LOS ANGELES & NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Time Inc.’s (NYSE:TIME) Sports Illustrated and Endemol Shine Beyond USA, the digital division of Endemol Shine North America, have partnered to make cinematic history by producing a virtual reality documentary series that follows the journey of four climbers during their 2016 summit of Mt. Everest.
The multipart, multi-platform production, the first complete ascent of Everest in VR, will premiere in early 2017 on Time Inc.’s new LIFE VR platform and SI.com in 360-degree video. Sports Illustrated will also feature coverage of this historic endeavor across its print and digital properties. The production, to be entitled “Capturing Everest,” is presented by Sports Illustrated.
LIFE VR, an extension of the historic LIFE brand, is Time Inc.’s dedicated virtual reality platform featuring next-level storytelling from across the company’s global titles. The forthcoming “Capturing Everest” series will be the first VR experience presented by Sports Illustrated to be housed on the new platform, alongside immersive content from other Time Inc. brands like Time and The Drive.
“Attacking the world’s highest summit seemed like the perfect place to go with our new VR initiative, and by partnering with Endemol Shine and adding in the world-class storytellers from Sports Illustrated, I think we have something truly special and unique to offer our audience,” said Mia Tramz, Managing Editor of LIFE VR. “We can’t wait to bring viewers along for this once-in-a-lifetime journey. This is exactly the type of experience LIFE VR was created for.”
Shot on location over a two-month span, the “Capturing Everest” team employed a variety of 360-degree video capture methods while enduring some of the planet’s most extreme conditions. Specialized cameras rigged to zip lines and body harnesses on the climbers offer first-person views of Mt. Everest in unprecedented fashion.
“This groundbreaking production is going to allow anyone with a smart phone to virtually climb Mt. Everest,” says Bonnie Pan, President, Endemol Shine Beyond USA. “VR is allowing us to tell stories in new and unique ways, and with this series, our brave team of climbers captured a view of Everest that’s going to blow people’s minds. And who better to partner with for such a breathtaking series than the teams at Sports Illustrated and LIFE VR at Time Inc., who are really pushing the scale of these experiences.”
“Summiting Everest has captivated the imagination like few other athletic feats,” said Chris Stone, Editorial Director of Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated Group. “Capturing an ascent in VR makes the unattainable seem attainable while at the same time reinforcing the mythology of Everest. This production is both extraordinarily real and unreal all at once. We are thrilled to bring the viewer along for the odyssey."
The upcoming series follows a team led by Garrett Madison, a six-time Everest summiteer who has led 37 climbers to the summit, the most by an American climber. The series focuses on four climbers including Brent Bishop, a three-time Everest summiteer, who is the son of legendary climber Barry Bishop, the third American to summit Everest. Jeff Glasbrenner joined the group with the aim of being the first American amputee to summit Everest. Lisa White, the lone female member of the team and a cancer survivor, quit her job in healthcare management to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime journey, and Nick Perks is fulfilling a promise to climb Everest in memory of his late father. Perks also hopes to raise £29,035 for UNICEF—one pound sterling for every foot climbed.
The viewer experience begins in Kathmandu, Nepal, as the climbers make their way to Everest Base Camp and then through each ensuing pass, bottomless crevasse, ice wall and literally breathtaking moment all the way to the triumphant summit. The team affixed specialized cameras to 3mm zip lines and pulled them across Everest’s unforgiving landscape with motorized fishing poles. Cameras were also rigged to climbers so viewers could feel first-hand what it’s like to walk on thin suspension bridges and ladders above thousand-foot gorges.
This new virtual reality production follows the launch of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s VR experiences earlier this year, taking viewers inside the photo shoots of former cover models on location in the Dominican Republic.
ABOUT TIME INC.
Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME) is one of the world’s leading media companies, with a monthly global print audience of over 120 million and worldwide digital properties that attract more than 150 million visitors each month, including over 60 websites. Our influential brands include People, Sports Illustrated, InStyle, Time, Real Simple and Southern Living, as well as more than 50 diverse titles in the UK.
ABOUT ENDEMOL SHINE NORTH AMERICA
Endemol Shine Beyond USA is the digital studio of Endemol Shine North America, focused on developing original series across a wide array of platforms. In partnership with Michelle Phan, Endemol Shine Beyond is home to the ICON Network, a female-driven digital network focused on beauty, fashion, comedy, relationships, wellness and travel. ICON is available on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and many other platforms. Endemol Shine Beyond produces numerous original digital-first series including lifestyle comedy “Pretty Little Pranksters,” “Beauty Newbies,” as well as eSports hit global franchise “Legends of Gaming.