As the oldest synagogue in France still in activity, Synagogue de Carpentras is currently inaccessible due to the global pandemic. That’s not stopping Jean-Marc BEHM, CEO of JOUR8 Media & Services & ESA STUDIOS, from inviting you to tour this glorious landmark via 3D virtual tours captured by his Matterport Pro2 camera.
With BEHM’s high-quality 3D capture device, people from all walks of life - from historians to travel enthusiasts - can tour everything from the monumental entry stairway to Jerusalem-devoted rooms located in prominent prayer locations. There’s even a pair of exquisite bakeries.
As a critical piece of Judeo-Provençal tradition, the Matterport-JOUR8 Media & Services & ESA STUDIOS collaboration aims to digitally preserve the living monument for generations to come.
Q: What inspired the 3D capture of the Synagogue de Carpentras?
I am interested in History and I like to discover and use new technologies. So combining these two shared interests was a great way to do something useful while having fun. And, with the restrictions due to coronavirus pandemic, many places are closed and not accessible.
This Synagogue is the oldest one still in activity in France. Built in 1343, this place is known to few but unknown to so many others. It’s very exciting to open the doors to as many visitors as possible, all over the town and all over the world, through this very important 3D capture. So, now, both locally and around the world, everyone can visit this exceptional place.
Q: What are the “must-sees” you want visitors to explore and why?
What is very rewarding with Matterport technologies is that each visitor walks at their own pace: they can move forward, can stop, can go back. And go on again. A visitor can leave and come back the next day. I am very amazed by the difference between the total visits number and the statistic of unique visitors, which shows that almost 30% of visitors return!
We are very grateful to the synagogue management team for trusting us. We were able to freely scan every space. And we want to transmit them as faithfully as possible.
We want visitors to discover this place exactly as we have discovered it. We want visitors to enjoy the prayer room, but also to wander in the basement to discover the bakeries and the baths, being conscious that these places are places of history.
And, if you are lucky to virtually visit this place with a VR headset, I can affirm that you are in the place!
Q: What’s the one thing you want visitors to take away after experiencing the Carpentras Synagogue?
Without any hesitation, I would say that it will be great if they leave with the desire to visit it in person! That's what emerges from a lot of the comments. Visitors are amazed by the quality of the virtual visit and whether they live close to the synagogue or much further away, many express an interest in visiting as soon as they are able.
Otherwise, what I want them to keep in mind is the magic of this place of worship, culture, and history. Over time, we will enrich this virtual visit with audio podcasts that better tell the story of this synagogue.
Q: How have virtual technologies like Matterport played an essential role in showcasing historic places?
New technologies and virtual tours with Matterport are becoming essential to the enhancement and conservation of historic places. Just as you scan letters and historical documents to keep track of them, scanning buildings with a 3D camera helps keep a historical record. And mattertags are the exact good way to store additional content like texts, audio, videos, and pictures, with the goal: to keep and share.
We talk about the Synagogue de Carpentras which is actually closed due to coronavirus pandemic. We hope it will reopen very soon. But many pieces of heritage are closed due to lack of maintenance or to degraded state. These places deserve to be shown and seen too. And Matterport’s technology helps to achieve that.
Our company Jour8 Media & Services has just created a new space, Esa Studios, which will be dedicated to the development of augmented reality solutions, built around virtual Matterport technologies. We also have the ambition to develop video games based on scanned historic places as a way to introduce younger audiences to historic places in a more engaging way.
Q. Anything else you would like to add?
After a few experiences with my Matterport Pro2, I wonder if I will have enough imagination to do all that is possible achievable with this new 3D technology?