White Spark Pictures reaches for the stars | Programming | News | Rapid TV News
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Perth-based independent production company White Spark Pictures has announced the completion of its latest virtual reality (VR) documentary project – Beyond the Milky Way – about one of the biggest-ever scientific endeavours in human history – the SKA, the world’s largest radio telescopes.
White Spark Pictures BTMW 23Nov2021
Beyond the Milky Way was shot at the remote site in Western Australia where the SKA-Low Telescope will be constructed, and takes audiences on a tour of CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-Astronomy Observatory (MRO) and out into the Universe through the eyes of the people using the world-class instruments already at the observatory, the astronomers who will use the SKA in the future, and the Wajarri Yamaji traditional landowners.

The construction of the SKA telescopes is being billed as one of the world’s greatest-ever scientific endeavours. When completed, the SKA will be a virtual time machine, allowing observers to see further back in time than ever before to understand how our Universe came to be, and giving humanity its best-ever chance of discovering if there is other life out there. As well as the upcoming SKA project, audiences will experience two of the telescopes already at the MRO; SKA precursors the Murchison Widefield Array and the ASKAP radio telescope.

The 25-minute VR film, narrated by Professor Brian Cox (Universe), will have its world premiere at the Western Australian Museum Boola Bardip in Perth, opening to the public on 11 December.

Filmed with specialised 360-degree cameras capable of extreme resolution, Beyond the Milky Way will provide audiences with a unique immersive experience. It is expected to play in a wide range of museums and other theatrical venues in Australia ahead of launching internationally. Beyond the Milky Way is White Spark’s second VR film. Its first, the award-winning The Antarctica Experience, is said to be one of the most commercially successful VR documentaries of all time and ranks within the top 10 highest grossing Australian documentaries to date.

Beyond the Milky Way received principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screenwest and Lotterywest. It is financed with support from Australia’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), CSIRO – Australia’s national science agency, the Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre, Scitech and Inspiring Australia, SKA Observatory (SKAO), ASTRO 3D – the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions and Western Australian Museum. The film is being represented internationally by Wild Thring Media.

“The SKA is a ground-breaking, truly international project, and I am honoured that these leading scientific institutions have put their trust in me to share their endeavours with the world,” commented White Spark Pictures founder and creative director Briege Whitehead. “This new immersive VR film will allow a wide range of people to virtually experience this landmark project before construction begins, and look into the future at its immense potential. It will also give people a chance to explore a remote and extraordinary part of the world which few will ever visit.”