Discovery's Shark Week takes its first dive into virtual reality

The big business of sharks
The big business of sharks

Want to swim alongside migrating great white sharks off the coast of Australia? Ready to come face-to-face with a hammerhead?

For the first time, Discovery Channel's Shark Week is inviting viewers to take the plunge through a string of new virtual and augmented reality experiences that begin to debut this week and will continue to roll out during Shark Week, which runs through July 3.

Discovery is already taking VR seriously with its documentary content, creating virtual experiences for its series such as Deadliest Catch and Mythbusters, which are available through its Discovery VR app. This programming and all of the new Shark Week content can be found via that app, for viewing in 360-degrees online or with VR headsets such as Samsung VR Gear or Oculus Rift. It's also offering Shark Week augmented reality experiences via AIREAL, an AR platform that uses geospatial coordinates to anchor digital content at nearby locations.


Shark Week VR experiences will include Dare to Swim in The Shallows, created in partnership with Sony Pictures to offer a look at its upcoming film The Shallows; and Surviving Sharks, which sends viewers "underwater" with Australian Navy diver Paul de Gelder.

Viewers will also go behind-the-scenes of some of the shoots, which includes migrating great whites off the coast of Australia and swimming with hammerhead sharks. Some feature narration and on-screen commentary by shark cinematographer Andy Casagrande and marine biologist Craig O'Connell.

For Isle of Jaws, a Shark Week program premiering June 26, viewers will have the option to watch the second part through Discovery VR, as Casagrande stumbles upon a concentration of male great white sharks off an unchartered island.

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