Tag Archives: interactive

Behind the Title: Light Sail VR MD/EP Robert Watts

This creative knew as early as middle school that he wanted to tell stories. Now he gets to immerse people in those stories.

NAME: Robert Watts

COMPANY: LA-based Light Sail VR (@lightsailvr)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
We’re an immersive media production company. We craft projects end-to-end in the VR360, VR180 and interactive content space, which starts from bespoke creative development all the way through post and distribution. We produce both commercial work and our own original IP — our first of which is called Speak of the Devil VR, which is an interactive, live-action horror experience where you’re a main character in your own horror movie.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Managing Partner and Executive Producer

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
A ton. As a startup, we wear many hats. I oversee all production elements, acting as producer. I run operations, business development and the financials for the company. Then Matt Celia, my business partner and creative director, collaborates on the overall creative for each project to ensure the quality of the experience, as well as making sure it works natively (i.e.: is the best in) the immersive medium.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
I’m very hands-on on set, almost to a fault. So I’ve ended up with some weird (fake) credits, such as fog team, stand-in, underwater videographer, sometimes even assistant director. I do whatever it takes to get the job done — that’s a producer’s job.

WHAT TOOLS DO YOU USE?
Excluding all the VR headsets and tech, on the producing side Google Drive and Dropbox are a producer’s lifeblood, as well as Showbiz Budgeting from Media Services.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
I love being on set watching the days and weeks of pre-production and development coalesce. There’s an energy on set that’s both fun and professional, and that truly shows the crew’s dedication and focus to get the job done. As the exec producer, it’s nice being able to strike a balance between being on set and being in the office.

Light Sail VR partners (L-R): Matt Celia and Robert Watts

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Tech hurdles. They always seem to pop up. We’re a production company working on the edge of the latest technology, so something always breaks, and there’s not always a YouTube tutorial on how to fix it. It can really set back one’s day.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
We do “Light Sail Sandwich Club” at lunch and cater a smorgasbord of sandwich fixings and crafty services for our teams, contractors and interns. It’s great to take a break from the day and sit down and connect with our colleagues in a personal way. It’s relaxed and fun, and I really enjoy it.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
I love what I do, but I also like giving back. I think I’d be using my project management skills in a way that would be a force for good, perhaps at an NGO or entity working on tackling climate change.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
Middle school. My family watched a lot of television and films. I wanted to be an archaeologist after watching Indiana Jones, a paleontologist after Jurassic Park, a submarine commander after Crimson Tide and I fancied being a doctor after watching ER. I got into theater and video productions in high school, and I realized I could be in entertainment and make all those stories I loved as a kid.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
At the tail end of 2018, we produced 10 360-degree episodes for Refinery29 (Sweet Digs 360), 10 VR180 episodes (Get Glam, Hauliday) and VR180 spots for Bon Appetit and Glamour. We also wrapped on a music video that’s releasing this year.

On top of it all, we’ve been hard at work developing our next original, which we will reveal more details about soon. We’ve been busy! I’m extremely thankful for the wonderful teams that helped us make it all happen.

Now Your Turn

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
I am very proud of the diversity project we did with Google, Google: Immerse, as well as our first original, Speak of the Devil. But I think our first original series Now Your Turn is the one I’m going to pick. It’s a five-episode VR180 series that features Geek & Sundry talent showcasing some amazing board games. It’s silly and fun, and we put in a number of easter eggs that make it even better when you’re watching in a headset. I’m proud of it because it’s an example of where the VR medium is going — series that folks tune into week to week.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
My Mac for work and music — I’m constantly listening to music while I work. My Xbox One is where I watch all my content and, lastly, my VIVE set up at home. I like to check out all the latest in VR, from experiences to gaming, and I even work out with it playing BoxVR or Beat Saber.

WHAT KIND OF MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO AT WORK?
My taste spans from classic rock to techno/EDM to Spanish guitar.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I try to have a work-life balance. I don’t set my email notifications to “push.” Instead, I make the choice of when I check my emails. I do it frequently enough I don’t ever feel I’m out of the loop, but that small choice helps me feel in control of all the hundreds of things that happen on a day-to-day basis.

I make time every night and on the weekends to spend time with my lovely wife, Jessica. When we’re not watching stuff, we’re seeing friends and playing board games — we’re big nerds. It’s important to have fun!

