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Geoffrey Pepos

A still from a virtual reality experience Geoffrey Pepos made, envisioning what Glacial Lake Missoula looked like.

There's going to be a compelling ad for bear spray in the lobby of the Roxy Theater this week during the International Wildlife Film Festival.

Strap on a virtual reality headset, and you can get a first-hand view of a grizzly bear sniffing out a camera and taking a bite out of it.

The short video was made by Tim Lewis of InsideMT.

No one was hurt in the making, since it was recorded by a static VR camera Lewis assembled from seven GoPro cameras.

Other InsideMT videos Lewis made include a ride up the lift at Moonlight Basin ski resort at Big Sky; go fly fishing on the Gallatin River, or pay a visit to the Ninepipe Reservoir. He developed one that's more of an art piece: a computer-generated tour of Glacial Lake Missoula.

Geoffrey Pepos of StoryclockVR will build this footage into apps for iPhone, Android and other VR devices such as the Samsung Oculus GearVR. Pepos is composing a musical score, designing surround sound effects and 3D elements. Pepos developed one that's more of an art piece: a computer-generated tour of Glacial Lake Missoula.

The films will be on display to show the potential for the burgeoning field of VR.

"It is so engrossing and so captivating," said Mike Steinberg, the IWFF executive director.

On Wednesday, festival pass-holders will get to take a trip to the MPG Ranch in the Bitterroot Valley, where Pepos will give a demonstration of the technology. It takes some time to "stitch" together the footage, so it should be ready by Friday, when Pepos will give a demonstration and talk from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Roxy. That event is free and open to the public.

Pepos, who runs a next-generation media company called Storyclock, has a diverse field of interests that includes documentary and feature filmmaking, sound design and composition, and projects that blend programming, visual art and movies.

In 2001, he served as producer, cinematographer, editor and composer for "Some Body," which was picked as an official selection for the Sundance Film Festival Dramatic Competition.

He also made a documentary, "South Central Farm: Oasis in a Concrete Desert," about the fight between agriculture advocates and a developer over an urban farm in Los Angeles.

He began working in virtual reality about a year ago, a medium that blends his skills as a filmmaker and an a programmer. Each of the VR pieces is programmed and built in Unity 3D, a game design engine.

The 360 videos shot by Lewis were funded through a Big Sky Film Grant to create seven different Montana nature experiences. Lewis' company has already made numerous VR experiences, such as a tour of Lewis and Clark Caverns, that are viewable on the InsideMT website.

They have a few more shoots to do, and then the videos will be released as an app for iPhone and Android phones this summer. Viewers can experience them with an Oculus Rift headset, or the less expensive Google Cardboard.

Storyclock, the company he co-founded with James Wasem, the founder of a live streaming service called, is named after another project that combines filmmaking, visual art and interactive elements. An example is on display at his artist studio in the Zootown Arts Community Center. On a wall-mounted flat-screen TV, a woman stands looking toward the camera with a neutral expression. Wait a few minutes, and she blinks, or looks around.

"It was in the gallery and kids really respond to this thing," he said.

This piece, called "Iris," is two years old and he's close to making it available for iOS and Android operating systems. That means owners of say, Apple TV, could display "Iris" as the screensaver on their flat TVs.

Another piece is a slow-motion video of a kayaker riding Brennan's Wave. At first, viewers will assume it's a static shot. "Two hours later, it's a whole different thing," he said.

He envisions other storyclocks, too, ones that wouldn't be out of place at a wildlife film festival: captured wolves in slow motion, or perhaps horses.

"Ideally I want to get 360 cameras out in the woods," he said.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed Lewis' InsideMT work to Pepos.

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Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Entertainment editor for the Missoulian.