Space Needle Launches Virtual Reality Experience

The Space Needle in Seattle has launched The VR Bar, a free virtual reality experience for visitors to the Needle’s observation deck. Created in collaboration with Panogs and Graffix, The VR Bar provides a range of virtual scenarios, like walking the “Halo”, the ring-like structure fixed around the top of the building, flying a seaplane over Seattle’s Lake Union, and a 520′ (160m) bungee jump from the top of the Needle itself.

VR Bungee

Gavin Farrell, co-founder of Panogs, described the process of capturing the 360° video for the bungee jump scenario.

“In less than 30 days, our team was set with the task of developing an authentic and thrilling bungee jump experience. Two of our biggest challenges were navigating the best way to record footage on such a uniquely designed structure, and how to keep the cameras stabilised during the bungee jump fall. While drones are typically used to capture aerial footage, our team dropped a camera from the Space Needle’s 520′ Observation Deck, which captured a more realistic descent.”

A special gimbal created by Advance Visuals called AutoGimbal was used to stabilise the camera during its descent. AutoGimbal claims to measure angular velocity 800 times per second, and uses the data captured to calculate the amount of motion the camera needs to make in the opposite direction to eliminate spinning or other kinds of undesirable movement.

Once the 360° video was captured, Graffix used the visuals to create the finished VR experience.