The BBC is pushing into virtual reality (VR) by creating 360-degree video projects for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets.
The BBC Taster experimental platform will offer access to 360-degree and VR video projects that can be used with the premium VR headsets or cheaper versions such as Google Cardboard.
The BBC has flirted with 360-degree video before, but is now exploring full VR video for the first time. The corporation will release Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel (video below), We Wait and Home - A VR Spacewalk on the platform.
The former two work on the Oculus Rift and the latter on the HTC Vive. They will be premiered at the Sheffield Documentary Festival.
A 360-degree video of Trooping the Colour has also been created to give users a "queen’s-eye view" of the military display.
Will Saunders, editorial lead for BBC Taster, explained that the BBC is keen to experiment with 360-degree video and VR to establish how it fits in with the content delivered to viewers and to augment its production processes.
“This is all part of the BBC’s early experimentation to help us better understand emerging technology and new mediums, explore the potential for future audiences, and see what kind of role the BBC should, or shouldn’t, play,” he said.
“In terms of the technology, the main difference is that VR is more interactive and immersive than 360-degree video, which is very much as it sounds: a video played out in 360 degrees around the viewer.
“However, both have the potential to give viewers a sense of presence. This is interesting to us as programme makers as it can help make people feel like they’re at the heart of the action or the story, which could help future audiences better understand important current affairs, news, science and history topics or give them a new perspective.”
YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime are exploring the use of VR, so it is no surprise that the BBC is experimenting in the area.
As the technology trend grows beyond the early adoption stage its potential uses in other industries will expand in tandem.
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