Battle Road: The American Revolution in 360/VR

HISTORY360™ and 360RIZE are proud to present Battle Road, a collaborative effort that plunges viewers into the middle of the first battle of the American Revolution by using virtual reality and 360 video, now available to view in the Samsung GearVR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and online through your desktop or mobile device:

On the afternoon of April 19, 1775. the first day of the American Revolution is unfolding.

The team at History360 getting set up for the shoot with the 360Rize Pro10

Two hundred and forty-one years after the original battle, scores of professional reenactors, organizers, onlookers and photographers gather at Lexington and Concord and Minute Man National Historical Park to honor the memory of this critical turning point in American history. In the tree line bordering the battlefield, Kate Raisz, Rick Beyer, Jacqueline Sheridan and Daniel Lyons are mounting camera systems for what will be the first 360 video capture of this historical event.

You can see the British Regulars, out in the open, trying to fight their way back to Boston.
Look around. Try to find Colonial Militia darting through the woods.

An opportunity. A challenge.

The Pro10 10-camera system allowed the History360 team to capture seamless, high resolution footage.
The Pro10 10-camera system allowed the History360 team to capture seamless, high resolution footage.

Part of the challenge with filming a reenactment in 360 is the unpredictability of the exact location of your talent and the action that is taking place. All direction has to be given prior to the event, and you have to trust the actors’ ability to play to the camera in a realistic way, without giving away to the audience that they are aware of the cameras presence, which would break the sense of realism for the viewer. Using a camera system like the 360RIZE Pro10HD provides greater coverage in the seams, which is more forgiving when subjects are very close to the camera, allowing for cleaner stitching and more shots to choose from to tell the story.

Battle Road - A VR experience aboAut the American Revolution

“What really made this shoot work was our collaboration with the Lexington Minutemen and 10th Regiment, the two reenactor units who stage this Battle Road reenactment every year. They walked the ground with us before the battle so we could place the camera rigs in the most advantageous spots, right in the middle of the action. Later a member of each unit volunteered for our green-screen shoot to augment the original video. They were our partners in every sense of the word.”,  says Rick Beyer, Producer and Narrator of Battle Road.

Original engravings by Amos Doolittle and historically accurate maps of the Boston area in 1775 are included in the VR piece. These graphics, along with superimposed green screen footage of the reenactors, help to support the greater context of the story, and are made possible by Mettle 360/VR Plugins.

Now, as they retreat back to Boston, they are being harassed by a growing horde of angry Colonial militia. The heaviest fighting of the day will take place during the next few hours, a running fight along what we now call the Battle Road.

360 films like Battle Road represent a new format that can transform education –  providing classrooms with experiences that are one step closer to actually being there. “There is an unmistakable feeling when you visit our national parks, monuments and institutions dedicated to preserving American history. It fills us with awe, curiosity and appreciation. It anchors us to a bigger story, clarifying how we got here in the first place. In my view, history is the most exciting genre to apply to this new medium of 360 video and virtual reality,” says Matt Sheils, Editor and Technical Director at 360RIZE.

The gathering host of militia succeeds in driving the British back into Boston.
Over the course of the day, 49 colonials and 73 British troops lose their lives. 
A simmering dispute explodes into an open rebellion. And the war of Independence has begun.

HISTORY360™ is a whole new way of capturing the past – putting the viewer in the very center of the action. “History is messy and subjective and alive. Experiencing it in 360 lets viewers not just know the past, but feel it in their bones,” says Kate Raisz, Executive Producer of HISTORY360.

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