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Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

Documentary changes the landscape of Virtual Reality 

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Documentary ecosphere

Award-winning impact storyteller, Angie Davis, is playing a pivotal role in the evolution of the documentary genre, with a groundbreaking documentary series that recently launched globally. Through the use of virtual reality (VR) technologies and evocative storytelling, the immersive natural history series, ecosphere, has been created to enable audiences to experience some of the world’s most remote and wild landscapes from the comfort of their own home. 

In partnership with Phoria, an award winning immersive technology studio, Facebook’s Oculus, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Silverback Films, Angie wrote and produced ecosphere with Dan Huertas, while studying her Master of Creative Industries (MCI) at SAE Creative Media Institute. Ecosphere was directed, filmed and edited by Joseph Purdam. 

Having an extensive career in journalism, Angie wanted to hone her academic skills while deepening her storytelling through film and VR. Embarking on SAE’s MCI has given her an avenue to do this holistically; accessing industry thought-leaders and creative networks, while working tirelessly on her capstone project, ecosphere. 

Ecosphere is truly one of the most compelling immersive experiences ever made, and it couldn’t come at a more important time in our history. It also came right in the middle of my MCI! The production took ten months in total, taking me to Bristol for pre-production meetings, then on location in Kenya, Borneo and Raja Ampat. Thankfully, I didn’t have to cancel my master’s studies, and the team at SAE have been incredibly supportive and flexible in accommodating my busy schedule whilst ecosphere was in production,’ said Angie of her experience as an SAE master’s student. 

Matt Evans, General Manager for SAE Australasia, says the MCI program is an ideal pathway for established creatives to reinforce their professional direction, get support on a capstone project, or make further inroads within the creative industries. 

‘The calibre of our current master’s students is just incredible. I am proud to see SAE’s students not only succeeding in the creative industries, but actively leading the way with new technology. Being at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship is an integral part of what our master’s students learn at SAE.’

The series features never-before-seen cinematic 5.7k stereoscopic VR footage at 60FPS, shot with the latest pre-production 3D-180 cameras. Custom VR stabilising technology allowed filming to take place in technically challenging environments – from the air to the deep ocean. 

‘This is wildlife documentary filmmaking like you’ve never seen it before,’ said Angie. ‘The synergy of our planet comes to life before your eyes as you’re right there in the midst of it. An unforgettable experience.’

Find out more about ecosphere and watch the trailer at www.phoria.com.au/projects/ecosphere or learn more about Angie Davis’ projects at www.theaniccaway.com 

If you’d like to find out more about SAE’s creative diploma, degree and postgraduate courses, SAE Byron Bay is hosting an on-campus Open Day on Saturday 22 August and a Virtual Open Day event on Sunday 30 August. Find out more and register at www.sae.edu.au/events. 


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