Experience the Ocean from an Entirely New Point of View

May 24, 2019

Narrated by explorers, filmmakers and environmental advocates Philippe and Ashlan Cousteau and built from the photo archive of Academy Award-winning micro-photographer Peter Parks, “Drop in the Ocean” shrinks participants down to about 2 inches tall as they hitch a ride on a jellyfish to encounter the mysteries of the deep ocean and directly experience the plastic pollution crisis as sea life does every day.

Designed as a 7-minute group interactive VR experience in a custom-built space by New York-based museum design firm Thinc, it brings up to four participants together at a time into an open, physical space, allowing full freedom of movement while creating an atmosphere of shared adventure and knowledge gathering. The project is experienced through HP’s new lightweight, high-resolution Reverb headsets. Renowned British electronic producer Gold Panda composes an original score that captures the emotions of wonder and adventure in the experience.

“The result is a wildly unique voyage, where the secrets of the deep ocean are revealed and human impacts on marine health are felt and confronted, not just seen,” said Philippe Cousteau. “This experience helps participants discover how each of us is linked to this vast and amazing resource. From tiny plankton that provides two out of every three breathes of oxygen we breathe to an enormous whale shark that will amaze you, Drop in the Ocean allows anyone to experience the stunning diversity of our ocean and gain an understanding of why we urgently need to take action to protect it.” added Ashlan Cousteau.

Conservation International thanks its generous partner SC Johnson and is grateful to work in association with Vulcan Productions. In-kind technology support was provided by HP.

The ocean-themed immersive project comes at a time when the world is grappling with a global plastic pollution crisis. Every minute, the equivalent of a truckload of plastic enters our oceans, endangering marine life of all kinds. The UN estimates that ingestion of plastic kills 1 million marine birds and 100,000 marine animals each year. Scientists predict that the weight of ocean plastics will exceed the combined weight of all of the fish in the seas by 2050.

“Every year, 18 billion pounds of plastic waste ends up in our oceans. Our oceans are drowning in plastic pollution,” said Executive Producer and Conservation International CEO Dr. M. Sanjayan. “While the world is waking up to this global crisis, this project truly helps us to see and feel the impact on all of the ocean’s living creatures. We need to move fast in order to save them and the waters that sustain life on Earth.”

“At a time when our world’s ocean is facing unprecedented threats, the need to educate, engage, and inspire the public to work towards solutions to sustain these critical ecosystems has never been more important,” says Dr. Elizabeth Bagley, the Academy’s Director of Sustainability and content advisor for Drop in the Ocean. “We’re incredibly excited to partner with Conservation International and Vision3 to immerse Academy visitors in this one-of-a-kind VR experience. While not everyone has access to explore the depths of the ocean, this cutting-edge technology gives everyone an opportunity to marvel at the wonder of our ocean and see first-hand why it’s worth protecting.”

“Such is the scale of plastic pollution in our oceans, that we must come together to face the problem as a massive force. Right from the beginning, we built this project around the principle of shared experience leading to collective activism,” said Creator and Vision3 Co-Founder Adam May. “We want audiences to come together as a team, and leave their lives on the shore behind — to dive deep below the surface to discover a remarkable natural kingdom.”

“The health of our oceans is critical for human life on this planet. We have to figure out a way to stop plastic from leaking into the ocean. I am optimistic we can find solutions if we all work together. This project from Conservation International is another step forward to raise awareness and continue the momentum on this important issue.” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO, SC Johnson.

“Our team is committed to telling stories that bring the magic of the world’s oceans to audiences everywhere, and to making clear there is a role for all of us to play in protecting the ocean’s future,” said Ruth Johnston, General Manager at Vulcan Productions. “Drop in the Ocean is truly unprecedented in its approach, combining beautiful storytelling with cutting edge virtual reality technology. We are proud to work with such trailblazers on this project, and look forward to sharing it around the world.”

Bay Area visitors can get a sneak peek of the experience during the Academy’sNightLife event for adults 21+ happening on Thursday, May 23 from 6-10 pm. Tickets for “Drop in the Ocean” are available on-site at the museum for $12 per person and $10 for Academy members and are not included with daytime admission to the museum.

After its run at the California Academy of Sciences, “Drop in the Ocean” is expected to tour North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East, with locations to be announced later this spring.

“Drop in The Ocean” is Conservation International’s fourth virtual reality project and its first social VR experience, following VR projects “Valen’s Reef,” “Under the Canopy” and most recently “My Africa.” “Drop in The Ocean” builds on Vision3’s exploration in using tactile VR experiences to provoke social impact and follows their 2018 Tribeca Immersive project “My Africa: Elephant Keeper,” also produced with Conservation International.

Additional collaborators for “Drop in the Ocean” include Earth Echo, Gold Panda, Mimic, Target 3D and Thinc Design.

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About Conservation International

Conservation International uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, Conservation International works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about Conservation International, the groundbreaking “Nature Is Speaking” campaign and its series of virtual reality projects: “My Africa”, “Under the Canopy” and “Valen’s Reef.” Follow Conservation International’s work on our Human Nature blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

About Vision3

Vision3 are industry leaders in 3D production for Hollywood Feature Films, award winning Natural History large format documentaries, and innovative virtual reality and augmented reality experiences. The London-based company was formed in 2008 and is the recipient of eight Lumiere Awards from the International Advanced Imaging Society, including best Stereography for WB’s “Gravity.” For more, go to vision3.tv.

About The California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution dedicated to exploring, explaining, and sustaining life on Earth. Based in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, it is home to a world-class aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum — all under one living roof.

About SC Johnson

SC Johnson is a family company dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care, as well as professional products. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR MUSCLE® and RIDSECT®. The 133-year-old company, which generates $10 billion in sales, employs approximately 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world. www.scjohnson.com

About Vulcan Productions

Vulcan Productions believes that storytelling can change the world. The company produces content that informs, inspires, and activates audiences. It builds movements that change behaviors, move policies and shift the trajectories of some of society’s most pressing challenges. Award-winning projects include Sundance Special Jury Award-winnerSTEP, The Ivory Game, Unseen Enemy, Racing Extinction, Naledi: A Baby Elephant’s Tale, Academy Award®-nominated Body Team 12, Mind of a Giant, We the Economy,We the Voters, Ocean Warriors, #ISurvivedEbola, Girl Rising and The Blues, and emerging media works Ghost Fleet VR, X-Ray Fashion, Drop in the Ocean and Guardians of the Kingdom, and immersive reality experiences for the Holodome at the Museum of Pop Culture: Songs of Infinity: Journey into a Black Hole, Justin Timberlake’s Montana: An Immersive Music Experience, Seattle Seahawks: The Art of the Play, and Death Planet Rescue. Upcoming projects include Ghost Fleet and The Cold Blue. For information on Vulcan Productions and its leadership in generating change through impact storytelling, visit vulcanproductions.com.