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VR Obama: President Takes us on 360 Tour of Yosemite

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Introducing the first virtual reality experience featuring President Obama.

What better way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of America’s National Parks Service then by going on a VR trip through Yosemite with President Barack Obama.

You can now embark on a VR journey in this roughly 10-minute 360° video created by created by National Geographic, Felix & Paul Studios, and Oculus. Through the Ages is narrated by the President, letting you explore every angle of the incredible surroundings of Yosemite, including El Capitan, the Cathedral Rocks, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite Falls, and the Merced River.

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In a historic first for the new medium, this VR experience provides an up-close-and-personal look at President Obama’s trip to Yosemite with his family over Father’s Day weekend. The video is available on Gear VR and Facebook’s 360-degree video — so it can be experienced in a VR headset. An Oculus Rift version is expected to be coming soon.

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“National Geographic has been a pioneer in visual storytelling throughout its 128-year history.” Said Rajiv Mody, Vice President of Social Media for National Geographic. “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.”

The video is packed with clips of beautiful scenery, letting you follow along as Obama traverses the park, interacting with students during an event tied to his “Every Kid in the Park” initiative and speaking with Don Neubacher, the Yosemite National Park Superintendent. You’ll walk with the president as he crosses a footbridge and takes in the view of Vernal Falls with the First Family — First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia, and Sasha. You can also catch a time-lapse sunset go by from Glacier Point, and float along in a canoe, framed by mountains, to learn about John Muir’s enduring legacy.

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“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. 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.” — Félix Lajeunesse, Co-founder of Felix & Paul Studios

Preserving a legacy in VR

This month marks the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service.

Very few people will get to experience the beauty of the US national parks alongside a sitting president and transporting people to places they might not get to see in their lifetime is one of the great powers of VR.

What better way to commemorate this milestone then capture this experience for future generations to come, giving us all a window into this moment in time  and helping people across the world appreciate our national parks for the next 100 years.

Back in December, Google took a tour of the White House, showing off the capabilities of their Jump camera rig.

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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