From the stories of an ex-poacher to a ranger working for Wildlife Alliance, we’ll learn about how the natural environment and wildlife living in the Cardamom Mountains of Cambodia had been threatened and protected. The sounds of nature will be the overture that leads our audiences on this discovery journey, where we introduce different endangered animals and discovering how Wildlife Alliance works with local communities to save them.
A Virtual Reality documentary set on the edge between a community and the Cardamom Mountains rainforest in south-west Cambodia. This documentary focuses on conservation, wildlife and human-wildlife conflict, animals being the original protagonists of this story, but after having spent some time in the community, humans needed to be part of this documentary to have a more complete frame. The stories of two people who changed their life to protect the local wildlife, driven by the will and incredible hard work of the NGO’s ‘Wildlife Alliance’. In this 15 minutes long 360 experience with immersive Spatial Audio, the audience will learn about the people and wildlife living closely in this area, by being immersed in their environments, driven by a rich and dense immersive soundscape.
The aim of the project has been, since the beginning, to keep it as authentic as possible. All the footage (apart for the CGI scene), audio (apart for the gunshot), and voice-over have been captured on location, without causing disturbance to wildlife or the local community. We believe its authenticity brings a deeper level of connection with the wildlife and human stories.
360 Sound for Headphones
Any set of headphones
The experience, but sound only! The whole project has been designed to be a compelling, interesting and adventurous experience also as a SOUND-ONLY story.
For VR headset, walk-through experience.
A 360 experience, but instead of being linear, when entering The Evidence Room, the audience can choose which wildlife world to visit, and walk inside the immersive 360 soundscape like in real life!
5 rooms within the same building/floor level. One main room with the 360 video projection, 4 rooms with rainforest sonic simulation.
Starting in a room, a group of people can watch the 360 video on a 360 spherical screen. When in The Evidence Room, the audience can choose which way to go, to visit a different wildlife natural environment. In each ‘wildlife room’, a piece of the rainforest gets recreated, and the audience is surrounded by a 20.2 loudspeaker in each room.
A non-fiction Virtual Reality documentary set on the edge between a community and the Cardamom Mountains rainforest in south-west Cambodia. This documentary focuses on conservation, wildlife and human-wildlife conflict, animals being the original protagonists of this story, but after having spent some time in the community, humans needed to be part of this documentary to have a more complete frame. The stories of two people who changed their life to protect the local wildlife, driven by the will and incredible hard work of the NGO’s ‘Wildlife Alliance’. In this 15 minutes long 360 experience with immersive Spatial Audio, the audience will learn about the people and wildlife living closely in this area, by being immersed in their environments, driven by a rich and dense immersive soundscape.
In April 2019 I visited the Cardamom Mountains rainforest in Cambodia, as I wanted to capture immersively the natural soundscapes and wildlife of the area. Pileated Gibbons, Asian Elephants, Long-tail Macaques, Great and Wreathed Hornbill, all these species plus a lot more are making a big comeback after years of poaching and deforestation. The nocturnal and early morning soundscapes are so rich, full of life, which is something you may not expect by being so close to the communities. While there I learnt a lot about the wildlife and the struggles it faces. I ended up investigating more about the communities living in the area. The story was clear, an ex-poachers’ community and the NGO Wildlife Alliance working to preserve the natural habitat and its wildlife.
During my stay, I met two incredible people, Chenda, a Cambodian local guide, and Abel, a Spanish ranger working for Wildlife Alliance. Both people have been so inspiring and opened up to me, where I learnt so much not only about their stories, but how making a change is difficult and incredibly helpful for others.
Aesthetically, this documentary’s aim has been since the beginning to use sound to drive the story. This is because the crucial sonic events I capture usually happen at night or really early morning, where it’s not possible to see with our human eyes. I left devices in the field for days, placed carefully in places where wildlife would make vocalisations and make you feel their presence, near berry trees, water holes. I wanted to keep the sense of presence even when you meet the people visually. The rich immersive sound mix, slow fades and overall slow pace during the introduction to the people prepare your senses to be then immersed in the natural sonic world of the animals you will encounter. All the sounds come from the field, even the voice overs, all apart for the gunshot. The goal in my works is to use as less music as possible, and in this documentary I didn’t need to use any music at all because of the way it is structured, and the beauty of the recordings.
This piece has been filmed and created originally to be a 360 and location-based Virtual Reality experience, where you could watch 360 video sections, but also walk through the natural soundscapes played back by a large array of loudspeakers in multiple rooms, or in VR, visually combined with a virtual representation of the rainforest. However, I want to make this story accessible, so I decided to make a 360 version of it which can use watched with a standard headset (no expensive ones required). To make it even more accessible, the same story will be produced as an immersive ‘3D Audio Documentary’ for standard headphones.
I aim to bring awareness about the wildlife of that area, which was my original focus, but then I also wanted to show how people, while changing their life, also change the course of the environment around themselves. Change could involve improving your skills, changing jobs, and moving to another side of the world. I want to keep the ‘immersiveness’ of this piece, but also making it accessible.
-Axel Drioli, Director
Behind The Scenes
A Production by
Made for and with the support from
Director, Producer, Wildlife 3D Sound Recordist
The Ex-Poacher and Local Guide, original Voice Over
The Ranger, original Voice Over
Wildlife Alliance Administration and Field support
Amy Van Nice
Direction and Storytelling Advisors
360 Cinematography Creative and Technical Advisor
A warm thanks to the Chi Phat Community-based Ecotourism site and Wildlife Alliance’s Stung Proat patrol station team for their collaboration.
In memory of ‘nonna Nivea’.