While some countries are returning to a semblance of normal, this time of covid-19 has relegated many to spending more time at home than usual. Streaming services have had an unexpected time of good fortune, even as traditional theaters have suffered.
Museums, zoos, and aquariums throughout the world have responded to the loss of visitors by hosting online chats, uploading videos to youtube. Some have sent people through their corridors and pathways to film immersive experiences for homebound viewers. While a flight to the Louvre might be impossible (or at least extremely unwise) for many people, they can log onto their computer and simulate a 360 degree-viewable guided tour.
Meanwhile, videos abound of daredevils and nature enthusiasts who have strapped GoPro-style video cameras to themselves or their equipment while venturing out for excitement. Those are also readily available for people who want to view the great outdoors or see a ski jump from the perspective of a professional athlete.
Unsurprisingly, the two experiences have been merged on some occasions and the results can be magnificent. One example can be found at the National Marine Sanctuary site maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They provide “virtual dives”; in these, teams of divers, one of whom wears cameras across their wet suit, travel through the water to examine undersea life.
They currently have four immersive videos available: Sea Lion Encounter, Hawaiian Adventure, Shipwreck Alley and Coral Restoration. Each lasts between three and four minutes and is filled with narration appropriate to a seventh-grade field trip… informative but simplistic.
Still, the appeal doesn’t lie in the voiceover. It comes from being able to spin the view around while taking a simulated underwater dive, without the necessity of learning actual scuba skills or risking infection.
It’s pleasant and it’s calming, both of which are valuable commodities in these troubled times.
So click away… turn down the audio if you find it bothersome… and enjoy about fifteen minutes of underwater exploration.
Question of the night: Where is your favorite “back to nature” place?