Rio 2016 has just begun! Coverage is going to be everywhere and for those of us who just can’t get enough Olympic goodness this year we’re going to have a lot more platforms beyond just our TV to watch it, thanks to a massive shift in technology developments.
360 Degree Video: Creative Potential Waiting to Explode
Tate Modern recently released the 360 degree film we created to promote their latest Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition. So far, the video is their most watched piece of content ever, with over 3 million views. But it’s not all about views and return on investment, as a retoucher, the concept of working in 360 is something that really excited me when I first encountered VR several years ago. To me it had so much creative potential waiting to explode into the advertising and marketing world; I was hooked from the start.
15 million downloads
Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm this summer, within a week of its release in the US, this augmented reality game topped 15 million downloads on Apple's App Store and Google Play, according to estimates from research firm SensorTower. The numbers are backing the idea that Pokémon Go is changing and shaping the world of new media technologies as we know it, but I can’t help to raise this question: Is it just a fad? The game itself brings back the nostalgia of playing the original Pokémon games Red and Blue on the Gameboy with the 8bit graphics. Playing in the dark using a torch to shine on the screen of the Gameboy to battle the ‘Elite Four’ but today it’s so much more; the integrated AR element in Pokémon Go will strive companies to push for their own AR/VR strategies.
The NYT VR project from The New York Times won not one, but two Grand Prix awards at Cannes Lions Festival last month, with the individual virtual reality film "The Displaced," earning the top prize in the revamped Lions Entertainment contest and the Grand Prix in Mobile that the NYT VR app itself won.
2016 was my 20th year in Cannes, and it sure has changed over the years! What was once, effectively, a celebration of the world’s best TV ad in a town full of ‘Mad Men’, now sees the arrival of technology companies. This is merely a natural response to the increased role and impact that technology has in our lives as well as the changing expectations of today’s consumers with how they want brands to interact with them.
I'm often asked the difference between augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Put simply, AR brings digital content into the real world via a screen, whether that is a tablet, smartphone or poster, whereas VR uses a headset to place us in an altogether different and virtual environment.
Science and art are different manifestations of the same human urge to enquire, explore, and understand our place in the Universe. Recently I wrote a blog about the #fashtech movement, which charts and celebrates the convergence of fashion and technology.
Let’s now look at 5 examples of how #arttech is impacting the way that we experience, create and consume art.
Just recently I’ve noticed the increased popularity of the #fashtech movement, which charts and celebrates the convergence of fashion and technology. When you think about it, the two have much in common; both constantly reinventing themselves to stay relevant, desirable and innovative.
We're always proud to be supporting D&AD, and this year is no different. We've had an amazing week at the D&AD Festival showcasing our latest content and meeting lots of great creatives at our stand. With virtual reality a hot topic amongst many, we were in great demand with a full house at our VR workshop, led by Simon Gosling.
Here's a sneak peak from our stand this week, and keep an eye out for the full blog next week!
At Dubai Lynx 2016, my keynote, 'VR with a Happy Finish', streamed live on TVAE and posed the question, "VR - Is it just a fad?". Well at last year’s Cannes Lions, virtual reality headsets could be seen everywhere. You couldn't walk onto a beach or into a bar without seeing someone rotate their head like an owl, staring into a headset and uttering the words, "Wow! This is so cool!". The same can be said of Dubai Lynx, at which most speakers included virtual reality at some point within their presentations.
Virtual reality isn't new. In the early 90s, I remember going to The Trocadero in London and experiencing Virtuality’s VR Racing Game; sitting in a plastic racing car, sporting a virtual reality headset the size of a trash can, and driving around a racetrack in a polygonal, CGI racing car, which looked like it had been plucked from Dire Straits', "Money For Nothing" music video. Whilst I've never forgotten that first taste of virtual reality, I was disappointed that the image didn't keep up with my head movement and the quality was so basic. However, I do recall enjoying the experience and thinking that one day this would to be the way we will be entertained. I wondered if that day would be in my lifetime. In my opinion, that time is now.
I have always been interested in Virtual Reality. I played my first computer game by typing it out, line by line, in the BASIC coding language into a Spectrum ZX81. Virtual Reality made a brief appearance in amusement arcades in the late 1980s and then disappeared again due to latency, reliability and expense. Since then I could hardly wait for the full immersive experience and it has been a long time coming.
So fast forward to 2012 and I find myself running a company called Happy Finish where we produce a lot of imagery and computer generated animations for global brand advertising, and finally the Oculus Rift appears on kickstarter, and Virtual Reality is about to emerge from its long hibernation in university research departments and back into the commercial arena.
So you’ve heard all the hype about using Google Cardboards (GC) for watching virtual reality (VR) content, you’ve unwrapped your first one, but how do you use it? Where do you start?
Well it works with a mobile smartphone, so you will need one of those for sure, and fear not, they're not all plain brown, the branding options are endless.
These 5 tips will help you make the best out of yours in no time, and soon you’ll be bringing it to all your parties (real parties).
Uncanny Valley, a short film written and directed by Argentinean filmmaker Federico Heller, paints a very grim picture of virtual reality. Heller shows a future populated by a burnout generation, VR junkies who lost touch with reality and survive only to sustain their virtual existence. That in many ways could be a stretch of his imagination, but even if it is, there are no second thoughts about how the "Virtual" world is taking away "Reality" from many.
Virtual reality is a powerful communication tool, however without the right ingredients it has the possibility to end up on the shelf. That one key ingredient is storytelling. The power of storytelling is immense, enabling the realism in the virtual world - it is the anchor, and without it a strong campaign return on investment (ROI) is unlikely.
Photograph by ©Nikola Krtolica used with kind permission of http://nikola-photographe.com
Last week, I was kindly invited by Cristal Festival to give a keynote presentation about VR & AR, in which I:
- Explored the ways in which these new technologies enable brands to communicate with consumers in new exciting and immersive ways.
- Shared with the audience some projects Happy Finish has created, with our clients and partners, throughout 2015.
- Discussed how VR is already maturing, developing its own storytelling and narrative styles.
- Looked at the impressive cost savings and ROI stats that brands can enjoy with VR solutions and campaigns.
The next few months will see the closing of what has seemed like an eternal beta phase for the Virtual Reality industry. Last week saw the consumer release of the Samsung GearVR, the first of the four mass produced head-mounted-displays (HMD’s) coming to market in the next year. The GearVR has sold out across all outlets until after Christmas and is predicted to account for the majority of HMD market share over the coming year, mostly because it's not a stand alone VR solution like the Oculus, Vive and Morpheus which require a much greater outlay comparable to a low-end T.V or a games console. The GearVR is a relatively low cost accessory or add-on (retailing at $99) for users of Samsung smartphones which account for the largest share of the smartphone market at approximately 20% compared to Apple's 14%. The potential user base for GearVR is the order of hundreds of millions.