Waterford VR Company Wins Major TV Accolade

A film created by Immersive VR Education, the brainchild of Waterford’s Sandra & David Whelan, has won the best Interactive experience award at the Royal Television Society (RTS) Northern Ireland Programme Awards 2018, held in Belfast on Thursday last.The wife and husband team attended the ceremony, along with colleagues from the BBC team who were involved in the creation of ‘1943: Berlin Blitz’, for which Immersive VR won a commission from the BBC to create last February.
‘1943: Berlin Blitz’ puts viewers in the shoes of BBC war correspondent Wynford Vaughan-Thomas, and allows them to retrace his journey on a genuine bombing raid to Berlin at the height of World War II.

From left: Bronagh Waugh (actress), Warren Bell (BBC Rewind), David Whelan (Immersive VR Education) and Jenny Biggerstaff from Flint Studios

From left: Bronagh Waugh (actress), Warren Bell (BBC Rewind), David Whelan (Immersive VR Education) and Jenny Biggerstaff from Flint Studios

The creation takes the viewer into the belly of a Lancaster bomber high over Berlin, with anti-aircraft shells bursting all around, while Wynford’s dramatic commentary vividly captures both the danger and the excitement of the bombing raid. According to David Whelan, CEO & Co-founder of Immersive VR Education: “Winning this award has taken us to another level in terms of what our company has achieved to date. Looking out from the stage last night at some of the biggest names in the TV and broadcasting industry was surreal, and to know that we were up there because of something we developed from scratch was tremendously gratifying and, in all honesty, quite emotional”.David also spoke of the work undertaken by the Immersive VR Team to bring the Berlin Blitz experience to life. “From inception to creation the project took six of the company’s 34-person team four 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.”

His wife and fellow Immersive VR Co-founder Sandra stated: “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 September 4th 1943, just a few hours after the Lancaster Bomber plane landed back at RAF Langar in Nottinghamshire.
The Lancaster was the most successful heavy bomber employed by the RAF in World War Two and, along with the Spitfire, became something of a British icon in the wake of the war. More than 7,000 of the planes were built, flying upwards of 150,000 sorties.

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