The first Russian documentary film released back in 2016 in a virtual reality format about climbing the highest mountain peak of Europe.
This is video in a VR format. To change viewing angle, please tilt your phone using the YouTube app or drag a mouse on your desktop computer.
The film was premiered at the 39th Moscow International Film Festival as a part of RUSSIAN VR SEASONS programme.
I'm one of those people who fell in love with mountains once and for all. Indeed, I will be coming back here over and over again, because mountains empower me and ignites truly fresh sense of purpose. When I first climbed Elbrus in 2013, I realized that this was the place where I could tap into my true self, where I managed to find my inner strength and keep it to be able to share with others.
Maxim Nikonov
VR videos feature a profound immersion effect into virtually filmed environment.
Having put VR headset on, a viewer is carried away to an altogether new place, which aesthetic expressive features play rather more important role in 360 films than in classic ones. We learnt this fact and were willing to film a truly fascinating video with unique high-quality separate identity, at that we realized, that using technology of spherical panoramas was absolutely worth it as a necessary means of expression.
Near the "Ukyu-kosh" camp, the "Bezengi" Wall, 2016.
Elbrus is the highest peak in Europe, annually luring hundreds of climbers, eager to outbrave the mountain. Alpine climbing is a spectacular but quite dangerous sport, full of exciting moments and vivid emotions. Having a certain experience of living in mountains, we decided that climbing Elbrus is a good VR film idea, capable to soar the viewers high up into unforgettable atmosphere. Filming in mountains is quite an extreme action in rough environment. Weather is constantly changing; acclimatization makes all physical activities difficult to endure, and even walking becomes harder. Certainly, aside from filmmaking tasks you are always getting side-tracked by cooking, packing things up, camping, experiencing limited time and power supply for equipment. Our team consisted of 8 people, including 3 videomaking specialists – Alecander Lyasnikov, a drone pilot, Maxim Nikonov – film director, and Oleg Hohlov – the 2nd film director. Azamat Aturbaev were making photo report about our trip. The rest team members were the people who came here to conquer the mountain top and made no filming. Basically, they were friends of mine who had been eager to climb the Elbrus peak for a while.
We were well prepared morally and technologically. We had the newest unique VR stereo camera on the basis of 20 GoPro 4 Black with several lens filters, motion stabilizer, camera power supply units and a drone for aerial filming with 6 packs of batteries and carrying capacity of up to 5kgs, that was roughly the weight of our stereoscopic 360 gimbal. We were flying in the Bezengi Wall at up to 4500 m. and over Elbrus while still suffering from acclimatization. It was actually quite challenging as Elbrus is an extremely windy place so at some point, we realized it would be better not to risk and just carried the camera along. Eventually, our three-week Caucasus journey resulted in having absolutely unique and striking video scenes. The film production took several months before release.
Western peak of Elbrus. August 16, 2016. ~ 9:00AM. Oleg Hohlov, Alexander Lyasnikov, Azamat Aturbaev, Maxim Nikonov and Dmitry Gusarin.