The race for the White House is now extending to virtual reality: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders just had one of his fundraising events recorded with a 360-degree camera, allowing users of a virtual reality headset to take a look around at the event, and even peek into Sanders’ notes for his speech.
The campaign fundraiser depicted in the video was hosted a few weeks ago at the house of Mimi Kennedy and Larry Dilg, a couple long known in Hollywood for their dedication to progressive causes. Sanders didn’t actually commission the shoot himself, but instead got approached by Los Angeles-based VR studio Virtuality Lab, after which he agreed to become a guinea pig for VR on the campaign trail.
The company has since posted the video to both YouTube and VR-focused video hosting platform Vrideo. Viewers don’t have to own a VR headset to watch the video on either platform, and can instead use their mouse, or in the case of YouTube’s mobile app, tilt their phone, to explore the speech in its 360-degree glory.
Owners of a Google Cardboard or Gear VR headset can also use those videos for a more immersive experience that brings them up and close to the candidate.
That’s clearly compelling to some, with one YouTube commenter remarking:
“This may be the coolest video on YouTube. If you can get the Virtual Reality to work properly on your phone, check out the sparse notes on Bernie’s podium — nothing scripted here!”
Sanders may be the first presidential candidate to be filmed with a 360-degree camera array, but he surely won’t be the only one for long. Election.tv is reportedly planning to stream the presidential debates in 360-degrees, and other platforms as well as the campaigns themselves are likely to follow suit.