In what may well be the most questionable use of virtual reality technology we've seen yet, Deadline has announced that Jesus VR - The Story Of Christ is headed for the Venice Film Festival. It's...well, it's exactly what you think it is.
Jesus VR – The Story of Christ goes 2,000 years back in time to witness the story of Jesus Christ from birth to resurrection. The film, whose producers promise a “you-are-there experience,” includes such events as Jesus’ baptism, the Sermon on the Mount, the Last Supper and the crucifixion.
According to Deadline, Jesus VR - The Story Of Christ has been executive-produced by Enzo Sisti, who was also the executive producer on Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ, and roughly half of the film's 90-minute experience will be viewable at the Venice Film Festival.
A while back, a buddy of mine picked up one of those Occulus Rift dev kits. One day, while visiting his house, he sat me down, slapped the headset on my skull, and walked me through a number of demos meant to illustrate the capabilities of the technology. The demos - a roller coaster, a giant swing in the middle of a town square, and so on - were crudely-rendered and cartoonish. But it was clear even then that the Rift absolutely delivered on the dream VR proponents have been touting for decades: totally convincing immersion. The roller coaster actually made me a little queasy!
All of which is to say: the Crucifixion in gonna be gnarly as fuck in 360° 4K.
The rest of the film - the baptism, the Sermon on the Mount, the Last Supper, and so on - will almost certainly be less gnarly. While I can't imagine being in a rush to experience all this myself, I think it goes without saying that there's probably a huge market for this sort of thing (I can easily imagine elaborate VR displays being set up inside suburban Mega-churches), and I am genuinely curious about how the tech works.
Could you, for instance, walk through the baptism scene if you wanted to? Could you elbow your way into a better spot amongst the crowd during the Sermon on the Mount? How did they even film such a thing? I have so many questions.
As of now, there's no word on the rollout strategy for Jesus VR - The Story Of Christ, but we'll keep you informed as updates roll in.