Lucas Wilson is the founder and executive producer of LA-based Supersphere (superspherevr.com). The company has been producing VR and AR experiences for almost three years. Here, he looks at how advancements in technology can translate to value for clients.
In production, we all know the story of clients wanting us to do more with less. But now with the adoption of 360 video, VR and AR, there are more mediums for advertising, marketing and storytelling than ever before. As brands, media entities, sports teams, musicians and storytellers, in general, look to experiment with these new platforms, production companies must find innovative ways to provide value and flexibility with low risk and low investment in order to remain competitive. The demand for 360/VR content has sparked both creative and technological innovation throughout our industry, but how can this translate to value for our clients? And how can production companies remain both in-demand and profitable as advertising continues to change shape?
One approach for maximizing value is to embrace a hybrid production model in which production companies can capture both traditional 2D as well as 360/VR deliverables from one shoot, essentially piggybacking off of an existing production to easily create additional content without the time and financial requirements that would come from adding a second production. At Supersphere, we’ve seen success with this approach used across advertising, short form branded content and event live streaming, as clients are able to directly compare audience engagement between traditional and 360 content, and can feel comfortable dipping their toes into a medium that may seem daunting and is still rapidly evolving. And, as the industry still works out a viable financial model for VR content, hybrid production allows clients to create the VR content they want without betting the farm.
One example of a successful hybrid production was the “New Year, New Volvo” project we created with ad agency Grey. We produced a traditional :30 broadcast commercial and a longer 2:00 YouTube 360 video from the same shoot, with the same crew. These were companion pieces, so once we determined the camera movement on set, it was largely just a matter of repeating the shot first with the VR camera rig and later with a single camera. To date, the 360 video has over 2.5 million views, a massive feat of organic engagement for the brand with minimal additional production costs required.
Looking ahead, we know that consumers are eager for more immersive content that transports them to an exclusive event or a fictional world. Production companies need to be nimble and able to offer expert guidance on both creative and technical aspects in order to achieve success in the growing 360/VR video space. Those who can’t adapt will not be able to offer tangible value to clients as VR adoption continues and ultimately reaches critical mass. Now is the time to get a foothold in this area, while delivery platforms and monetization are still in flux, so that your company will be well positioned as a valued creative partner.