Company creating virtual reality video of PCC campus through GEAR UP NC

School Watch

Ken Peel, content creation specialist for PCC’s Distance Learning Department, records 360-degree video outside of the college’s Robert Lee Humber Building. The technology Peel is utilizing captures video that can be used to create a virtual reality experience for prospective Pitt students. (PCC photo)

WINTERVILLE, N.C. — Students considering Pitt Community College for their higher education needs will soon be able to tour its facilities without ever leaving the comforts of home. 

   Last month, a camera crew with SeeBoundless Design Studio captured 360-degree video on Pitt’s main campus for GEAR UP NC, a federally-funded initiative to increase the number of students prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education, particularly those in economically distressed and rural areas of North Carolina. The goal is to create virtual reality videos showcasing the state’s public colleges and universities to encourage students to begin exploring and pursuing higher education earlier in their high school careers. 

   “When the project is completed, people around the world will be able to download GEAR UP NC’s virtual reality app and stand in the middle of Pitt Community College facilities for a unique virtual reality experience,” said PCC Director of Recruiting John Carrere. “I’m hopeful the finished product will offer an immersive look at PCC that leads rural and first-generation students across Pitt County and North Carolina to pursue higher education.” 

   Carrere said the SeeBoundless crew that visited PCC Aug. 30-31 shot footage throughout campus, including classrooms, labs, the Charles Coburn Center and Minges-Overton Baseball Complex. 

   “They filmed streets, sidewalks, building exteriors, our Biotechnology facilities, Automotive Systems Technology shops, greenhouse, Dental Assisting lab, simulation hospital – about 30 places in all,” he said. “Our instructors were kind enough to open their doors during class time to allow the crew to capture the full PCC experience.” 

   The 360-degree videos created through GEAR UP, which stands for “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs,” can be viewed on personal computers, dedicated head-mounted displays, and smartphones and other mobile devices. The GEAR UP VR mobile app is free and available for download on Apple and Google Play stores. 

   In addition to reducing the need for in-person campus visits, which will save students and their families time and money, Carrere says he hopes the virtual reality videos appeal to students who many not be considering the community college route for higher education. 

   “PCC and other North Carolina community colleges are doing a fantastic job of preparing a skilled workforce for our state,” he said. “We offer affordable tuition and fees and programs that lead to rewarding careers.” 

   The video projects SeeBoundless is working on this fall, which include filming, editing and voiceover recordings, are to be submitted to the iTunes App Store by Dec. 1. 

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