If there is a characteristic that defines our clients at VES Creative- it is a passion for innovation and differentiation.
One client in particular recently presented a fresh challenge. We had previously produced virtual reality video for them before- a 360 VR virtual tour of their innovative office space. Our client set up a system where event attendees could pick up a VR headset and watch the tour- which was also simulcast on a nearby flatscreen for those not in headset.
— Craig Galbraith (@Craig_Galbraith) April 12, 2017
However, the inherent challenge with Virtual Reality is that it remains a mostly solitary experience. People like watching others reacting to experiences, sharing those experiences together. We needed to tap into that- and figure out how to expand the experience outside of the headset. Our client needed to make an even bigger statement, shatter expectations, and create something to demagnetize the competition right across the hall.
IglooVision presents themselves as the shared VR company. They provide 360 degree projection domes that can immerse dozens of people in visual content. Effectively, they are portable, OmniMax movie theaters. On the outside, their sheer look (and sound) draw new audiences inside.
This was the perfect solution- set up an Igloo, invite the curious inside, and blow them (and the competition) away from literally every angle. Pure shared immersion, and complete screen dominance to showcase a brand.
With the event team thankfully handling all of the logistics of getting an Igloo from the UK set up in Austin TX, our own challenge at VES Creative was now to figure out how to use this innovative canvas to paint a brand. With significant investment in the hardware itself, the creative not only needed to reflect that investment, but also take advantage of this medium.
As with any client, we needed to tell their ‘brand story’. But as we’ve written about before, the biggest difference in 360 VR production and traditional flat video is perspective. Stories are nearly always told from a third person perspective. Virtual Reality production is a story experienced in the first person- we aren’t watching characters, we are the character.
Over the course of a few weeks, our team developed an original concept that mirrored the struggles of the IT entrepreneur. Avant’s brand represents the potential for professional greatness. We found that we needed to create an allegorical journey, rising up from the suffocating depths of competition, breaking the surface, avoiding the next wave of commodity, and ultimately reaching the stars and beyond.
And of course, the actual product needs to be connected to this journey. Working with Avant’s marketing team, we developed the concept that would take our audience from the bottom of the deepest trenches to the interstellar- with a brief stop at their innovative office on the way. Having such screen dominance with the Igloo gave us some extra freedom to create a longer-than-normal brand presentation and fit in more selling points without compromise.
For each 360 VR project- we are creating new visuals in a nascent medium. We ended up finding inspiration in museum and amusement park multimedia- classic purveyors of shared experiences. The narrative of one of the greatest commercials of all time also helped us also craft the allegory.
Further, the technical specifications of creating video for the Igloo alone were a challenge. 360 VR video is typically rendered in a 2:1 Equirectangular format (think the flat map of the round Earth), yet the Igloo presentation required an 8:1 format. But since we wanted to create something that could be used by Avant when their sales team does not have access to a 360 projection dome, the visuals needed to work in both formats.
Over the course of one month, our team worked to build the 360 Virtual Reality video environments to create the Avant brand journey. VFX Artist Radek Michalik explains “VFX in 360 degrees turns everything on its head–because the audience has complete freedom where to focus their attention! Then the challenge becomes making everything they can possibly look at look good: no more hiding fixes behind motion blur or forgetting about an element once it leaves the frame… after all, the camera is looking everywhere at once”.
Finally, we completed the visuals, and designed and mixed the 5.1 surround sound, adding to the immersive experience. After hours and weeks of strategy, rendering, and transferring, the final brand experience was ready to be delivered for four days in Austin.
The experience was so captivating and impactful for the client’s event that figuring out how to make the next one even more impressive will be our greatest challenge yet. But we’re grateful to have those kinds of problems!
— Lorna Garney (@LornaGarey) September 27, 2017
A shared 360 VR experience through a projection dome isn’t the marketing solution for every innovative company out there. But we showcase this as a testament to our unique ability to take a complex set of challenges and produce stunning brand presentations for captive audiences. We are the only agency with the team, resources, and ability that concentrates on premium solutions for new, fast-growing brands.
For anyone looking to see how we can help your brand grow exponentially through innovative 360 VR, Virtual Reality, or traditional video- please reach out to us. We ask for the challenge.
Tired of others claiming to be competition and photocopying your marketing efforts? VR is a skilled brand investment that can’t be outsourced to anyone. People desire experiences, experiences make them far more likely to buy, and virtual reality production fulfills that.
Virtual reality captures 100% of the audience’s view. VR is the clearest communication channel- no distractions and complete isolation. If you had the complete attention of a potential customer- what would you say to them?
Simply investing in VR at all is a great Public Relations opportunity. VR is such a nascent technology that the amount of good brand content out there is quite lacking. While traditional video and 360 video get about the same number of clicks online, 360 and VR video receive far more articles and awards.