NFB Interactive Hit ‘Bear 71’ Now Online VR
By Pat Mullen
Log onto the latest innovation from the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) as its highly-acclaimed interactive work Bear 71 becomes an immersive virtual reality experience. Exploring the intersection between humans, animals, and technology, this 360-degree tour the Canadian wild offers encounters with characters such as Fox 55 and Deer 431 as users experience the world from the point of view of a female bear. The project created by Jeremy Mendes and Leanne Allison is now available on Google Chrome, Daydream-ready phones such as Pixel or Daydream View, and as a 2D interactive experience. Additional headset-ready versions of Bear 71 are coming soon, but there’s lots to see by scrolling a mouse across the grid of Canada’s National Parks and taking in trail cams to watch the wildlife up close but from a comfortable distance.
“WebVR allows developers to build an experience that scales across all VR platforms from Google Cardboard and Daydream to desktop VR headsets, while also supporting 2D displays,” said Megan Lindsay, Google Product Manager for WebVR, in a statement from the NFB. “We are pleased that WebVR and Chrome helped enable the National Film Board of Canada to bring Bear 71 VR to everyone.”
Added Claude Joli-Coeur, Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson, “This new collaboration with Google is part of the NFB’s strategic goal of forging partnerships with global leaders in creation and innovation to explore new forms of digital storytelling and engage audiences everywhere in immersive experiences that break new ground in form and content.”
Bear 71 VR has been showcased as a VR installation by the NFB at IDFA DocLab and by Google at the New Frontiers VR Bar at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.