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BBC unveils first virtual reality Prom

New film explores the means of communication in World War One

The BBC Proms is delving into virtual reality for the first time ever with an experience that puts viewers in the shoes of WW1 soldiers and their loved ones.

Five Telegrams – an exploration of the means of communication in World War One – captures a performance by the BBC Symphony Orchestra on the first night of this year’s festival, mixed with ambisonic spatial sound.

The story-telling in the film was created by 59 Productions, the video designers for the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.

During the film, the walls and geometry of the Royal Albert Hall morph and change to illustrate the music.

“The space feels real but heightened,” said Lysander Ashton of 59 Productions. “As the music begins, the hall begins to transform in response to the music. The architecture around you shifts and changes, becoming a canvas on which the music is painted.”

The film will premiere to a live audience at Imperial College, across the road from the Royal Albert Hall, on the 21st of August. Around 400 tickets will be available for the initial event, before heading to further events associated with 1418-NOW’s World War One centenary commemorations.

The film will be released for home users on platforms including Oculus VR and the BBC website later this year.