An Interactive History of
Non-Fiction in Virtual Reality

Produced by
Virtual Realities: Immersive Documentary Encounters

What is Non-Fiction VR?

While cinema offers an optical illusion of movement, Virtual Reality offers a new generation of illusion - a powerful sense of being there within a scene.

Non-Fiction Virtual Reality is an emergent and rapidly evolving new medium for filmmaking that draws from - and builds upon - traditional forms of non-fiction, interactive media, gaming and immersive theatre. The VR Mediography project is compiling a detailed history of this new form of interactive experience, examining where it has come from, how it is developing and where it is heading. Our dataset currently contains 424 examples of non-fiction VR content released between 2012 and 2018.

Latest Additions

How are we choosing what to include?

As an emergent medium, non-fiction VR is attracting highly experimental works that sometimes do not fit neatly into what might be considered 'traditional' filmmaking. Our search strategy is therefore deliberately broad, including organic search (english language), social media and the programmes of leading international film festivals. At this early stage in our research, we are including any VR piece that self-presents as non-fiction, or is referred to by a third party as a piece of non-fiction VR.

Random Selection

A Timeline of Non-Fiction VR

Our interactive timline charts the emergence of VR non-fiction content since 2012. The timeline shows when and where non-fiction titles where released, highlights important events, identifies award winning pieces and charts the increasing visibility of VR content on the programmes of leading international film festivals.

Browse the Timeline ›

What themes are being explored in non-fiction VR?

According to our dataset, these are the themes that are being explored by non-fiction VR makers (weighted by frequency of occurrence). Select a theme to see the titles associated with it:

1916 Easter Rising   1973 Chilean coup d'état   2014 Ebola Outbreak   2015 Paris Attacks   2016 Berlin Attack   2016 US Election   2017 Grenfell Tower Fire   ANC   Aborigine   Abortion   Acrobatics   Acting   Adventure   Africa   African Culture   Ageing   Alcohol Abuse   Aleksei Leonov   Aleppo   Amazon Rainforest   Ancient Egypt   Ancient Rome   Animal rights   Animal testing   Animation   Anne Frank   Antarctica   Apartheid   April 2015 Nepal earthquake   Archeology   Architecture   Arctic Circle   Art   Astronomy   Astrophysics   Asylum   Auschwitz   Australia   Autism   Aviation   Bajau Society   Ballet   Basketball   Bears   Beavers   Beekeeping   Bees   Behind-the-scenes   Berlin   Binge Drinking   Biology   Bipolar disorder   Blindness   Borneo   Boston Dynamics   Boxing   Brain injury   Brazil   Brexit   Burma   Busking   Butterflies   Calais Jungle   Capitalism   Cave Houses   Cellular biology   Cerebral Palsy   Charity   Chernobyl disaster   Childhood   China   Cinema   Cirque du Soleil   Civil Rights Movement   Climate change   Climbing   Cochlear Implant   Columbia River Gorge   Congo   Conservation   Consumerism   Coral Reefs   Cuba   Cyber Warfare   Cycling   Dairy Farming   Dam Busters   Dance   Data Visualisation   Death   Debt   Deforestation   Defy Ventures   Democracy   Dinosaurs   Disability   Disaster   Discrimination   Displacement   Diving   Dolphins   Domestic violence   Drought   Drugs   Drugs Trade   Duppy Gun Productions   Eagle Creek Fire   Earthquake   Ebola   Ecology   Economy   Education   Elephant Seals   Empathy   Endangered Species   Engineering   Entertainment   Environment   Environmental disaster   Epilepsy   Ethiopia   Ethiopian Wolves   Ethnic cleansing   Experimental   Exploitation   Extreme Sports   FGM   Factory Farming   Family   Famine   Fashion   Female empowerment   Fiji   Film Production   First Space Walk   First World War   Food banks   Foreign Legion   Free Diving   GDR   Game   Gaza   Gender equality   Gender identity   Grand Canyon   Gravitational Waves   Grief   Guatemala   Hacking   Health   Hearing   Heritage   Highlining   Hiroshima   History   Homelessness   Hong Kong Culture   Hoverboards   Hubble Telescope   Human development   Human experience   Human physiology   Human rights   Human trafficking   ISIS   ISS   Illegal logging   Inca   India   Indian Culture   Indigenous peoples   Infancy   International Space Station   Iraq   Iraq War   Ireland   Islam   Ivory trade   Jaguars   Jewellery   Journalism   Kenya   Korean demilitarized zone   LIGO Experiment   Language   Laughter Yoga   Library   London 7/7 Attacks   Loneliness   Los Angeles   Loss   Love   Maasai Society   Magic   Magritte   Malaria   Mara River   Marawi   Marine conservation   Mars   Martin Luther King   Mecca   Mental health   Mexico   Migration   Military   Military Research   Military training   Millions March NYC   Mongolia   Mongolian Herders   Moroccan Culture   Morocco   Mountain Rescue   Movement   Mumbai   Music   Myalgic encephalomyelitis   Myanmar   NASA   Native Americans   Natural disaster   Natural history   Natural wonders   Nature   Navajo Indians   Nelson Mandela   Nepal   New Horizons Mission   New York   Nigeria   Noise Pollution   Nuclear   Nuclear Weapons   Nuclear testing   Obama Presidency   Ocean Acidification   Oceanography   Olympic Games   Overfishing   PTSD   Painting   Pakistan   Palau   Paleontology   Partition   Patagonia   People smuggling   Performance   Peru   Philippines   Photography   Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival    Pluto   Poaching   Poetry   Police Brutality   Policing   Pollution   Porton Down   Poverty   Prejudice   Press freedom   Prison   Protest   Puerto Rico   R&D   Racing   Racism   Rainforest   Recycling   Reenactment   Refugees   Rehabilitation   Religion   Remembrance   Renewable Energy   Replica Cities   Retrofuturism   Rewilding   River Ghanges   Road Safety   Robotics   Rodeo   Rohingya   Russia   Safari   Salvador Dali   Saudi Arabia   Savannah   Science   Scientific Research   Scotland   Sea Erosion   Search and Rescue   Senses   Sex Trade   Sexual assault   Sexuality   Sharks   Shell Oil Spills   Skateboarding   Slavery   Sleeping Sickness   Slums   Social VR   Solar Energy   Solitary confinement   Somalia   Songwriting   South Africa   Space exploration   Space tourism   Spacetime   Speed   Spirituality   Sport   Stasi   Street Art   Sudan   Suffragettes   Surfing   Surrealism   Syrian Civil War   Taliban   Tanks   Technology   Terrorism   Testicular Cancer   The Burning Ghats of Varanasi   The Earth   The Holocaust   The Shooting of Michael Brown   The Universe   Theatre   Tibet   Titanic Disaster   Tokyo   Torture   Tourism   Traditional Dance   Transgender   Travel   Tropical Disease   U.S Politics   UK Government   UK Royal Family   UN Cyprus Buffer Zone   US Mexico border wall   US Navy   USA   Vietnam   Virtual Reality   Visual impairment   Volcanos   Voodoo   Voyager Probe   War   War & Conflict   Water   Water poverty   White Power Movement   Wild Fires   Wildebeest migration   Witness testimony   Women   Womens rights   World War 2   Yawanawá   Yemeni Civil War   Yosemite National Park   Zika Virus   vision  

