From taking a tour of the most beautiful cities in the world to exploring space, 360-degree VR videos can take you to places you’ve never thought you could explore. These videos not only immerse you in incredible environments, but they also allow you to take an active role in your viewing experience.
So make some room in your living room, strap on your headset and explore the world via the best VR videos on YouTube.
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How to Watch VR Videos on your Phone
To watch 360-degree VR videos and enjoy an immersive experience you need a VR headset. You can pickup a simple VR headset for your phone on Amazon for around $30 bucks. If you want to spend under $10, try a Google Cardboard. Yes, it’s a piece of heavy paper but it works and is a great entry point into the world of VR.
The Google Cardboard is one of the best choices out there, as it makes it possible to experience virtual reality in an affordable way. All you have to do is fold the viewer of your choice and look inside. Make sure you choose a viewer that’s compatible with the size of your phone. You can then explore a wide range of apps to discover the world around you.
Here’s how to watch VR videos on your Google Cardboard:
- Fold the cardboard by following the instructions.
- Open the YouTube app and search for a video.
- Select the video you want to play and tap the play button.
- Tap the “Cardboard” button to split the screen into two smaller screens.
- Insert the phone-in the cardboard.
- Look around and enjoy the video in 360 degrees.
Our Favourite VR Videos
Free Solo – National Geographic
This award-winning documentary allows you to explore breathtaking views and explore heights that most people won’t be ever able to see in real life. Alex Honnold climbs to the top of Yosemite’s El Capitan without ropes. Winner of the Best Documentary Feature Academy Award, “Free Solo” is both an exhilarating thriller and an ode to pushing the limits of the human spirit.
Red Bull: Cliff Diving from a Rocky Ledge in Italy
Whether you’re afraid of heights or you’ve been dreaming about doing high dives, you can have a very realistic and immersive experience cliff diving from a rocky ledge in this video. Covering everything from walking up to the edge of the diving platform to taking the plunge, the video is mainly taken from the point of view of the divers for an amazingly immersive experience.
Africa’s Pristine Delta – National Geographic
Another beautiful and exciting 360 VR video from National Geographic, “Africa’s Pristine Delta” follows Fr. Steve Boyes and this team on their expedition through the Okavango Delta. This is the perfect video for those who want to get up close with lions, elephants and zebras and canoe down a river.
BBC Earth: Total Solar Eclipse: 360 Video Seen from Space
A must-see for all fans of space, this video by BBC makes it possible to experience a total solar eclipse as seen from space. You can explore the eclipse from all possible angles and enjoy an educational experience that’s captivating for all ages.
New York Times: We Who Remain
A 14-minute documentary about the lives of citizens stuck in the middle of a war in Sudan, “We Who Remain” is a thought-provoking video that will open your eyes to the sacrifices and difficulties of survival in a war-torn country.
Ascend with David Blaine
David Blain performed an incredible stunt in 2020 by floating while holding on to a cluster of 52 balloons using just a harness. The stunt was streamed live on YouTube and the standard version of the video has over 22M views. The 360 version is different because it offers extra footage from first-person perspective.
Wild With: Bears – Discovery
If you’ve ever wondered how it feels to stand face to face with a real grizzly bear, “Wild With: Bears – Discovery” makes it possible to have that experience right in your living room. This is a short but completely captivating VR video fro the Discovery Channel.
Shark Attack VR 360°
If you’re looking for scary VR videos, Shark Attack VR 360° could be right up your alley. Created by VR planet, this video has hundreds of comments in the lines of “It almost gave me a heart attack,” so watch at your own peril.
NASA: Cassini’s Grand Finale
In this video, you’ll be traveling along with NASA’s Cassini spacecraft between Saturn and its rings. Whether or not you’re passionate about space, it’s impossible not to be mesmerized by the incredible views of Saturn’s atmosphere. The cherry on top is the narrator’s voice, which adds a soothing effect to the video.
Rome: A Guided City Tour
Travel aficionados should definitely not miss taking an incredible tour of Rome in the company of Daan and his girlfriend Elske. The narration is friendly and not overthought, so you’ll feel like you’re visiting one of the oldest cities in the world with a bunch of friends.
Alien: Covenant | “In Utero”
The feature film Alien: Covenant was the sixth movie that centers on the long-running Alien franchise (not counting the Aliens vs Predator movies). This latest installment may not have been a huge success at the box office, but it was an excuse for Twentieth Century Fox to create a truly scary VR video short. In fact, this clip may be even better than Ridley Scott’s feature.
Basically, you get to see the viewpoint of the chestbuster alien as it gestates inside a human host. Yes, you get to experience how one of the greatest movie monsters of all time comes out of a person, blood and all, and then attacks any other human in its path. It’s actually rather brilliant, and we would love to see an even longer movie that features the full Alien creature as it hunts people inside a spaceship. As you might expect, this clip is NSFW, so be prepared when you put your VR headset for a lot of gore.
View of Earth from International Space Station
Have you ever wondered what the planet Earth looks like from orbit? Sure, you may have seen pictures and 2D video taken by astronauts and cosmonauts, but now you can check out a full 360 degree video of the Earth from space, specifically from the International Space Station. The Russian space agency Roscosmos and the state’s media outlet RT teamed up to produce something pretty darn cool.
The first part of the video shows the ISS orbiting the Earth in full VR, and then the scene changes so you can get a 360 degree look inside the space station itself. It’s perhaps the closest thing most of us will ever get to feeling that we are on board something orbiting the planet. The video is short, but very memorable.
The Protectors: Walk in the Ranger’s Shoes
Most people know that the wild elephant is on the verge of extinction in Africa, thanks to hunters who have been illegally killing these creatures for decades to claim their ivory tusks. In this National Geographic VR video, we get to see how a park ranger in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Garamba National Park operates as he tries to keep these poachers from killing any more of these elephants.
This VR video, which was co-created in part by Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty), is a fascinating look at a location that most of us will never visit, and its use of 360 degree video gives it an even bigger scope.
Here’s another example of the kind of VR video that really showcases how the format can be used to great effect. The clip takes us underwater, into the Bird’s Head Seascape in eastern Indonesia. You get to see the vast amount of fish and other aquatic life in this location, which has been saved from being taken from us by a community-based conservation program. This is yet another video that can not only be a great film to look at, but also gives us something to learn about the world around us.
Red vs Blue 360
For our final selection, we decided to have some fun. The team at Austin-based Rooster Teeth help to promote machinima, or creating scripted movies inside game engines, with the Red vs Blue series, based on Bungie and Microsoft’s hit Halo game franchise. Now the same team is creating Red vs Blue episodes in full 360 degree video, which will put you inside the world of Halo, and more importantly, inside the world that Rooster Teeth has created for themselves inside the franchise.
You can check out four 360 degree Red vs Blue episodes on YouTube, and even though these characters battle, and joke around, in the Halo universe. it’s also cool to seem them interact while watching in a VR helmet.