Diocesan press releases

Explore Brecon Cathedral like never before on virtual reality tour

If you’ve ever fancied a trip up Brecon Cathedral’s tower, now you can – without ever leaving the comfort of your armchair.

It’s all thanks to a new virtual reality tour created by specalist cameraman Chris Taber, of Bwlch-based Pedestal Television.

Chris said: “I’ve been a TV cameraman for 30 years and specialised in niche camera systems approx 15 years ago… it satisfies the inner geek!

“I’ve shot everything from ice climbing in Switzerland to the cranberry harvest in Massachusetts.

“I’m always on the lookout for new tech and came across an American VR system that was really impressive.”

Chris chose the cathedral because he wanted to “test the system to its limits” and give people and view of the building they might otherwise not have had.

“When I buy new kit, especially new technology, I always try to metaphorically break it,” Chris said. “So finding test subjects that will really push the system to its limits is very important. As the most prominent building in the town, the cathedral, was an obvious choice, especially the tower.

“Part of my vision for the VR tours is to increase the accessibility for visitors. I have developed a package that will allow visitors with limited mobility to tour the tower virtually while partners/friends can tour for real. Each can wear a headset that will allow them to talk to each other while both hearing the tour guide as well. The system promotes inclusivity and can be used in many venues.”

The Dean of Brecon Cathedral, the Very Rev Dr Paul Shackerley, said: “I receive quite a few cold callers asking the cathedral to work in partnership with other companies but there was something very different and unique when Chris contacted me and asked if I would be interested in him filming the cathedral for the 360-degree VR. This is something I have wanted to embed in the new cathedral website for two years.

“Brecon Cathedral, a holy site for over 1,000 years, and a heritage site for over 120,00 tourists and visitors every year, is an amazing place to visit and work. The outcome of our initial visit was to invite him to do the filming, which took a few days. I made the building available for him to film, and the outcome was this amazing VR tour.

“I have been the Dean of Brecon since 2014, and I have never been into the bell chamber, the tower, or on the roof of the tower. I suffer with a fear of heights and claustrophobia. So, imagine my amazement when I could switch on the VR tour and climb the tour without fear – from the ground.”

If you’d like more information about the virtual reality tours, visit www.pedestaltv.com or call Chris on 07747 043911 or email to Christaber@pedestaltv.com
You can view the virtual tour at www.breconcathedral.org.uk/visiting/cathedral-virtual-tour/