underwater 360 image of fish in new zealand waters

Just a couple weeks ago Sustainable West Seattle held the Greenlife Festival–an exhibition which took place as part of the West Seattle Summer Festival. The overall tagline of the Greenlife festival was “Save the Orcas and the Salish Sea”, and the three days were devoted to informing festival-goers about the declining health of the Salish Sea.

The festival focused particularly on the suffering Orca population, on legislative solutions to the problem, and on what the individual can do to make a difference. One notable event from the festival was a public forum with Governor Inslee and his task force on the Southern Resident Orca crisis.

VR for Environmental Advocacy

The keynote presentation of the festival was the premiere of “Virtual Salish See and Beyond!”, a 360° video created by Diver Laura James, in association with Oceans360.org. The video takes viewers underwater, deep into the Puget Sound, and it doesn’t stop there. Watching the video, you’ll get to see underwater VR footage from South Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, and several other locations.

cuttlefish in VR

The video was created with the hope that by fully immersing viewers in the experience they would come to better understand (and maybe even start to care for) the underwater communities that are shown. Using VR, James hopes to make it easier for viewers to step out of their own shoes, and better empathize with the mission of the Greenlife festival, and her own mission of environmental conservation.

The premiere of her VR video content at Greenlife was powered with Pixvana SPIN Studio, and videos were cast from computer to headset using the SPIN Play app. This made all the difference in terms of both event set-up and overall viewer experience.

Diver laura james speaking at greenlife festival


SPIN Studio in Action

James was able to quickly download her content into SPIN studio, and cast to multiple headsets simultaneously. There was no need to pay each headset individual attention when she needed to make last-minute content adjustments.

Taking advantage of the Auto Play feature enhanced the experience even further. In some cases, festival participants found the headsets so comfortable, and the content so engaging, that they would watch the 6-minute video, looped, three or four times! That’s what you call full immersion! Plus, because Auto Play starts the video as soon as the headset is put on, and disables most functionality in the remote, there was very little room for user error. This meant participants could relax even further into the experience, without having to worry about the technology.

people experiencing vr content

Laura was able to run the event, managing nine Oculus Go headsets, on her own with zero problems.

“My experience was like night and day compared to ALL earlier attempts. Using SPINCast from Pixvana I had 9 Oculus Gos running for multiple hours straight with ZERO issues…Not once did anyone mention the technology. It was invisible. Just how I’d always dreamed it could be. I can’t thank the Pixvana team enough for completely changing the experience of sharing 360 video with more people. I would not have been able to accomplish this demo so effortlessly with prior technology” – Diver Laura James


Watch “Virtual Salish See and Beyond!” Now

Be sure to check out “Virtual Salish See and Beyond!” in 360° on YouTube, or get the full experience by watching the video in your VR headset!


This video was made possible by the Oceans360.org Collaborative

Underwater Filmmakers: Tom Gruber, Russel Hughes, Axel Busch, Carl Charter, Rick Miskiv, Laura James

Stitch and Edit: Laura James

Sistch New Zealand Footage: Russel Hughes, Boxfish-Research


About Diver Laura James

Diver Laura James headshot

Diver Laura James is from Western Washingon. She is a diver, a scientist, an environmental activist and an Emmy award-winning filmmaker. She is constantly looking for ways to support the health of our oceans, and was the recipient of the Cox Conservation Hero award in 2012. She is extremely passionate about combining the sophistication of multimedia with the hands-on approach of public events. In doing this, she hopes to invigorate local conservation initiatives and inspire individuals. She decided to use VR to inspire empathy for the environment within people because, as she says, “people protect what they love, but they have to know it to love it…”. Learn more about Diver Laura James here.


About Sustainable West Seattle

Sustainable West Seattle LogoSustainable West Seattle educates, creates and advocates for urban sustainability in our local community. They envision a West Seattle community of empowered citizens who actively lead us toward greater self-reliance, local democracy, social justice, and existence in harmony with life on earth. Learn more about Sustainable West Seattle here.



Interested in powering your event with VR Casting? Click below to try out SPIN Studio for free!

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