Virtual Lancaster bomber takes real-world accolade at Royal Television Society Northern Ireland Awards

Immersive VR award
Pictured: Bronagh Waugh; Warren Bell, BBC Rewind; David Whelan, Immersive VR Education; and Jeremy Biggerstaff, Flint Studios

Immersive VR's experience recreated WWII 'Blitz'

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19 November 2018 | 0

A VR experience created by Waterford-based Immersive VR Education has won the award for the best Interactive experience at the Royal Television Society (RTS) Northern Ireland Programme Awards 2018.

The husband and wife co-founders Sandra and David Whelan were presented with the award at a ceremony in Belfast for their project 1943: Berlin Blitz.

In February of this year, the Waterford-based company won a commission from the BBC Northern Ireland’s Rewind archive innovation team, in conjunction with the BBC’s central VR Hub, to work on the creation, which puts viewers in the shoes of war correspondent Wynford Vaughan-Thomas during a bombing raid to Berlin at the height of the Second World War.

“Winning this award has taken us to another level in terms of what our company has achieved to date,” said David Whelan. “From inception to creation the project took six of the company’s 34-person team 4 months in total to build.

“The beginning project has been hugely exciting for us and working with the BBC VR Hub was a fantastic experience. Initiatives like this really allow us to move forward on the primary goal of the company, which is to bring immersive VR technology to distance learning and to transform how people all over the world learn and experience events both past and present.”

Sandra Whelan continued: “To create the experience, the team gathered hundreds of photographs of Lancaster bombers and all of the original mission data in order to recreate the historic event. We pretty much recreated the mission with everything being historically accurate, right down to the smouldering Berlin landscape below.”

Immersive VR Education used BBC Archive footage of the original radio broadcast of Wynford Vaughan-Thomas’ report that went out over the airwaves on 4 September 1943, just a few hours after the Lancaster Bomber plane landed back at RAF Langar in Nottinghamshire.

The RTS Programme Awards span all the genres of television programming, recognising exceptional actors, presenters, writers and production teams as well as the programmes themselves. The RTS Awards seek to recognise programmes which have made a material and positive contribution to their genre.

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