On 23 January 2015, we published Hong Kong Unrest, immersiv.ly’s first news documentary in 360-degree video. We had been demonstrating this new venture in telling news in virtual reality to the London tech community since early December 2014, using the latest version of the Oculus Rift, the VR headset at the heart of the surge in interest in everything VR in the past two years. For the public launch of Hong Kong Unrest we created a microsite with the video shown on the krpano player. This was months before YouTube, and later Facebook, started to support the medium, and the best way to share the documentary with anyone with access to a browser.
It was an historic day for the telling of news in virtual reality. On the same day the acclaimed film-maker and video artist Chris Milk released two news documentaries in 360-degree video on the Vrse app. Millions March (the occasion, on 13 December 2014, when people rallied in New York City to protest against the killings by police of Eric Garner and Mike Brown) was made with Spike Jonze for Vice.com; Clouds over Sidra, made for the United Nations in partnership with Samsung, follows the daily life of a 12-year-old in the Za’atari refugee camp, in Jordan.
Hong Kong Unrest, filmed, edited and co-produced by Edward Miller (immersiv.ly’s head of visuals), tells the story of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong in September 2014.