A VR documentary published last month invites watchers to explore Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral, as seen both before and after the disastrous April 2019 fire. This 18-minute VR experience, titled “Rebuilding Notre-Dame,” combinations footage shot before the fire with recordings and interviews conducted in its aftereffect.
FlyView, a virtual tourism, started “Rebuilding Notre-Dame” after opening in mid-July following COVID-19 lockdown. Participants don virtual reality headsets and sit in spinning armchairs to easily take in the scenes, including close-ups of gargoyles and bells.
“The result is that no one sees the same thing because everyone is looking in a different direction,” Antoine Lacarrière, FlyView’s general manager.
“After the Notre-Dame fire, [Rochereuil and Agulhon] realized that there was a whole different story to tell… We want people to have the impression of being inside Notre-Dame and feel a strong emotion everyone felt last year.” – FlyView’s director, Arnaud Houette.
Targo sold its footage to FlyView and returned to the cathedral to film new videos. The resulting documentary event features drone images of the Notre-Dame fire, as photographed by the city of Paris, shots of detailed scaffolding, and views of the building’s insides, as seen last December when it was covered in plastic sheeting.
The VR documentary mixes footage filmed before and after April 2019 to show the blaze’s full effect. It also incorporates interviews with Chauvet and Paris’ mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who watched the fires rise from her office in the city hall.
The virtual reality adventure costs about $23 USD with some of the proceeds going toward Notre-Dame’s reconstruction. As of now, more than 10,000 guests have engaged in “Rebuilding Notre-Dame.”