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Lancaster virtual-reality firm lands project in Poland with Pope Francis

Part of the project involves installing a VR camera on the popemobile.

Pope Francis - (Photo / Barbara J. Perenic/Gatehouse Media)

Virtual-reality production firm Greenfish Labs Inc. has signed a deal with the American Bible Society to travel to Poland and film events featuring Pope Francis.

The events are taking place during the week of World Youth Day, being celebrated this year from July 25-31 in Krakow, Poland.

A crew from Greenfish will be following Pope Francis on a stations of the cross tour. Then, the Lancaster-based company will film a holy mass at the close of the event

“We’re going to put a VR camera on the popemobile. That’s the first time ever,” said Sovanna Mam, president of Greenfish Labs, which specializes in multimedia technology. “And we’ll have VR cameras at each stop.”

The goal, Mam said, is to engage younger Catholics who can’t attend World Youth Day, which is held every three years in a different country. 

A mobile app is being created for the event and content produced by Greenfish will be used on the app, Mam said. Plans also are in the works for 360-degree live streaming.

Amy Spangler

“For us, it’s extremely exciting. No one has done this with the Vatican,” Mam said. “But Pope Francis is progressive.”

The opportunity opens the door to other potential immersive, virtual-reality projects, he said, including learning platforms for colleges.

Greenfish will be doing VR consulting for The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia for future museum projects and it will be partnering with PCN for a 360-degree live stream of the PIAA Track and Field Championships at the end of the month.

“The technology has officially taken off,” Mam said. “Everyone is kind of getting used to the space.”

So much so that Greenfish is moving from The Candy Factory in downtown Lancaster to a larger 4,000-square-foot office at 117 S. West End Ave. That move will occur June 1.

Mam expects to hire 15 full-time employees before the end of the year to keep up with client demand. Greenfish has five full-time employees now, plus five consultants.

In addition to the headquarters move, Greenfish is hoping to open a satellite office in Las Vegas, Nevada, this fall, which will focus on the convention market and live streaming.

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