Imagine yourself in the Holy Land, in Bethlehem, in the Church of the Nativity, in the very spot where Jesus was born.
Now, the latest virtual reality technology allows people to go beyond imagining. A new 360 video actually takes viewers on a virtual tour of the birthplace of Jesus to see the original nativity scene just in time for Christmas, The Daily Mail reported.
The project is part of a bigger series called Bible VR, which aims to use 360 video and virtual reality to bring the Bible to life.
In the film, which was shot at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, virtual tour guide Danny Herman descends the steps of the church into the shrine. He then describes the exact spot where Jesus was believed to have been born by Mary.
"This is one of the holiest sites in the Holy Land," Herman says.
"This block is marking the very spot of his delivery," he explains as he points at the parts of the shrine believed to be the manger where Jesus was placed at birth and where the three wise men stood to pay their respects to the holy infant.
Director and producer Pearry Teo said viewers of the 360 video will find themselves standing in the very ground where Jesus was born more than 2,000 years ago.
The experience of being there at the holy site, where Christianity began, promises to be a wonderful one, Teo said.
"There was certainly a sense of overwhelming indescribable holiness—profound silence and peacefulness pervades the entire location ... You do not have to be Christian to feel something deeper, something special all around you. Even Muslims come from all over to pay their respects there, so that was definitely an eye opener," the director said.
"To see people of different religions and denominations come together, that was truly a wonderful thing," he added.
What makes 360 video different from traditional filming is that it allows the viewers to explore the scene they are in at their own pace, taking the time to truly absorb the sensation of what it would really be like being there, Teo said.
The footage was shot on a Nokia OZO VR camera and has been left unaltered for the most realistic effect.
"It is the closest thing to experiencing The Holy Land, short of being there yourself. This makes the experience very personal, because how a person explores these locations is really up to them," Teo said.