A Performing Arts student at Walsall College has had a starring role in a virtual reality film created by The West Midlands Fire Service to promote road safety.
Produced by the fire service’s Road Casualty Reduction Team, in conjunction with First Car publishing, the video will be used to educate young and learner drivers at colleges and universities across the West Midlands on the importance of driving safely.
Dean Webb, 20, an aspiring young actor studying Level 3 Performing Arts at Walsall College was cast by the production team following competitive auditions and spent two days at various locations across the Black Country to film the video.
Shot from the driver’s perspective, the seven-minute film follows a group of friends on their journey to a party and is the first of its kind to be shot in a 360-degree format. Viewers will be faced with questions and decisions to make throughout the experience which are all related to safe driving choices; the choices they make will determine which scenario they end up in.
The film can only be viewed when wearing Samsung Gear VR Goggles, which will give students watching it a truly immersive experience.
Watch Commander, Andy Gillespie, from the Road Casualty Reduction Team at West Midlands Fire Service, said: “Dean gave a fantastic performance and was a true professional throughout the filming. His performance as the driver was very believable, even when filming some difficult scenes, and he was a pleasure to work with.
“The video will be used as part of the fire services’ suite of education materials in the ‘Every Choice Counts’ campaign. We feel students will be able to relate to this film, which will hopefully lead to a safer generation of drivers.”
Dean said: “I had to audition for the part and getting it has given me a lot more confidence. I really enjoyed being involved in the filming as it’s been a great experience. We do a lot of shows at college but this is the first time I’ve worked for a client with a real script.
“Filming the video gave me an insight into what it’s like for real actors in the industry and has made me want to become an actor even more. The film is also something I can now include in my portfolio to showcase my skills to other clients.”
West Midlands Fire Service launched its pioneering education package to road safety professionals at an event on Monday 27th February, where the film’s actors including Dean took part in a question and answer session.