RYOT News this week released a virtual reality documentary on the aftermath of the massive earthquake that struck Nepal last month. The short film, narrated by Susan Sarandon, opens with familiar footage of buildings collapsing as the 7.8-magnitude earthquake first rippled across the country. It then transitions into VR mode, immersing the viewer in the mountains of rubble and devastation that lay behind. It would help to have a VR headset, of course, but you can still mimic the experience by shifting the camera's angle with your cursor to get a 360-degree view of every shot.
More than 8,000 killed by April earthquake
The footage was shot by RYOT co-founder David Darg in the districts of Bhaktapur and the Sindhupalchowk, which were among the hardest hit by the earthquake. The organization describes the film as both a "first in natural disaster VR," as well as an example of what the technology could do for "news and action," echoing the promise that some see in the growing medium. Vice News also used VR technology to shoot an eight-minute piece on last year's Millions March in New York City, where thousands gathered to protest police brutality.
More than 8,000 people were killed by the April 25th earthquake, and more than 20,000 have been injured. The Nepalese government has ended the emergency phase of its response, and US military personnel have withdrawn from the country, but relief efforts are ongoing, and there are fears that the coming monsoon season may hamper them. RYOT's video ends with a call for donations to assist the effort; other organizations involved in the recovery can be found here.