual Reality) system. This expedition was not the first time VR was brought to Antarctica to capture the intense beauty of this frozen region, but it is very special for two reasons.
What makes this trip special is the Virtual Reality footage that Mark captured in inland Antarctica. Here, it becomes more difficult to shelter from the elements. Miles away from the coastline, this lifeless region of Antarctica is uninhabited by anything other than humans. And that has a limited amount of days per year.
What makes this trip even more significant is the mission to document the unsung heroes who have pledged to protect this fragile land from exploitation and a warming climate.
PREPARING FOR THE TRIP
Mark flew with the IAE 80 South team from Punta Arenas, Chile to the base camp at Union Glacier, located 600 miles from the South Pole. Mark would be very much exposed to the frozen elements of inland Antarctica.
Relatively untouched by humans, inland Antarctica is covered by ice, snow, and dry rock. It is home to the largest reserve of fresh water (70%) and fresh water ice (90%) in the world. Winds can reach speeds of up to 200 mph and temperatures drop into the -120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Working in these harsh environmental conditions can make filming quite the challenge. As the IAE 80 South team travelled around the glacier, there was no way for Mark to charge batteries or warm his equipment.
“I slimmed down because I knew I was going to be very exposed. There, you don’t hide. You deal with it.” – Mark Leisher
With this in mind, Mark was very selective with what he brought with him. Only the essentials camera gear and what he could carry along the way during his travels in Antarctica.
Although light packing was essential, Mark knew he could not leave the Omni VR system behind. To view Antarctica in 360 would allow him to showcase what the landscape truly looks like – and why we need to preserve it.
“I’ve always been somebody that tries to do their part to look after the environment and I thought, what better way than to produce something from that part of the world. Seeing Antarctica like this… you want to preserve it.” – Mark Leisher
Mark camped for one week with the IAE 80 South expedition team. To survive the elements, they relied on solar, wind, and biofuel technologies.
The purpose of the trip was to test the durability of these technologies, so they can be used during the upcoming 60-day expedition in December of 2017.
With GoPro Omni, Mark captured in 360 degrees the efforts of the energy technology researchers. He also filmed the towering mountains and the beautiful snow that blanket the land.
The Omni VR system takes this imagery to a personal level as it places the viewer at the Glacier Union basecamp. This new perspective will hopefully aid in the mission to inspire others to protect Antarctica.
WORKING WITH THE OMNI VR SYSTEM
“Having that footage that’s never been captured like this in Antarctica, it was pretty cool to put everything together into one big project.” – Nick Nyren, Editor
Editing and stitching the footage together was a painless process during post-production. The Autopano software makes footage easy to work with and our editor had nothing but praise for this system.
GOING FORWARD WITH OMNI VR
As a last minute decision, to shoot VR on this expedition, Mark rented the Omni from a local rental house. Since returning and working with this camera platform, we have purchased the camera and plan to use it more for future client projects.