BBC Commemorates D-Day With Berlin Blitz VR Experience

Source: BBC

Relive an actual 1943 bombing raid over Germany, recreated using original audio recordings and computer graphics

As the world remembered the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings on June 6th, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) was reaching into its own deep archive to expand the availability of a critically acclaimed piece of Second World War history. Titled 1943 Berlin Blitz, the virtual reality experience draws on actual radio recordings made by war reporter Wynford Vaughan-Thomas and sound recordist Reg Pidsley on board a Lancaster bomber, with the callsign F For Freddie, as it embarked on a bombing run over Germany.

Source: BBC
Source: BBC

BBC Northern Ireland and Immersive VR Education, in partnership with BBC VR Hub, recreated the bomber interior and crew using computer graphics, and synchronised it to Vaughan-Thomas' radio reportage for a truly sobering and powerful recreation of what it must have been like to take part in aerial missions at the height of the war. Zillah Watson, head of BBC VR Hub, says: "Nothing can compare to being there of course, but this gives you the chance to gain something approaching an understanding of just what our forces went through at the time. That’s why we wanted to celebrate the D-Day anniversary by bringing the film to as many people as possible."

The experience has already been available on the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets, but this expanded release now means that it can be accessed on lower priced VR platforms such as Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR. It has also been released as a 360° video on YouTube, meaning it can be experienced on normal screens and through the BBC VR Hub app on phones, using Google Cardboard and other budget viewers.

1943 Berlin Blitz also joins the BBC VR Hub's touring exhibit, which will visit more than 100 public libraries across the UK, allowing people with no access to virtual reality technology to try it.

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Contributing Editor

A hardened survivor of the games press, Jeremy Parish has written, edited, and podcasted for AllGamers, Retronauts, USgamer, IGN, 1UP, Electronic Gaming Monthly, GameDaily.biz, and more.