Inside COVID-19 is a new 360 video series that premiered on Oculus TV on Friday, November 20, 2020, and it features Dr. Josiah Child who manages emergency departments at five different hospitals. Dr. Child contracted COVID-19, and this film takes us to the all of the different places of quarantine, hospital rooms, and even inside of his body through immersive medical visualized CT scans and animations of the microscopic SARS-CoV-2 as it goes through it’s entire life cycle. The series focuses on Dr. Child’s journey of facing death, and all of the lessons and perspectives he’s gained after surviving. I found the series helpful translating the abstractions of statistics into someone’s direct experiences, and the surrounding contexts for where they happened.
The series was produced by WisdomVR Project’s Gary Yost and Adam Loften after the production on their previous series was halted due to the pandemic. They have been capturing oral history stories from elders in different communities, and they wanted to carry forward the spirit of this form of honoring elders by focusing on the story of a veteran doctor and his insights into this pandemic.
Inside COVID-19 shows the power of 360 video to immerse the viewer into a very personal journey of contracting COVID-19. VR can take us into the story in a completely new way in both microcosmic and macrocosmic scales. From taking us through the isolation of hospital rooms to 3D visualizations of MRI scans to animations of SARS-CoV-2 fusing in an endosomal membrane to floating above the earth as we reflect on our relationships to each other and the planet as a whole. In the end, Loften & Yost use the immersive medium in a unique way to tell a very powerful personal story that connects us to the deeper challenges we face as humanity that are revealed through this pandemic crisis.
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