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Sports Illustrated, Endemol Bring VR to Everest

Time’s Sports Illustrated has partnered with Endemol Shine Beyond USA to produce a new virtual reality documentary series, one that follows four climbers making a 2016 ascent of Mt. Everest.

Set to premiere in early 2017 on both Time’s recently launched Life VR platform and in 360-degree video on, Capturing Everest was shot over a two-month span, with the first episode putting viewers in Kathmandu, Nepal, where veteran climber Garrett Madison begins leading the team of American climbers.

“Attacking the world’s highest summit seemed like the perfect place to go with our new VR initiative, and by partnering with Endemol Shine and adding in the world-class storytellers from Sports Illustrated, I think we have something truly special and unique to offer our audience,” said Mia Tramz, managing editor of Life VR, in a statement. “We can’t wait to bring viewers along for this once-in-a-lifetime journey. This is exactly the type of experience Life VR was created for.”

The VR documentary was shot using cameras affixed to both the climbers and 3mm zip lines that pulled them across Everest’s landscape using motorized fishing poles. This is Sports Illustrated’s second VR endeavor, following the release of its Swimsuit VR production earlier this year, which covered the photo shoots of former cover models in the Dominican Republic.

“Summiting Everest has captivated the imagination like few other athletic feats,” said Chris Stone, editorial director of Time’s Sports Illustrated Group. “Capturing an ascent in VR makes the unattainable seem attainable while at the same time reinforcing the mythology of Everest. This production is both extraordinarily real and unreal all at once. We are thrilled to bring the viewer along for the odyssey."

Bonnie Pan, president of Endemol Shine Beyond USA, added: “This groundbreaking production is going to allow anyone with a smart phone to virtually climb Mt. Everest. VR is allowing us to tell stories in new and unique ways, and with this series, our brave team of climbers captured a view of Everest that’s going to blow people’s minds.”