World War 1 becomes Virtual Reality: Academy Award winning team releases WWI Epic Soldiers' Stories for Veteran's Day
As a work in progress, WWI Epic Soldiers' Stories won Best 3D Content at New Media Film Festival and is now available for Veterans Day in Virtual RealityLOS ANGELES , CA - (EINPresswire via NewMediaWire) - November 8, 2015 - Just in time for Veterans' day and the big Cardboard release by the New York Times there is now a Virtual Reality experience of World War 1. As a work in progress, WWI Epic Soldiers' Stories won Best 3D Content at New Media Film Festival. The VR film entitled “Soldiers' Stories” features narration by Academy Award winner Mickey Rooney and the Academy Award-winning production team of Nick Reed and Jonathan Kitzen. Set in the trenches of WWI, the film uses restored original stereoscopic image taken over 100 years ago to tell the story of the bloodiest battle in human history, the Battle of the Somme, from the perspective of the Soldiers who fought it.
“This is an epic film about epic engagement, so what better way of seeing it than in its original 3D glory and with the immersive quality that only virtual reality can bring,” said Nick Reed, of Kallisti Media producer of the film. While most people think James Cameron invented 3D with Avatar, in reality 3D goes all the way back to the 1840's. When WW1 broke out there were thousands of 3D images taken by all sides the trick was locating them and restoring them. In the end the process took over two years and thousands of hours and the fimmakers were able to locate over 9,000 images by enlisting the help of a network of collectors who had a treasure trove of original never before seen images.
The film is a series of technological firsts and one of the biggest hurdles was figuring out how to tell personal veteran stories without resorting to actors reading diaries in the now infamous style of Ken Burns. “When making the film we wanted the story to be personal but the last of the WW1 vets died in 2011, and knowing Ken I didn't want to do the Ken Burns style,” lamented the films director Jonathan Kitzen. In the end the novel solution was to use veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who speak of their own personal war experience and in doing so tell the story of being a soldier 100 years ago on the bloody front of Europe. “Not much is different today in the experience of being a soldier,” says Kitzen, “we just removed the parts where the soldier said “Iraq.” The result is that the film explores war from the emotional experience of the “grunt's” perspective. It is about the personal stories and feelings of war, not the larger political and social scene.
When people think of Virtual Reality they most often think of something modern but with Soldiers' Stories audiences can now step back 100 years and get a personal experience for their mobile device via Google Play, Vimeo, and the iTunes store (www.ConVRter.net for links) and for all formats from Cardboard VR to Gear VR and Oculus. “I hope that VR can be more than just a game,” said Kitzen, “because it has the potential for so much more.”
“We wanted to give something back and WWI seems to have been mostly forgotten even though Veteran's day was to commemorate the tragedy that was WWI. Today, most people have no idea what WW1 was about or what it was like for the people who fought and died there. It is time to correct that, maybe Virtual Reality is the vehicle to make that happen” - Academy Award Winner Nick Reed