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Big Sky Doc Fest takes on virtual reality

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MISSOULA -

Film fans get a chance to take a virtual reality tour of Antarctica during the 15th Annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula. 

Film festival attendees can choose an Antarctica journey, without leaving Montana. It's happening at the Missoula Children's Theater, one of the venues for this year's events. 

The New York Times virtual reality exhibition is called The Antarctica Series. The short virtual reality projects are filmed on, above and below the ice of Antarctica. The projects are are directed by Graham Roberts and Jonathan Corum.

Tyler Grutsch, the venue manager at MCT, showed us how it works. Participants sit in comfortable chairs, put on the headset and headphones and are quickly transported to the continent through virtual reality. 

"There is a portion where you are underneath the ice, which is really cool. You can take a helicopter ride. It's a 360 environment. They have cameras all around, so you can see the entire environment, " said Grutsch. Here's a screenshot of the New York Times' video:

One 'traveler' who took the virtual tour told us a little bit about his journey.

"You could look around and see everything around you. The video I watched was some divers under the ice in Antarctica. It was just a really cool thing," said Jordan Gess. 

The virtual reality is run through an app on a smartphone. The only issue is that it takes a lot of power to run the series. 

"We just had someone here that went on for so long, that the phone was getting too hot. We had to shut everything down. Yes, this is cool, but we need to re-charge the battery. There are limitations to that...you can literally get lost. It's like you're there," said Grutsch. 

But a tour unlike any other may be worth the wait. 

The virtual experience will be available all week during the film festival at MCT.  

For more information click here.

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