Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have been there when Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well or to have watched at the foot of the cross as He died for the sin of mankind? You now have the opportunity to do just that- thanks to a virtual reality feature length film from AutumnTM VR Inc. and VRWERX, LLC.
Jesus VR - The Life of Christ in Virtual Reality, is the first long-form movie done in virtual reality. It's composed of individual scenes from the life of Christ, totaling 90 minutes, and allows viewers to experience the story of Jesus in a way never before seen.
"It began with the idea of going back in time and trying to tell the story of Christ in a way that was fresh," David Hansen, director and producer of Jesus VR, said during a press conference attended by The Gospel Herald held in Orlando, Florida. "Also, I believe that with this technology, you certainly are closer to Jesus than you ever could have been prior. To have the experience of walking with Jesus, of standing three feet from him while he's speaking - it's a pretty amazing experience."
Jesus VR - The Life of Christ in Virtual Reality was shot entirely in 4K 360° in Matera, Italy, and it's the first and most ambitious feature length 360 / VR film ever produced, employing over a hundred crew members and hundreds of extras.
Hansen explained that in order to shoot the film, the entire film crew had to be in costume: "I had to wear this giant beard and look like an extra [while filming]," he said. "It's akin to shooting a live play - you don't have as many edits, because I wanted viewers...to feel like they were there. The Last Supper is a 14-minute scene, and it's one take. I wanted to give the viewer the gift of being there and being in the middle of it. You would want to see it exactly how it unfolded."
The viewer is present at Jesus's birth and baptism, sitting next to him as he delivers the Sermon on the Mount, and a firsthand witness to Christ's miracles, his Last Supper, and his Crucifixion.
The shots are so realistic, in fact, that Hansen said the entire cast and crew had a "religious experience" - even if they weren't believers: "It was really amazing...everyone had to be in the moment..It was really almost like it was happening in real life. There were times where I got goosebumps thinking, ‘This is too real.' It really felt like Jesus had his disciples, and they were on a mission."
Hansen admitted that post-production, he broke down in tears: "I knew there was something so special about what we had gone through," he said. "It's really a beautiful way of enjoying the Scripture in a way...that no one had been able to."
The Passion of the Christ Executive Producer Enzo Sisti serves as Executive Producer of JESUS VR. The film's Religious Advisor is Father William Fulco, who was also Religious Advisor on The Passion of the Christ. David Hansen is Director and Producer, along with his AutumnTM VR producing partner Johnny Mac and VRWERX's Alex Barder and Russell Naftal.
Jesus VR - The Life of Christ in Virtual Reality will be available on all major mobile and premium virtual reality platforms including Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and the HTC VIVE.