PRESIDENT OBAMA BECOMES FIRST SITTING PRESIDENT TO BE FEATURED IN A VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERIENCE, CREATED BY FELIX & PAUL STUDIOS, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC AND OCULUS
Felix & Paul Studios, the Emmy® Award-winning creator of live-action virtual reality experiences, today launched a virtual reality experience created in partnership with the White House, Facebook’s Oculus team and National Geographic. President Barack Obama becomes the first sitting United States president to participate in a VR experience, filmed over Father’s Day weekend at Yosemite National Park in honor of the National Park Service’s Centennial.
Through the Ages: President Obama Celebrates America’s National Parks transports viewers to Yosemite National Park alongside President Obama as he honors the legacy of our country’s national parks, and remarks on the themes of conservation, preservation and climate change. To convey the timelessness of Yosemite, the team at Felix & Paul Studios developed a custom version of their proprietary camera for this project that allowed the capture of the first ever 3D, 360-degree timelapse photography.
Transporting people to places they might not see is one of the true powers of VR – viewers will get an up close and personal look into President Obama’s trip to Yosemite with his family while he remarks and reflects on conservation, preservation and climate change. Viewers will be able to explore every angle of the breathtaking surroundings of Yosemite National Park including El Capitan, the Cathedral Rocks, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite Falls and the Merced River.
“It is a rare honor to collaborate with the White House and President Obama on his first-ever participation in a virtual reality experience on the occasion of the National Park Service’s centennial. We were deeply inspired by the idea that American national parks such as Yosemite were originally established ‘for all people for all times,’ as a way to allow future generations to experience the extraordinary and untouched beauty and richness of these natural wonders. As filmmakers, we wanted to use cinematic virtual reality’s unique transportive power to bring audiences into a journey with President Obama where they could experience firsthand the vertiginous, lyrical and timeless beauty of Yosemite,” said Félix Lajeunesse, co-founder and creative director of Felix & Paul Studios.
“National Geographic has been a pioneer in visual storytelling throughout its 128-year history. We see virtual reality as a new frontier and are thrilled to use this powerful medium to help celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial anniversary,” said Rajiv Mody, Vice President of Social Media for National Geographic.
“At Oculus, we are increasing our investment in content that reaches a broad and diverse audience. We love compelling, immersive VR experiences that transport people to places they never dreamed possible – like exploring Yosemite with the President of the United States,” said Colum Slevin, Head of Experiences, Oculus. “We couldn’t be prouder of the Through The Ages piece as a perfect example of what is to come.”
Through the Ages: President Obama Celebrates America’s National Parks is available today is available today on the Oculus Store for Gear VR, with Oculus Rift coming soon! A companion Facebook 360 piece can be can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/natgeo .
The Oculus blog post with more details on the piece can be found here. A media kit including a 2D trailer, still photos and additional assets for the piece can be found here.
Felix & Paul Studios was recently honored with its first Daytime Emmy® Award in the Outstanding Interactive Media – Original Daytime Program or Series category for its virtual reality experience “Inside the Box of Kurios” created with Cirque du Soleil. The studio received a second nomination in the same category for its “Inside Impact: East Africa” VR experience with former President Bill Clinton.
About Felix & Paul Studios
Felix & Paul Studios focuses on the creation of high-end cinematic virtual reality experiences. Combining a proprietary full-stack industry-leading cinematic VR technology platform with an in-depth approach to the new art of VR storytelling, the studio creates original content (Nomads Series) and collaborates with world-leading franchises (Cirque du Soleil, Jurassic World) and personalities (President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, LeBron James) on the creation of medium-defining fiction and non-fiction VR experiences.
Founded by Emmy®-award winning directors Félix Lajeunesse & Paul Raphaël, the studio is home to a world-class team of visionary creatives, producers, technologists, engineers, post-production artists and programmers, all synergistically working together to craft VR experiences of unrivaled quality.
The studio strives to constantly further its exploration of presence-based cinematic VR, and collaborates with high-profile directors and artists to grow this fast-growing new medium into a powerful and culturally transformative art form and industry. For more information, visit www.felixandpaul.com
About National Geographic Partners LLC
National Geographic Partners LLC, a joint venture between National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox, combines National Geographic television channels with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic Studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, catalog, licensing and e-commerce businesses. A portion of the proceeds from National Geographic Partners LLC will be used to fund science, exploration, conservation and education through significant ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society.