BOISE-- You can now explore Southern Idaho and the many adventures it has to offer through a virtual lens.
Idaho Tourism launched videos that allow people to feel like they are right there. A new virtual reality video series has been in the works for about six months and Idaho Tourism just unveiled the videos last week.
Idaho is on the forefront of utilizing virtual reality to give people an opportunity they may have never had before- and see for themselves how great the Gem State is.
The first installment of videos includes: Rafting the Payette, a Snake River Canyon Experience- paddle boarding to Shoshone Falls, zip-lining in the Snake River Canyon, and BASE jumping; Boise Summer Experience - floating the Boise River, Zoo Boise, Capital City Public Market, biking the Greenbelt, and boating at Lucky Peak; North Fork
360-degree virtual tours of Idaho are an immersive experience that excites users.
The Gem State is home to expansive mountains, pristine lakes, whitewater rivers and endless miles of trails. Idaho Tourism, an office within Idaho Department of Commerce, wanted to showcase all of that by using virtually reality - or VR- putting people in the center of the action.
"When they were showing the rafting you can almost feel the water as it hits you," one Boisean said after watching the Payette Rafting video.
With this new technology, you can take an experience like floating down the Boise River and get a taste of it and make it compact by just putting virtual reality goggles on.
While VR gear makes the experience even more realistic, it is not necessary. Users can also move their screen 360 degrees (left, right, up or down) on a smart phone or tablet or use a mouse to click and drag around the video on a laptop or desktop.
"This gives us an opportunity to give consumers a bite-sized experience of Idaho," Idaho Tourism manager Diane Norton told KTVB.
Users are able to drive the experience, which tourism specialists say is unique compared to the 2-D experiences consumers typically have.
"You get to control it; you can rewind, and turn around. You can look up and you can look down," Idaho Tourism specialist, Andrea Rayburn, said.
Rayburn adds that people get their travel inspiration through social media like Instagram, Facebook and Youtube these days. So that is exactly how the state reached people when they rolled out the VR videos.
"I think we all make those wish lists of, 'I want to go here, I want to go there.' So giving people something that's more tangible and kind of speaks to you emotionally is really important," Rayburn told KTVB.
"This is like living in the moment," one Boisean said. "This beats pictures anytime."
The state worked with a Boise-based company called 360 Immersive, who shot all of the footage and edited it together to create the virtual world in the videos. It is an experience that only a few tourism offices in the country offer.
"You kind of get the emotion of what they're going to go through," another person told us after watching the "Adrenaline Rush" compilation video.
Copyright 2016 KTVB