Rome 360° 3D Short Films

3-star rating
Education, History, Short Films, Travel
Comfortable, Stationary

Production house Faber Courtial has created an incredible reconstruction of the ancient city of Rome in collaboration with historians and archeologists that has been used in films for the Smithsonian Channel, Channel 4, ZDF and ARTE. Thanks to this they're able to create Rome - a 360 degree stereo video and narrated tour of one of the greatest capital cities in history.

The 25 minute film comprises three episodes illustrating and describing the chariot races of The Circus Maximus, the sights of the Roman Forum and the brutal spectacles of the Colosseum. The first episode consists of three scenes - each is a static 360 degree stereo image depicting a different vantage point within the digital model of Rome, complete with appropriately costumed live actors. Neither the images nor the actors are animated in any way - only your tour guide moves around as he interprets each scene in a satisfying amount of detail. Curiously the tour guide speaks in German overdubbed in English, though there's no German language option in this app. The second episode is also arranged in a similar way, with your animated tour guide superimposed over each of three static background scenes.

It appears that there was once also a third act featuring the Colosseum and hosted by the same tour guide. However, that has now been replaced by an alternative film with higher production quality. Taking place inside the Colosseum and focused on the gladiator battles, this amphitheater is alive with animated crowds and moving live actors fighting battles in front of your eyes. Battles that are bloody, yet tastefully done.

The Roman Forum*
* Screenshot stitched by us. Stitching artifacts are not in the experience.

Gladiators in the Colosseum*

As evidenced by their website and YouTube channel Faber Courtial has clearly created an immensely impressive model of ancient Rome, so it's disappointing to see how little of it is on display in this VR experience. In the first and second episodes the static images are impressive, but they only illustrate how good they could have been if they were dynamic movies - flying over ancient Rome, and going wheel-to-wheel in the chariot races. It's disappointing to download large video files to find that the only thing moving is the tour guide. We loved the depth of the tour guide's narration, though his presence as an animated digital avatar only served as a distraction.

The dramatized gladiatorial Colosseum fights were a different matter. The higher production quality supported by costumed live actors gave an insight into what it must have been like during the games, but it lacked factual content. With our tour guide now missing, we felt we were now robbed of a descriptive tour of the Colosseum building and the impact of the games on Rome. Colosseum VR (PCVR) does a better job of this, but with less refined graphics. Some graphical issues were also present in the third episode that were not present in the previous two. There is some occasional pixel flicker, and additional flickering and distortion with head movement though this impacted our enjoyment only marginally.

Faber Courtial is working on further productions utilizing their Rome model, so we hope that near-term technological improvements can bring us a more complete virtual reality experiences.

Note that after downloading Rome to your Meta Quest headset you will still need to download each of the episodes. They can be streamed or pre-downloaded, though we recommend downloading before viewing for the best experience, even for those with the fastest internet connections.

✅ Good historical detail in Episodes I & II
✅ High production values in Episode II video
❌ Disappointing use of a spectacular Rome model
❌ Little historical detail in Episode III
❌ No rotation control (snap turning)

• Languages: English
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