Not only is it time for festive decorations to adorn houses, but it’s also time to get really excited about virtual reality, which looks set to be one of 2016’s major tech products. Google has combined the two to give us a VR tour of the White House, where the Christmas decorations have been put up for us to admire.
The five-minute video takes you around the White House, moving between many rooms, from the library to the Green Room, and taking in the nativity scene, traditional gingerbread house, and the official, 18-ft tall White House Christmas tree. There’s an informative voice-over, and plenty of chirpy (and not at all cheesy) Christmas music.
The video has been made using Google’s astonishing Jump 360-degree camera rig, which has 16 different cameras all mounted on a circular frame. This, combined with a very clever piece of software, stitches the photos taken into a complete all-round view of the world. Jump was revealed earlier this year, and we got a chance to try it out at the time. While VR may lend itself to gaming and movie viewing, the right equipment can transport the viewer to amazing places around our world, and beyond. The White House tour is an excellent example of Jump’s technical capability.
The result has been shared on YouTube for us all to enjoy, and Google has also made the presentation part of the Google Expedition educational program. You can drag the image around on your phone or desktop to get the 360-degree effect, but the White House tour — and any other Jump video — is best enjoyed using Google’s Cardboard VR headset. Fire up the YouTube app on your phone, tap the Cardboard icon and pop the phone inside the Cardboard viewer to get right into the Christmas spirit.