The BBC’s newest VR documentary, Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel, today launched on Gear VR and Oculus Rift. The 13-minute documentary takes you through one man’s memories on a journey back to a defining moment in Irish history, the armed insurrection against British rule during Easter Week, April 1916 that saw the execution of fifteen Irish leaders and internment of more than a thousand people—kindling for the nascent Irish sentiment of self-rule which later manifested in 1922 with the founding of the Irish Free State.
Created by BBC iWonder, Crossover Labs and VRTOV, the story follows audio from Willie McNeive, taken from a 1970s tape recording. With the voice of McNeive as your guide, a participant in the Easter Rising nearly 60 years beforehand, you’re transported back to the streets of 1916 Dublin to see the uprising against the British. McNeive was only 19 years old at the time.
According to the developers, each scene in the 13-minute story has a fixed point of view, but the viewer can look around in the full 360-degree environment and see the action while listening to recollections of the events in various locations.
The BBC bills it as “an artistic journey into the memory of an ordinary man who was swept up into an extraordinary event.”
Zillah Watson, Head of Commissioning, Virtual Reality, says: “Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel is a fascinating account of a critical moment in Ireland’s history, told from a unique perspective. It shows that virtual reality can be used to give audiences a greater sense of presence, enabling them to better understand a range of issues like important current affairs, news, science and history.”