Australian prodco White Spark Pictures will premiere its new virtual-reality documentary, Beyond the Milky Way, in Perth on Dec. 11 at the WA Museum Boola Bardip.
The 25-minute VR film is narrated by professor Brian Cox (Universe) and focuses on the SKA, the world’s largest radio telescopes. The project is White Spark’s second VR film, following the award-winning The Antarctica Experience, one of the most commercially successful VR documentaries ever released, ranking in the top 10 highest-grossing Australian documentaries to date.
Beyond the Milky Way was shot in Western Australia where the SKA-Low Telescope will be built, taking audiences on a tour of CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-Astronomy Observatory (MRO) and into space through the eyes of the people using the instruments already at the observatory, as well as the astronomers who will use the SKA in the future and the Wajarri Yamaji traditional landowners.
The construction of the SKA telescopes is being called one of the world’s greatest scientific endeavors. When completed, the SKA will be a virtual time machine, allowing us to see further back in time than ever before to understand how the universe came to be and giving humanity its best chance yet of discovering if other life is out there.
The documentary was shot with specialized 360-degree cameras capable of extreme resolution for an immersive VR experience. The film is expected to play in museums and other theatrical venues in Australia ahead of its global launch.
Beyond the Milky Way received principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screenwest and Lotterywest. It was financed with support from Australia’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), CSIRO – Australia’s national science agency, the Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre, Scitech and Inspiring Australia, SKA Observatory (SKAO), ASTRO 3D – the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions and Western Australian Museum. The film is being represented globally by Wild Thring Media.
“This new immersive VR film will allow a wide range of people to virtually experience this landmark project before construction begins, and look into the future at its immense potential. It will also give people a chance to explore a remote and extraordinary part of the world which few will ever visit,” said Briege Whitehead, founder and creative director at White Spark Pictures, in a release.
“Having proven its ability to engage audiences with the very successful The Antarctica Experience, we are excited to support White Spark’s new project Beyond the Milky Way, which is set to take audiences to the far reaches of the universe, and I’m confident will leave them with an unforgettable experience,” added Alex West, head of documentary at Screen Australia.