Explore Ocean Wonders in VR
Nature documentary meets virtual reality with Into the Now, a new series by award-winning photojournalist Michael Muller
Here’s a great use of VR technology: Experience the deep sea like you’re really there. Whether you’re ocean-curious or are a veteran diver between trips, virtual reality puts you face to fin with the underwater world. Photojournalist Michael Muller is known for his work in the entertainment industry—from magazine covers to iconic movie posters and album artwork. But Muller’s love of the ocean led him to shift his focus to making nature more accessible through the content he captures. Now he’s using VR technology to bring rarely seen places and species to life in a whole new way.
Into the Extraordinary
The nine-episode VR series, Into the Now, which was directed by Muller and co-produced with Michael and Iris Smith, offers a truly immersive underwater experience. With the help of a VR headset, the series takes viewers around the globe to experience marine life in a way that can’t fully be achieved in 2-D. As one experienced diver observed, when you press play and follow Muller and his team below the surface, you can almost feel yourself achieve neutral buoyancy (the astronaut-like state of neither floating or sinking while scuba diving).
The technology makes it possible to experience the next best thing to IRL diving—witnessing the ocean’s wonders without investing in travel, gear, and classes—but it’s not just the Scuba-curious who will be wowed by the underwater scenes. The films showcase life-like marine encounters certified divers spend lifetimes chasing. Get engulfed by a sardine bait ball as sharks and dolphins compete for their meals. See the shadow of a behemoth whale shark block out the sun before the gentle giant appears overhead. Or swim through underwater caves and shipwrecks as your torch (underwater flashlight) illuminates rock formations and sunken pieces of history typically only seen by skilled divers.
Behind the Scenes
An early adopter of VR technology, Muller saw the potential for immersive 360 cinematography not only as a high-tech way to capture content but also as a tool for providing near-real-life experiences. He partnered with the RSA production company to film underwater scenes from around the globe and document the critical environmental issues marine habitats face today. As Muller continued to explore the capabilities of VR, his work led to a collaboration with a Stanford University neuroscientist who utilized the VR technology to treat patients with PTSD and anxiety.
Into the Now also partners with WILDAID, a non-profit dedicated to protecting wildlife from illegal trade and other threats. A portion of the proceeds from every in-app episode purchased is donated to the cause.
How to Watch Into the Now
Into the Now is available as an in-app VR experience. Download individual episodes or the full series directly to your VR headset. For a peek at what you’ll see in the films, watch the video below on your phone and rotate your screen for a mobile 360 experience. You can also use your cursor to drag and rotate the video on a laptop.
Into the Now is an immersive experience created by world renowned photographer, Michael Muller, to share the ocean’s most sacred experiences with people wherever they are.