Behind the Title: Legwork director of production Chris Grey

NAME: Chris Grey

COMPANY: Denver-based Legwork

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Legwork is an independent creative studio combining animation and technology to create memorable stories and experiences for advertising, entertainment and education.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Director of Production

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
I touch almost all parts of the business, including business development, client relationships, scoping, resourcing, strategy, producer mentorship and making sure every project that goes out the door is up to our high standards. Oh, and I still produce several projects myself.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
It might be cliché, but you still need to get your hands dirty producing things. You just can’t escape it, nor should you want to. It sets the example for your team.

Dominos

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
The problem-solving aspect of it. No matter how tight your project plan is, it’s a given that curveballs are going to happen. Planning for those and being able to react with smart solutions is what makes every day different.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Anxiety isn’t fun, but it comes with the job. Just know how to deal with it and don’t let it rub off on others.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE TIME OF THE DAY?
First hour of the day for emails. I do my best to keep my afternoons meeting-free, unless it’s a client meeting, My last job put a lot of emphasis on “flow” and staying in it, so I do my best to keep all internals in the morning so the whole team can work in the afternoon, including myself.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
I’ve always wanted to own a cool bodega/deli type of place. We’d specialize in proper sandwiches, hard to find condiments, cheap beer. Keeping this dream alive…

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I knew in college. Crispin Porter + Bogusky was moving to Boulder during my junior or senior year at Colorado University. I read up on them and thought to myself “That’s it. That’s what I want to do.” I was lucky enough to get an internship there after graduation and I haven’t really looked back.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
Can I take credit for the team on these two? Cool, because we’re super-proud of these, but I didn’t “produce” them:
Rise: Hope-a-monics
Pandora: Smokepurpp

Yeti

Some stuff I worked on recently that we are equally proud of:
https://www.yeticycles.com/
https://ifthisthendominos.com/
L.L.Bean: Find Your Park

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
More than a project, our relationship with YouTube has been super rewarding. The View in 2 series is now on its fifth season and it was one of the first things I worked on when I got to Legwork. Watching the show and our relationship with the client evolve is something I am proud of. In the coming months, there will be a new show that we’re releasing with them that pushes the style even further.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
1. This is a cheat because it covers music, my calendar, email, etc., but one is my iCloud and Google accounts — because 75 percent of my life on there now.
2. My Nest camera gives me peace of mind when I’m out of town and lets me know my dog isn’t too lonely.
3. Phonograph records — old tech that I love to collect.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
Besides friends and family? Lots of food-related ones (current favorites are @wdurney and @turkeyandthewolf), sports/sneakers (@houseofhighlights, @jordansdaily), history (@ww2nowandthen) and a good random one is @celebsonsandwhiches.

I also like every @theonion post.

That was all for Instagram. I save Twitter for political rants and Liverpool F.C.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK? CARE TO SHARE YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC TO WORK TO?
We have a Sonos at the office and more often than not it forces me to put on my headphones. Sorry, Legworkers. So it might be a podcast, Howard Stern, KEXP or something British.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I’m a new dad, so that helps keep everything in perspective. That and some brewery visits on the weekend, which are totally socially acceptable to bring infants to!

Formosa Group takes over former POP Sound location

Formosa Group, which serves film, broadcast, commercial and interactive clients, will re-open the facility formerly known as POP Sound (Pacific Ocean Post). The Santa Monica-based facility closed on July 7 of this year.

Bob Rosenthal

Bob Rosenthal

“We are pleased to re-open this outstanding post-production sound facility,” said Formosa president/COO Robert C. Rosenthal. “With this addition, we will now have an expanded west side presence. It also enables the core clientele to continue their great work here with many of the accomplished creative artists and support staff formerly associated with POP.”

The former POP Sound features 10 mixing stages, eight voiceover booths and an ADR stage. The facility will be refurbished and rebranded for a launch this month, with some of the existing gear.

Rosenthal is reportedly in talks with several of the former POP artists and staff members to rejoin the facility under Formosa’s management; it’s estimated that approximately 10 will rejoin.

Formosa Group, based at The Lot in West Hollywood, also has a second West Hollywood location, along with West LA and Burbank locations.

Rushes cooks up interactive kitchen experience for IKEA

The CG team at London’s Rushes created a range of kitchen designs for an interactive experience on IKEA’s website called The Truth About Kitchens. Each of the themed designs shows visitors information about how we spend time in our kitchens. Working closely with agency Mother and IKEA’s kitchen designers, Rushes created six kitchens that seamlessly transform into each other.

Animation for the project turned into an interesting logistical challenge for the studio. Each of the kitchens had a distinctive layout to animate in and out of, as if on a turntable. A looping animation takes over once one kitchen leaves and transforms into any of the other five kitchens that the user happens to choose.

ikea copy

To make this work the team implemented solutions involving matching the speeds and locations of the different kitchen cabinets for each sequence. Collisions between the kitchen cabinets in the transitions presented a problem, but that was solved by subtly animating parts of the kitchen toward or away from camera, allowing other cabinets to move in-between.

