avid Attenborough’s new virtual-reality series Conquest of the Skies has landed on Meta Quest devices. The three-part documentary charts the history of flight, from fierce flying dinosaurs to hummingbirds with rapidly fluttering wings that are audible to humans. Those with a Meta Quest VR headset can watch it for free on the Meta Quest TV app today.
Conquest of the Skies essentially adapts the original 3D series that aired on Sky in 2015 for virtual reality. More than just a retread, however, the creators of the documentary say it was “designed from the ground up” to take advantage of VR using a mixture of new and archival footage.
This time, you can don your VR headset and watch it in 18 degrees, which crams in slightly more visuals than your normal field of view. Unlike the 360-degree format, that means you don’t have to move your head too much or look behind you to keep track of the action. The original blended CGI dinosaurs with original footage of birds and insects shot in China, Ecuador, and the jungles of Borneo.
Director Lewis Ball said the reimagined experience “gets viewers up close and personal with animals that no longer exist”.
He continued: “I get especially excited when I see the Quetzalcoatlus land in front of us and take a roar into the skies — we wanted it to feel humbling, being around a creature so large and powerful, scaling above you. That scene still gives me goosebumps each time I see it.”
Even those who can’t access a VR headset can get in on the immersive fun. To coincide with its release, a Conquest of the Skies VR experience will take place at Westfield White City from Tuesday, November 29 until Sunday, December 4. Visitors will be able to watch a special cut of the film and interact with flying creatures in augmented reality through their smartphones.
If you have the itch for nature documentaries in VR, you can also catch Attenborough’s Micro Monsters, Kingdom of Plants, and First Life on Meta Quest TV. The parent company of Facebook and Instagram also recently added to its lineup of VR devices, with the release of the £1,500 Meta Quest Pro, a high-end headset that’s 50 per cent faster than its competitors, boasts a higher resolution eye display, and also packs outward cameras to show you augmented-reality content over your real-world surroundings.