November 23rd, 2021 | by Mathieu Gayet

FIRST LIFE is a new chapter of Sir David Attenborough's work in VR

In more than 60 years of broadcasting, David Attenborough has travelled the globe to document the living world in all its wonder. Now, with Alchemy Immersive and Meta, he travels back in time using Virtual Reality to bring to life long-extinct fossils that unlock the secrets of what the very first animals on our planet were like, how they moved and how they thrived.

At a quality unprecedented for immersive media, journey back over 350 billion years, to plot the story of how life evolved from single-celled organisms into the ferocious predators that stalked the seafloor. Putting on an Oculus Quest 2, users will have the opportunity to come face to face with bizarre creatures such as the five-eyed Opabinia, the fearsome-looking Anomalocaris, and the spiny worm-like Hallucigenia – scientifically accurate animations bring them vividly to life. FIRST LIFE shows us how evolutionary features of the first creatures have passed to modern animals, including humans, giving us an amazing insight into the remarkable evolutionary journey that has brought us the animal kingdom we know today.

Since I was a boy, people have made discoveries in ancient rocks all over the world, including in Canada, Newfoundland, Australia and Morocco. And so now we can put together a picture in extraordinary detail of what life was like 500 million years ago. And the really thrilling thing for me is that by using computer graphic imaging, you can take these tiny little marks and with total justification and scientific backing, you can make that animal really come to life. So we can see them come out of the rock and move.
- David Attenborough - Naturalist and Narrator
Producing David Attenborough's First Life has shown the team and I here at Alchemy that we've reached a milestone for immersive story-telling. Just like the Cambrian Ocean, we've entered a new era where realising and recreating stories beyond our imaginations is finally possible - and all in a way that finally matches our expectations of what VR can offer.
- Elliot Graves - Director, Alchemy Immersive

FIRST LIFE was created out of the combined desire between Meta Quest and Alchemy Immersive, to push the boundaries of computer-generated immersive media production. One of its key goals was to inform studios and creators around the world how to further immerse mobile VR users in virtual worlds, without being subject to the limitations of real-time computation. By pre-rendering complex computer-generated immersive stories in stereoscopic 8K 60fps video, FIRST LIFE presents a new milestone for beautiful natural history story-telling while also setting a new bar for quality in mobile VR headsets. In doing so, FIRST LIFE showcases the potential and power of immersive storytelling by creating an experience impossible in any other format, outside of the constraints of real-time game-engine computation.

“First Life delivers on the promise of immersive media and virtual reality: to take you into worlds that are normally bound to our imaginations. The quality of story and visuals that Alchemy Immersive has been able to achieve have brought to life our ancient worlds in ways that we never expected, allowing oculus users an exclusive opportunity to go on an epic journey with David Attenborough millions of years into the past.
- Eric Cheng - Head of Immersive Media, Meta Quest

Submerge yourself into our plant’s breath-taking ancient oceans and discover the secrets to life with David Attenborough as your guide. Experience David Attenborough’s FIRST LIFE from 23rd November on Quest headsets. Find out more at: alchemyimmersive.com/firstlife

David Attenborough’s FIRST LIFEwas co-produced by Alchemy Immersive and Meta Quest, in collaboration with Zoo VFX and 1.618 Digital.

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