Lighting the kitchens presented a challenge; we needed to recreate the familiar IKEA aesthetic, which is so recognisable, and with all the cabinets and walls moving. The lighting also had to adapt to avoid overexposing areas of the set. Importantly, the lighting had to precisely match between each kitchen so there wasn’t a flicker between transitions.

Rushes (@RushesPost) used Autodesk’s Maya for 3D and The Foundry’s Nuke for compositing, both running on Intel based-PCs with Linux as the OS.

The final step was to encode and deliver the animated graphics to Wilderness, who developed the web front-end, as well as designing and animating the infographics over the top. Accomplishing such a complex build in a relatively short time, fast feedback and close collaboration was essential to the project, which can be seen here.

Still01small

In terms of collaboration, it was a combination of face to face at the early stages of the project to discuss logistics and the overall creative concept, and then followed up with a lot of phone calls and emailed PDFs to illustrate design briefs for kitchen design and prop layout.

“This was a super tricky project,” explains Mother producer Chris Lynd. “There were a lot of moving parts, both at the 3D and production, and the site development stages and the timing was incredibly tight. Andy Nicholas [director of CG], Norra Abdul Rahim[senior EP], [producer] Georgina Meirick [producer] and Simon Sanderson [freelance producer] made it all run like a well-oiled machine. Not only did they do an awesome job on the creating and animating each of the sets, the team had a fantastic technical grasp of how the output slotted into the interactive experience and really made that part of the process seamless. Literally seamless. It was an absolute pleasure to work with the team. They continually went over and above the call of duty and have an impossible amount of energy and enthusiasm and the work is fantastic.”

Additional Rushes credits include 3D artists David Drese, Nimesh Patel, John Hasted, Mark Woodcock, Andrea Scibetta, Craig Travis; Nuke artists Noel Harmes, Sarah Breakwell; and pipeline TD Ben De Luca.

Still06new gall Still05 gall1

Mother’s head of digital is Tryone Hannick, and agency creatives on the piece were Nick Hallbery, David Colman.

 

 

 

Revelens: Making online viewing more interactive

By Randi Altman

Industry vet Lucas Wilson loves metadata. So much so he has built a company around it. Revelens offers non-disruptive web-based contextual video bookmarking. What’s that you ask?

Imagine watching an episode of your favorite show online and seeing a watch you might consider buying… if only you knew where to find it. That is where Revelens technology comes in. Tap or click on the screen to register a bookmark – you can either immediately swipe up to open the link and get the information you want, or just continue watching the show. When you do choose to open that bookmark there’s a link to the watch, there’s the UPC code, there’s the price, and information on the product.

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Stopp Family adds Robert Sundberg as head of post

Stockholm, Sweden — Stopp Family, an interactive production company based in Los Angeles, New York, London and Sweden, has hired Robert Sundberg as head of their post production unit. His appointment forms a key part of the Stopp Family’s re-brand and future expansion into new markets. He will be responsible for managing the post team, overseeing projects and developing the post unit’s business.

Sundberg previously ran his own consultancy Straithill, which focused on business development and product management in a multi national environment for telecommunication clients such as Ericsson and Sony Ericsson. He specified requirements and introduced new products to an organization by gathering information from internal R&D, market analysis and customers. Alongside his consultancy he has run his own media production company focusing on “highlight” films at sports events.

Sundberg says, “I see Stopp Family (www.stopp.se) as a leader in its field and I’m looking forward to ensuring it stays in that position by bringing a fresh eye from a different business area. On a personal level head of post production enables me to bring all my strengths together in a unique role of manager, project manager and business developer in an industry that I’ve loved since childhood.”

Pasi Helin, Stopp’s owner/CEO comments, says, “We are delighted that Robert will be joining Stopp Family. I specifically looked for someone outside of the industry to bring a fresh perspective to the role. The industry is evolving rapidly and it requires Robert’s skills and experience to predict where the market is going and to introduce new products into the organization in a positive way.”

 

Acne adds Jeremiah Reichardt as senior developer

Los Angeles — Acne (http://www.acneproduction.com), with offices in Stockholm, Berlin, Paris, London, and LA, has hired interactive and multimedia pro Jeremiah Reichardt as a senior developer.

He will work alongside a growing US roster that has in recent months added interactive director Jeff Levine, as well as interactive director/music producer Drasko Vucevic, animation and effects pro Chris Gardner, and innovator Eskil Steenberg.

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