What are the best videos to watch in VR?
Virtual reality isn’t just all about gaming — it’s also about emotional and exhilarating experiences in the form of 360-degree videos. Apps like Within, Littlestar, and YouTube make it easy to download and digest these videos across multiple VR platforms. Here are the best VR videos to watch right now.
Within has a small but concentrated collection of VR videos that range from band exposés to deeply affecting stories about refugees and the environment. This app is available for all the major VR platforms, and here are the best videos it has to offer.
This documentary from National Geographic highlights the lives of both Garamba National Park rangers and the endangered elephants they’re tasked to protect from poachers. These rangers put their lives on the line every day, knowing that the price of ivory is higher than the price of their lives.
If you’re at all interested in the world of cinema, Kinoscope might be the best film on this list. Dean Tavoularis, the Oscar-winning production designer, narrates this tale that takes you from the very start of the cinematic world to where we’re at now.
The Click Effect
If you’ve never experienced the thrill of freediving — taking a single breath and jumping into open water — here’s your chance. Not only is this a freedive, it also tells the story of how sperm whales and dolphins use clicks to communicate. This film is as beautiful as it is educational.
One of the best parts of VR is its ability to show you things you don’t usually see. The Displaced tells the story of three children — from Syria, Sudan, and Ukraine — forced from their homes because of war. Move from refugee camps to destroyed villages and see first-hand what they have to live with.
Waves of Grace
During the 2013 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, one girl named Decontree Davis used her immunity to the disease to take care of afflicted, orphaned children. This video is as much centered around faith as it is centered around this girl’s dedication to helping others.
A world filled with billboards, joy, and bright colors is on display here in this trippy video designed as candy for your eyes. Stick around as the dark underbelly of this world is exposed — things aren’t quite as utopian as they seem on the surface.
Note that this video is intended for mature audiences.
Ronald Mambrasar, a coral reef scientist, takes you on a dive to see the beautiful Bird’s Head reef in Indonesia. Learn how the reef was nearly destroyed before the community and Conservation International intervened to keep it safe for future generations.
Littlstar VR Cinema
Littlstar is another app that is available on all major VR platforms. It has a far larger collection of videos than Within, with genres focused on travel, sports, lifestyle, and more. To help you get the most out of Littlstar, here are the videos we like the most.
The Most Dangerous Job
Part history lesson and part jaw-dropping awe, this video places you on the deck of the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier as its crew undergoes combat training. See what it’s like to be an aircraft handler here and the dangers involved in the job.
Organic Spaceship ‘ONE’
This trip through space is part psychedelic and part mathematical. An imaginary spaceship floats by, and its geometry seems to ever expand. You seem to pass through the ship, yet it seems like you’re ever at the surface. Set to music by RYSY, this is quite the experience.
360 Journeys: Life Along the Ganges River
Not only is the sacred river Ganges on display here in all its glory, the people who live alongside it and rely on its water are also highlighted. Step into the lives of the villagers, the faithful, and the tourists affected every day by this famous river.
The Nepal Quake Project
Never before has the aftermath of such a large earthquake been seen in VR. Following the 2015 quake, much of Nepal was in ruin, with many people dead or missing. While news stories like this are often quickly forgotten, The Nepal Quake Project succeeds in taking you inside the destruction for a first-hand view. After watching this video, you’ll be hard-pressed to forget about the ongoing struggle of the Nepalese people.
For My Son
For My Son challenges the assumption that all refugees are burdens by taking you from the destroyed city of Aleppo, Syria all the way to Amman, Jordan, where a second attempt at life is underway by one young father. This video is meant as a letter to a son but is equally profound for all who watch.
The YouTube VR app is quite impressive. You get access to all of YouTube’s 360-degree videos through a simple user interface and get to enjoy the picture on your headset’s display. This app isn’t just made for VR — play any non-VR YouTube video and watch it on an enormous screen in front of you. Here are some of our favorite videos you can watch on YouTube VR.
Note: You can also watch VR YouTube videos on Rift and Vive by simply visiting YouTube through a web browser. Use this guide to get everything working correctly
Welcome to Aleppo
Wondering what a city looks like after years of a bloody civil war? Take a trip to Aleppo, Syria for a close-up look at the destruction there. It’s sad, it’s potent, and it’s important.
Get Barreled in Tahiti
Have you ever had a chance to surf a huge wave? Want to know second-hand what it feels like to ride a tube in Tahiti? Unless you’re planning a trip there soon (or already live there), this is the next best thing.
Journey to the Edge of Space
You start on the ground in a parking lot, tethered to a balloon. At about 65 miles per hour, you begin to ascend. Along the way, you’ll have the best view of the earth, and you’ll pass through clouds containing varying forms of condensation. A pleasant voice talks to you while you ascend, letting you know just how high you are, what you’re seeing, and what the environment is like around you.
Dreams of Dalí
Even if you don’t know who Dalí is or you’re not familiar with his famous paintings, you’ll still enjoy this voyage through a surreal landscape centered around his twisted view. All of his most famous works have been transformed for VR, and the unique soundtrack only adds to the unreal experience.
Explore the world with IM360
IM360 has put together a montage of beautiful shots mostly captured from beneath a helicopter. Travel around our world and view some of the most breathtaking vistas it has to offer, from New York’s skyline to the savannas of Africa.
Experience the Blue Angels
Watching the Blue Angels perform from the ground is one thing; actually sitting in the cockpit is an entirely different experience. Feel every muscle in your body tense up as the jets move within inches of each other, and enjoy the view as it races by beneath you. For fans of speed and daredevilry, this is the video to watch.
More great VR videos
Let us know in the comments section what your favorite VR video is and what platform you watch it on!
Updated July 27, 2017: We’ve added new videos to each platform to ensure you’re still getting a good selection of VR videos to watch right now.