How much non-fiction VR content is out there?

Based on 424 titles catalogued so far, this chart shows how production numbers for non-fiction VR content have changed since the earliest known examples in 2012:

Film festivals and awards

Non-fiction VR is an increasingly visible fixture at leading international film festivals. According to our dataset, these are the most prominent non-fiction VR titles in terms of festival appearances and awards received:

Year Title Director(s) Awards Festival
2016 Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness Amaury La Burthe, Arnaud Colinart, James Spinney & Peter Middleton 3 7
2016 Home: Aamir Erfan Saadati, Rufus Norris & Toby Coffey 3 3
2016 Home - An Immersive Spacewalk Experience Kate Bartlett & Tom Burton 2 4
2017 After Solitary Cassandra Herrman & Lauren Mucciolo 2 3
2017 Munduruku: The Fight to Defend the Heart of the Amazon Grace Boyle & James Manisty 2 1
2016 Behind the Fence Jonathan Olinger & Lindsay Branham 2 1
2016 6x9: A Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement Francesca Panetta & Lindsay Poulton 1 5
2018 The Sun Ladies Celine Tricart 1 5
2017 Bloodless Gina Kim 1 3
2016 Collisions Lynette Wallworth 1 3

Who is creating non-fiction VR content?

These are the most prolific directors / creators in our dataset*, weighted by the number of titles credited to them. Select a director to view their filmography, collaborators and awards.

Aaron Bradbury   Amaury La Burthe   Andrew Somerville   Angel Manuel Soto   Ari Palitz   Averie Timm   Barry Pousman   Ben C. Solomon   Ben Ross   Benoît Lichté   Brittany Neff   Celine Tricart   Charlotte Mikkelborg   Chris Milk   Cory Tran   Danfung Dennis   Darren Emerson   David Darg   David Gelb   David Whelan   Eline Jongsma   Elise Ogle   Eliza McNitt   Eric Strauss   Evan Grothjan   Francesca Panetta   François Blouin   Félix Lajeunesse   Gabo Arora   Georgy Molodtsov   Graham Roberts   Imraan Ismail   James Hedley   Jane Gauntlett   Jason Drakeford   Jeff Orlowski   Jeremy Bailenson   Jesse Ayala   Jessica Brillhart   John Durrant   Jonathan Williams   Jörg Haaßengier   Jürgen Brügger   Kel O'Neill   Lindsay Branham   Lucy Walker   Lynette Wallworth   Marshall Curry   Matteo Lonardi   Mitch Turnbull   Navid Khonsari   Nicole Jackson   Nonny de la Peña   Oscar Raby   Patrick Meegan   Paul Raphaël   Raphael Beugrand   Ricarda Saleh   Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy   Shehani Fernando   Stephanie Riggs   Tarik Benbrahim   Tyson Sadler   Vassiliki Khonsari   Yasmin Elayat   Zach Richter   Zahra Rasool   Ziv Schneider  

* For brevity, we only directors who are credited with more than one title are included. For a comprehensive list, view the full film listing.

Where is non-fiction VR being produced?

Our dataset currently contains titles released from 57 countries. Of the 424 titles in our dataset, the leading non-fiction VR producing countries are: USA (51%) , United Kingdom (20%) , Canada (7%) , France (5%) & Australia (4%) .

How is the duration of non-fiction VR content changing over time?

According to our data, the length of a non-fiction VR title ranges from 1 to 40 minutes, with an average of 8.9 minutes. This chart shows how the length of non-fiction VR titles has changed over time.

More to come!

This resource remains under active development and will continue to grow as our analysis continues. Keep an eye on the changelog for updates. Until then, why not explore our Non-fiction VR timeline ›.