The BBC is launching a new BBC VR app with a brand new documentary, Damning the Nile.
The two-part VR news series explores the water politics of the titular river. Produced by BBC VR Hub and BBC News, it transports viewers on a journey down the famous Nile, taking in its beautiful sights and dramatic sounds, as they travel through canyons and fly above waterfalls. But it’s also where the world’s first war over water could be fought. A major new project, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, threatens to upset the balance of power between neighbours and rivals Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.
Following BBC Africa Correspondent Alastair Leithead on assignment across the Nile, Damming The Nile VR gives audiences a unique perspective on the dispute. They’ll join the crew as they hear from locals in the cafés of Khartoum and street corners of Sudan, meet the richest man in Sudan, and grill ministers fighting their countries’ corners. They’ll also be able to inspect the dam up-close, explore ancient Sudanese pyramids and Egyptian temples from a hot air balloon, before coming back down to earth in chaotic Cairo.
Viewers will have enjoyed 360 news pieces from the BBC before, but this is full immersive VR, with stereoscopic visuals fully spatialised audio. Damming the Nile VR also features music from The Nile Project, a collective of musicians from countries along the river, including songs from their new album.
The is available now through the new BBC VR app on the Oculus Gear VR store. In addition to watching the series on a Samsung Gear VR, both parts can viewed in full on YouTube with or without a VR headset, such as Google Cardboard. It can be watched via a new website too, bbc.co.uk/virtualreality, along with other BBC VR highlights. A special 360° version of the films will also be released via the BBC News website and on Facebook. The story will then air as a news documentary on BBC TV channels, and will be available to read on the BBC News website.
Alastair Leithead, BBC Africa Correspondent, says: “As a foreign correspondent, my job is to introduce people to new and fascinating places, challenge stereotypes and explain how countries are growing and changing. Virtual reality means films like Damming the Nile VR can actually take our audiences there so they can see it for themselves. Once you put on a headset and enter the virtual world, you come with us on assignment to Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt to explore their issues up close, and understand the politics of the Nile through a unique new perspective.”
Other titles on the BBC VR app include The Turning Forest, an award-winning virtual reality fairy tale, Easter Rising: Voice Of A Rebel, Himalayas: A Trek To School, and Bloodhound, about a supersonic car aiming to break the world land speed record.