The Top 15 YouTube VR Videos Of 2020
Here are the standout YouTube VR videos from 2020.
This story originally appeared on Forbes.
The story underlying all others in 2020 is Covid-19. The pandemic was a singular, generational event, disrupting the lives of billions worldwide.
With the sudden boom in video calls and virtual events, it forced many to approach the notion of virtualization with fresh eyes. New virtual reality (VR) headsets like the HP Reverb G2 and the Oculus Quest 2 entered the market, refining the best of what what tethered and standalone headsets could offer.
All the while, VR videos (both 360° and VR180) continued to present viewers with a less demanding avenue to view immersive content. Maybe more acutely than any year before, in 2020 viewers needed fresh ways to experience things like performances, travel, documentary, and storytelling.
Below are 15 immersive videos that offered audiences the chance to do just that.
Games are already 3D worlds — and now that more are leaning into the “live event” model, producing VR videos from within them allows creators to preserve these experiences like never before, as with this season finale event in Fortnite.
Around the Planet in 2 minutes. VR 360 video in 4K by AirPano
As the name implies, this VR video transports viewers to different locations all across the globe, offering a glimpse of the other immersive travel videos on the AirPano VR channel.
Ascend with David Blaine (In 360)
David Blaine’s Ascension live stunt became a major media event — the standard video has more than 22M views and broke YouTube records. The 360 version of the stunt offers a view of the feat from a first-person perspective.
"Beautifully Broken" by Warren Haynes and Danny Louis in 360/Virtual Reality
360 performance videos have been a core part of the immersive video landscape for years, but they took on a new life during shelter-in-place and lockdown measures. Rather than recreating performance in a dark venue, Warren Haynes and Danny Louis took their craft outdoors, sans audience—implicitly mirroring the constraints of the moment.
China, One Week Before Coronavirus Lockdown - an 8K 360 VR Experience | Shot on Qoocam 8K
Shot just a week before Covid-19 put China in lockdown, Hugh Hou’s 8K experience offers soaring views of Dinghu Mountain National Nature Reserve—and intimate views of the plants, people, and structures that populate it.
The Dawn of Art: A Virtual Journey Inside Chauvet Cave
Daisy Ridley narrates this animated journey into a cave in the south of France famous for holding some of the best-preserved figurative cave paintings in the world, thought to be 36,000 years old.
Guardians of the Kingdom VR
Blending live-captured immersive footage with computer-generated content and animations, “Guardians of the Kingdom” explores the connection between humans and whales through a story of two mothers: a human and a whale.
How Volcanoes Affect Earth's Climate Over Millions of Years 360° I NOVA I PBS
NOVA from PBS takes viewers to the Sierra Nevadas' Long Valley Caldera and Antarctica's Mount Erebus to see how volcanoes “belch” carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere, transforming Earth's climate over millions of years.
Inside NYC's Skinniest Supertall Skyscraper | 3D VR180
Take a 91-story ride on an exterior hoist of New York City’s “skinniest supertall” skyscraper on 111 West 57th Street (filmed prior to its completion) for spectacular views of Central Park and the more of the iconic U.S. metropolis.
Lockdown Around the World | National Geographic
March 2020 was a month unlike any in recent memory. Countries around the world responded to the threat of a rapidly spreading pandemic with shelter-in-place orders and quarantine measures. Spanning cities across five continents, this VR video from National Geographic preserves a view of what otherwise crowded cities looked like during an unprecedented moment.
Out Of The Blue
After a festival debut in 2017, “Out of the Blue” reemerged on YouTube VR in 2020, offering a powerful example of immersive storytelling, notably in an underwater setting.
Solo to the South Pole — The VR documentary [360/VR]
In this documentary, viewers meet Matthieu Tordeur, the young French explorer who made the 50-day journey from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole all alone, without any outside assistance.
VR Skin Care Shop Roleplay ASMR[VR 180]
ASMR continues to spark interest, as more realize that the medium offers them that “tingly” sensation and relaxation. VR, meanwhile, is a medium designed to fully immerse viewers, making the two natural complements to the other. They come together here in a VR180 skincare experience.
What Wormholes Would Actually Look Like According To Physics (VR/360)
Immersive media has a unique capability to help audiences experience what would otherwise be impossible. After being fascinated by wormholes and their portrayal in traditional media, Scott Manley created an immersive video about the experience of traveling through a wormhole relying on two specific formulations for wormhole geometry.
Yawarani: A VR Film Made With Indigenous Creators
“Yawarani” is a VR180 film created as a collaboration between Outside TV and the indigenous community Yawarani in the Amazon rainforest, produced in hopes of preserving their sacred culture and the wisdom of their elders.