85 miles, 75 waterfalls, 54 national scenic area hiking trails, 21 state parks & recreation areas, and millions of visitors every year. The Columbia River Gorge is not only an incredible feat of nature, but also an iconic symbol of our beautiful and native state of Oregon.
One of Oregon's 7 Wonders, this area was meticulously carved from the earth most recently by the Missoula Floods; it's a ghost of the last Ice Age that shows off layers of exposed lava rock adjacent to the young, surrounding evergreens. The Columbia River Gorge, or simply ‘The Gorge’ for short, is a thirst-quenching escape for casual onlookers and yearning adventurers alike: humble and seemingly delicate, yet breathtakingly vast and powerful.
It's this history, and this remarkable juxtaposition, that effortlessly instills in each of us a true appreciation of the Pacific Northwest. Any Portlander knows how fortunate we are to have the Columbia River Gorge in our backyard, and since we can’t take you there, we did the next best thing. Enjoy a short trip along the Historic Columbia River Highway in 360 Immersive Video:
Although immersive video––video where the user is surrounded by the filmed environment and has control of their Field of Vision–– has been around long enough for Facebook and Youtube to add 360 capabilities to their respective platforms, 360 storytelling techniques and immersive video producers are still in a relatively infant stage.
Though different from true Virtual Reality, immersive video still has quite a year ahead. With the dawn of 2016, the industry is progressing quickly with more and more cameras, hardware, and software. These advances, with the future addition of better viewing options such as Major Virtual Reality Headsets (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Playstation VR), set the stage for an increasing number of creators and viewers alike. If utilized correctly, immersive video can be an incredibly powerful tool for creative storytelling.
With this in mind, we set out to the Gorge to take viewers on a journey along the Columbia River Scenic Highway. Driving and/or hiking to each destination, we set up six GoPros in an array that would capture 360 degrees x 180 degrees, leaving no blind spot. Our destinations included the Women’s Forum Viewpoint, Vista House on Crown Point, views of Multnomah Falls, Latourell Falls, and Ponytail Falls along the Horsetail Falls hiking trail. We filmed from a variety of POVs ranging from a basic tripod mount, to a raised backpack mount, and even from the roof of a car.
We then stitched 6 clips, one from each of the GoPros, into one panoramic video (4096 x 2048) for each of the locations we filmed at. After putting all the panoramic videos together, and adding overlays for an extra element of entertaining storytelling, we set the film to music. The result? A quick, yet informational immersive journey that feels like a breath of fresh, Pacific Northwestern air.