Our Home, Our People

360° virtual reality reveals the impact of climate change for COP23.

  • Fiji, Pacific Islands
  • 3.5k
    delegates at COP23
  • 600k

While climate change can often seem an abstract concept defined by facts and statistics, communities across the Pacific Islands are feeling the very real impacts of this global threat every day. Created with the World Bank for COP23, Our Home, Our People uses the intimacy and immersion of 360° virtual reality and interactive websites to allow people all over the world to experience first-hand the intimate, personal stories of those whose lives are being transformed by climate change.

Experience the project

Local stories, global impact

The Idea

When we started working with the World Bank in the lead up to the COP23 Conference, the goal was to bring delegates in wintery Germany – and indeed the global community – into the very heart of Fiji to experience the effects of climate change on the Pacific Islands region.

A Fijian man stands in the water near his village on the Northern coast of Viti Levu.

While the threat of climate change has been well documented, facts and figures often don’t reach people on an emotional level. To do that, we would need a different, more human approach. The idea was to create a multi-platform awareness campaign to tell intimate, personal stories that would give audiences a first-hand experience of not just the destruction of climate change, but the resilience of the Fijian people.

Going beyond the statistics


The statistics paint a sober picture – sea levels across the Pacific could rise up to 18cm by 2030, and already 30% of Fijians live in areas that are at high risk of extreme weather events. Yet that picture is also abstract. What do the numbers really mean? How do they translate to the people’s everyday lives? We needed to know the reality on the ground before we’d be able to tell a story that could really connect with people.

Tash Tan, Nicky Tunpitcha and Joshua Flavell from creative technology agency S1T2 talk with local Fijians about the destruction caused by Cyclone Winston while in a coastal village on Viti Levu.

Finding those stories brought its own unique set of challenges. First was the two flights and long bus ride to the Fijian communities on the frontline. Then there was navigating weather, identifying the right people to guide us, finding the stories we wanted to tell and gaining the trust of the people telling them. This trust was perhaps the most crucial part. After all, the goal was not to tell our own story, but to help the people of Fiji tell theirs.

Empathy through intimacy

Personal Stories

Through the research process, we decided to use Our Home, Our People to explore the issue of climate change through the intimate, personal stories of four people across Fiji. Doing so would help us examine the different ways that climate change is impacting communities across the Pacific. It would also allow us to accurately capture the resilience and determination of the Pacific people as they respond to this crisis.

With the intimacy and immersion of 360° virtual reality, these stories became an empathetic call to action. Through them, audiences would be able to more intimately understand the very human cost of climate change. In this way, the film urged COP23 delegates and the global community to support these islands that have done little to cause climate change but will experience the brunt of its impact.

Climate change through new eyes

Point of View

Throughout Our Home, Our People, we present each story through a unique character’s point of view, placing audiences firmly in the centre of the action. Take, for example, one everyday scene with community leader Rai and his children. Seeing a low-hanging branch ahead, Rai calls back for you to watch out. Except the ‘you’ isn’t the audience, it’s his children, sitting directly behind.

Fijian community leader Rai and two of his sons sit in a boat near their coastal village on Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu.

Meanwhile, towards the end of the film, we take advantage of the unique ability of virtual reality to truly break the fourth wall between character and audience. In doing so, we capture the intimacy of the medium to make Fiji’s climate change story stand out as something we can all understand: the idea of home, and what it might mean to lose it.

A Fijian girl and horse stand on a beach in Vanua Levu Fiji, as captured by the 360° virtual reality film COP23 Our Home, Our People.

Immersion virtual reality

Immersive Technology

As with all of our virtual reality projects, the goal in creating Our Home, Our People was to produce as immersive an experience as possible. In order to do that, we relied on a wide range of creative technology and video production techniques to get us across the line.

Joshua Flavell and Nicky Tunpitcha from S1T2 use an Insta360 Pro camera and an H2N microphone set up to capture a scene with a Fijian couple in their home in Viti Levu, Fiji.

For the visuals, we used the newly released Insta360 Pro to capture 8K, 360° footage of our characters and their environments. Capturing this kind of high-resolution footage would ensure we were able to create a virtual environment that felt real for audiences. We then paired this with spatial audio from an H2N microphone setup, with the ability to switch between and merge two sound inputs.

The camera itself wasn’t important, what was important was how the camera could make the audience feel.

Nicky Tunpitcha
Video Lead at S1T2

With high-fidelity visuals and audio able to follow the audience’s head movements, we could create a more realistic virtual reality experience. This was crucial in creating a more immersive, emotional experience – one in which the depth of the story was conveyed through both the visuals and the sound.

S1T2’s Tash Tan shows a Fijian couple the latest shot from the 360° virtual reality documentary Our Home, Our People on a tablet while on a shoot in VitiLevu, Fiji.
A screenshot from the 360° virtual reality documentary Our Home, Our People shows a Fijian couple sitting on the floor in their home.

Reaching a global community


To date, the Our Home, Our People virtual reality documentary has been watched by more than 600,000 people online or in person at events around the world, including the COP23 meetings in Bonn, Germany. It’s also been shown at a range of international film festivals, and been named an innovation finalist in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Action Awards.

Returning home


At the end of the day, our goal with Our Home, Our People was to start a conversation. We wanted to bring people all over the world to Fiji where they could bear witness to the devastating impact of climate change and the resilience of the communities facing it. And we wanted to inspire leaders the world over to act on the issue.

The film conveyed the message that we have long aimed to share: we Fijians are not standing still and accepting the realities of climate change; rather that we are resilient.

Frank Bainimarama
Fijian Prime Minister

Our Home, Our People has been seen by world leaders with the power to influence climate change policy and investment. It has also returned home to Fiji where the communities whose stories it tells have been able to not only see the final film, but hear of their impact on the world stage

A Fijian girl uses a Samsung Gear VR headset to watch the COP23 Our Home, Our People virtual reality experience.
Cropped image of an island village.

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