ABOUT: A product of the 80s, raised on worn out Star Wars VHS tapes, DOS computing and Dragon Ball. Co-founded the animation studio Backlight with Jonathan Tamene. Got into VR by accident after ordering the Oculus DK1 out of “geek curiosity” and getting hooked.
You guys started out as an animation studio. What made you turn to VR?
– We met a critical success with our first project, Birdy King Land, and realize we could add VR to what we do best: Telling stories and turn them into movies.
What is your company’s core expertise?
– Our core expertise is 3d animation, that is to say storytelling and graphical experiences, thanks to our experience as an animation studio. But we also develop various contents, for example interactive, 4D/Dynamic, thanks to our team’s diversity.
What’s it like working with you guys?
– We have eight years of experience working on ad campaigns. So we manage the process quite well. As an animation studio we can produce the whole content, from finding the original idea to installing hardware at an event. We can also turn your ideas into content, whilst providing creative input. To sum it, we can provide pre-production, production and post production.
How would you describe your company culture?
– Familial & creative.
Can you show me something you’ve done that you are extra proud of?
– Birdy King Land is our best creation up to date. We’re also proud of the 4D version we developed, with vibrating chair and air generator. We really like an ad campaign we made for Point P as we made our first Unreal project, and we integrated Leap Motion in it.
Can your company handle campaign volume production?
– We can handle campaign volume production, We are used to that from our animation activity, and our VR production pipe is, with 10 projects made up to date, well-functioning.
What area, geographically speaking, are you available to work in?
– We are based in Paris, but we can work worldwide, as long as our interlocutor speaks English!
Do you offer any type of satisfaction guarantee?
– Satisfaction is guaranteed when contracting us. Just ask our clients. We manage to make our clients happy, regardless of budgets or subjects.
Do you offer revisions of completed work?
– We could do it indeed, as well as creating brand new universes!
Can you give some examples of what you can do for a small company with limited resouces?
– Sure we can. We’ll find the right creative opportunities to stitch to the budget. For example, we made the Audi Experience in two weeks, based on available 3D resources. Budgets like that starts from 15 to 20k€, average budgets we studied were around 80k€. Our Point P project for example.
I own a bike factory and want to promote our latest BMX model. What sort of VR experience would you suggest for me? Money is not an issue. Go crazy.
– We can make, on one hand; a 360 video experience: Take an extreme BMX champion, stick a well steady rig on its helmet, with a wide field of view to get impressive video rendering. Follow its path with drone equipped with a VR rig. Or we can make a 3D project. Go ride your BMX in a crazy place, on the moon or during the Hoth Battle! We can go 4D with that project, with a rigged BMX.
I own an insurance company and we would like to promote our life insurance. What sort of VR experience would you suggest for me? Money is not an issue. Go crazy.
– We’ll create a game representing a daily routine for a secret agent: Waking up in the morning, going to work, shopping, getting kids at school… are everyday tasks that will turn crazy in the skin of a secret agent. Will you avoid all the dangers through the path ? Claim: You don’t need to risk your life to own a good insurance.
I own a sushi restaurant. What sort of VR experience would you suggest for me? Money is not an issue. Go crazy.
– We’ll create a 4D VR ride to discover the fish that will be served in the restaurant: Come with a few friends in the “Sushi submarine”. Relax on a comfortable relaxing seat, put your mask on, and you’ll get immerged into the submarine, that will dive into the sea. Submarine sounds, moving chairs, wind generator and odour diffuser will get you to the very secret of the restaurant: Fresh and quality fish to taste.
I’ve been living in a cave the last few years and just got back to work at the marketing department, can you explain to me why I should invest in a VR marketing campaign?
– VR is the next big thing coming in the next few years. Marketing adopted it already, and the phenomena will keep on growing. You simply bring your customer into your DNA, into the core of your brand universe. And the moment you’ll share with him/her will be unique. It is simply the best way to interact with people today.
What sort of VR experiences do you think we will see in the future, in terms of marketing?
– More and more 4D experiences coming to us, especially through marketing campaigns. But lots of uses will come, and we already see them developing: Social, VR meeting rooms, medicine… This is just the beginning! Here at Backlight/Virtual, we are waiting for HMD to become mainstream, and to witness. and be part of, the rise of VR movies.
What are the risks and pitfalls with VR marketing?
– Useless campaigns, only made because “We need VR content”. Marketing will help VR go mainstream, so the contents have to be well made, and well thought out.
Pick a brand and product that you like and tell me what sort of campaign you would create, given total freedom.
– Oasis is a fruit juice brand that has a strong universe, with CG characters as ambassadors. Their TV ads use to be ground breaking and ultra-dynamics. It definitely represents the type of brand that lends itself to VR with animation, storytelling and sensations.
How would you define a successful VR marketing experience?
– One that offers a memorable souvenir. The ones you just don’t want to get leave, or would die to get back in.
What is it about VR that gets you excited?
– It’s a brand new creative territory to explore. As pioneers we’ll have the chance to experiment and set milestones in a rupture technology. A technology that is about entering “dream” worlds… “Tank! Load the jump program!”
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