WEDDING couples will be able to relive their big day in 3D and share it with loved ones thanks to 360-degree videos.
A former soldier who served in Afghanistan has set up the business with the fiancee he met online from 5,000 miles away.
Luke Woods, from Poole, says his virtual reality (VR) service will allow people who cannot be at a wedding to experience the celebrations. The videos, which can be watched on phones thanks to devices such as Google Cardboard, can be shared privately or on social media.
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Luke, 49, set up the business with fiancee Jennifer Lloyd-Grey, whom he met online when he was in Canada.
He served for six years as a Rifleman but built up a photography business that he could take up full time on returning to civilian life.
He even filmed his own proposal in 360-degree video.
He said: “It was a really great experience coming home from Afghanistan knowing that we’d made the lives of people who’d suffered at the hands of a brutal regime, so much better.“I am quietly proud to have been part of the British Armed Forces peace keeping operation in Afghanistan. We gave those people their country back.
“Now I’ve done my duty in the military, and I’ve got a new mission to improve people’s lives in a different way, by spreading happiness.”
Luke, originally from Bridport, took a laptop and digital camera with him while in the Army and honed his digital editing skills.
“I’d always wanted to go into business as a professional photographer,” he said.
His first industry experience was in 1978, helping his uncle, a Fleet Street photographer.
“So when I made the transition back into civilian life, the skills I’d built up doing this as a hobby really came into their own,” he said.
He took an IT job and after helping Google Maps software, decided to set up on his own.
He said: “I was putting out a lot of media and Google saw that, interviewed and selected me for a Google Maps programme. I jumped right on board and have not looked back since. It’s no free meal ticket though – lots of brain sweat and long hours but it’s worth it. I now get 80,000 views a month of my work and its growing all the time.”
It was while working on a Google project in Canada that Luke started chatting to Jenny on-line and when they met, Luke says he immediately knew she was “the one”.
He said: “It’s amazing what technology can do to connect people emotionally even though they are thousands of miles away.
“When we met it was love at first sight. It’s true when people say ‘When you meet the one, you just know’.”
He added: “For me it is clear that VR video is the next visual evolution in how we see the world – you can see it with a VR headset – and on a mobile screen, it’s so easy – just play it and spin round and you are there.”
Luke Woods Weddings will be exhibiting at a Bride on a Budget Wedding Fair on Saturday, March 25, 10am-4pm, at the Sovereign Shopping Centre, Boscombe. Others will include wedding favours supplier Cockatoo; photo booth hire company Click It; Bottom of the Garden Flowers; Carousel which can help couples with car hire and décor; and stationery supplier Jellicoe Creative.