Newstalk
Newstalk

11.45 30 Jun 2016


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In the beginning was the Word, and in 2016 there was virtual reality. Christians around the world can rejoice at the news that biblical epics are about to take on a whole new dimension, with the news that a new retelling of the life of Jesus will be released, designed to be viewed wearing a virtual reality headset.

Autumn Productions and VRWERX have announced they are in post-production on Jesus VR – The Story of Christ, a 90-minute film telling the story of the life of the messiah. The re-enactment of the New Testament, covering his birth in a manger right through to his crucifixion, will offer tech-savvy Christians an in-depth viewing experience like none other.

The film’s executive producer is Enzo Siti, who also was involved in Mel Gibson’s controversial and box-office juggernaut The Passion of the Christ, the director’s visceral retelling of the last days of Jesus Christ that was a controversial hit in 2004, reports Hollywood trade paper Variety.

Jesus VR is taking many of its cues from Gibson’s film, having been shot on the same locations and using the fame priest, Fr William Fulco, as religious advisor. Whether or not it will be as visually brutal in its depiction of the crucifixion, a point of contention for many critics and viewers of The Passion of the Christ, remains to be seen, but any film offering the same level of violence in an immersive VR environment will not be one to order a large popcorn when watching.

In line with the growing trend of VR in filmmaking and the pornographic industry, Jesus VR was shot in 360-degree 4K video, so viewers wearing headsets will be able to turn around and look in every direction, seeing the life of Jesus from every available angle. The producers claim that witnessing Jesus’ recorded miracles will be like being there in person, 2000 years ago.

Jesus VR will be made available on demand to users of Google Cardboard, Gear VR, Oculus Rift, Playstation VR, or HTC Vine. But creating a 90-minute film in 360-degree, 4K video requires considerable space in terms of memory, so new and clear devices may need to be purchased to actually watch it.

“The viewers truly feel they are there with Jesus and his disciples,” said director and producer David Hansen. “This is the most powerful story of all time and virtual reality is the perfect way to tell it.”

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