Offshore Interactive

“For a visceral sense of the extreme risks of drilling 5.5km holes in the ocean, see this gr8 interactive doc” Naomi Klein

“Truly amazing/groundbreaking film-making/journalism/writing history.” Dahr Jamail, Investigative journalist, Al Jazeera


Somewhere, far out to sea, far beyond the horizon line, there’s a dark, deserted, ghostlike oil platform. And you’re on it. Welcome to a modern-age heart of darkness.

OFFSHORE is a interactive documentary created by Brenda Longfellow, Glenn Richards and Helios Design Labs that explores the dark waters of the global offshore oil industry in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion. OFFSHORE offers a vision of what happens when need and greed push this industry past a level of competence into a new world inhabited by questions we might not want the answers to.

How far is too far?

How deep is too deep?

How dangerous is too dangerous?

The obvious setting of the OFFSHORE story is the oil platform itself, but no oil company in their right mind is going to allow people asking these questions anywhere near their rigs.

Thus, out of necessity, was born the virtual Spartan 208. It’s had many and varied incarnations from the first version that Brenda and Glen brought to us. Ultimately, it’s become a sort of Flying Dutchman phantasm that haunts the oceans of the world, shimmering into and out of view, exuding an almost audible bad vibe.

This virtual Spartan 208 is an amalgam of 360° panoramic CG imagery, image sequences, and stunning and strangely beautiful real-life footage of machinery and people and places. It is a labyrinthine, broken, derelict, clanking, groaning space, a sprawling product of our collective imaginations.

If you’d like to find out more about how we built it, check out this post.

A large part of the atmosphere is powered by a layered and innovative use of CypherAudio’s menacing soundscape and film composer Antoni Lazarkiewicz’s haunting score.

There is a bad-dream aspect to the situation we find ourselves in with respect to our strengthening relationship with extreme oil. The intent of OFFSHORE is to use the ‘unreality’ of its virtual oil-platform to reflect this dreamlike state and underline the severity of the documentary aspect of its story where people and places are living in the shadow of these unseen and inaccessible structures.

And, somewhere, far out to sea, far beyond the horizon line, there is an actual, real, live, solid version of Spartan 208,  doing its thing and biding its time.

Sweet dreams.