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 and Littlestar make it easy to download and digest these videos across multiple platforms, but there are also videos that stand out on their own. Here are the best apps and 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.
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.
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 — for now — a Daydream exclusive, and it 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 the Pixel and Pixel XL's screen. 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 other platforms by simply visiting YouTube through a web browser.
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.
The Fight for Falluja
This is a must-see video for anyone interested in what's going on in Iraq. Produced by the New York Times, embed yourself alongside journalist Ben C. Solomon as he tails Iraqi Forces in their quest to liberate Falluja from ISIS. Experience what it's like to take fire, and get an inside look at soldiers during their downtime. This is not a video for the faint-hearted.
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.
Notes on Blindness
Notes on Blindness is an Emmy-award winning short film centered around John Hull's audio diary that he kept through the process of going blind. Following the film's success, a VR experience was created to simulate the sensory and psychological ramifications of going blind. While this isn't strictly a video, it's something that should not be missed by anyone.
More great VR videos
Let us know in the comments section what your favorite VR video is and what platform you watch it on!