As one presidential administration ends and another begins, it seems much easier to pause and reflect on all of the changes that have defined the last eight years of the Obama presidency. A constant throughout time, however, is the dwelling where many of the United States’ most important policy decisions have been made.
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is one of the most recognizable addresses in the world, but aside from the bits we see in press photos and TV show replications, the house where our nation’s president and his family live is largely a mystery to most who haven’t had the pleasure of a tour.
Today, Félix & Paul Studios and Oculus are releasing “The People’s House,” a 360-degree guided tour of the White House given by none other than the nation’s president and the first lady. The experience will be available for streaming on Facebook as well as Oculus Video for the Rift and Gear VR.
The film, which highlights nine different areas of the White House and its grounds, chronicles the living history of the Obama family’s past eight years there.
“Michelle and I always joke, we’re just renters here … the owners are the American people and all those invested in creating this amazing place with so much history,” states President Obama in the film. “What we want to do is make sure that everybody felt they had access to it … that as many people as possible could come in and appreciate the place where Lincoln or FDR or Reagan had made decisions that helped to shape America.”
“In a way I don’t know if we could have made this piece if it was the first year of his presidency, because we wanted the eight years of stories, eight years of him seeing his kids grow up,” Ryan Horrigan, Chief Content Officer at Félix & Paul Studios told me.
The eight-minute film from Félix & Paul is the second major project narrated by President Obama. In August, the team released Through the Ages: President Obama Celebrates America’s National Parks, chronicling an Obama visit to Yosemite National Park.
This is ultimately just an early taste of a longer, more immersive film Félix & Paul are hoping to create with their footage. The lengthier film will eventually be released in stereoscopic 3D and highlight even more spaces inside the White House and narration from President Obama.
With two major projects already undertaken with this administration, naturally one wonders whether Félix & Paul will be working on such videos with the incoming Trump administration. “We would definitely be open to it,” Horrigan said. “We’d be really interested in hearing if and what they wanted to do.”