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Show Don’t Tell: 3D Adds a New Dimension to the Story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Some say storytelling makes us human. We punctuate our history with advances in our ability to communicate. As readers, we consume novels, movies, and other media because we crave the feeling of immersion in other worlds, places, and lives.

Part of what is compelling about working at Matterport is realizing that we’re creating a new medium that is going to add a fresh, immersive dimension to storytelling that doesn’t exist today. The world now has an easy way to capture and share 3D media, which serves to transport people to unique, otherwise inaccessible places from anywhere.

We recently saw this promise realized in an article that included a 3D model of Ebenezer Baptist Church to support a story about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ongoing legacy. Where there would normally be a still photograph, this 3D model changes the way readers relate to the subject by letting them really interact with the place that is being discussed. For example, you can navigate the pews and get a sense of what Dr. King himself saw when he looked out onto his congregation from the pulpit.

Special thanks to Dan Smigrod of We Get Around for creating this model.

From a storytelling perspective, this is really powerful.

Looking into the future, the possibilities seem endless, especially when real-world 3D content is married with virtual reality technology to create a total physical sense of being somewhere new. When combined with embedded audio and other media, a 3D model suddenly becomes a rich opportunity to explore. 

Imagine, for example, putting on a VR headset to find yourself amidst a rabble of hopeful activists on the National Mall. The crowd—a 3D reconstruction created from historical photographs—mills around you. You turn your head toward the Lincoln Memorial as cheers ripple across the open space. A booming voice begins, “I am happy to join with you today, in what will go down in history, as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.”

Today, this 3D model lets you get a sense of walking through a place you may never visit. Tomorrow, it will truly transport you anywhere, at any time, fulfilling our collective desire to be fully immersed in powerful stories.


Read On…

 Take a moment to remember Dr. King’s vision of a better future (video).

See what former MLK driver is doing to carry the torch.

Learn more about the process of storytelling with 3D media in this interview with writer John Ruch.

Visit the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site.

See this video of Ebenezer Baptist Church (video).


Special thanks to Dan Smigrod of We Get Around for creating this 3D model of Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Feature image courtesy of S-USIH.