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360˚ Video Creator Voices: Futura VR Studio

Edie Walwyn / almost 4 years ago

In this episode of '360˚ Video Creator Voices' we interviewed Blend Media creator, Futura VR Studio who are an independent VR studio that creates interactive and unique 360 VR content with strong, boundary-breaking narratives.

So, how did you become involved in 360° video production?

ADRIÁN (VR Creator): I didn’t come from the media world and I didn't have a technological background either. For four years, I promoted musical events in San Sebastian, Basque Country, and then using my savings, I decided to fulfil one of my dreams and live in Los Angeles.

Then, it all started with my trip to Singularity University. They let me try a VR headset and I had an epiphany. When I came back I decided to devote myself to explore this new immersive medium.

PATRICIA (Producer): 
Adrian is from a small town, so from time to time he came to Barcelona to meet with advertising agencies. On one of his trips, our paths crossed. Unlike him, I’ve always been involved with the film industry.

For a while I heard many things about virtual reality but never tried it out. That same week, by chance, I had been offered to produce some 360° video content. I accepted the job but under one condition: I would choose my team. I'm a somewhat radical producer. For me it is important to work with someone with an artistic and not so entrepreneurial vision. Adrián had that quality. He wanted to be a creator, not a businessman.

Are you working on anything exciting at the moment? 



Yes, and we are anxious! We are currently funding our second Cinematic VR Experience: SAN. The story comes after two years of research. All technologies implemented in the experience are narratively justified and is something that we are most proud of as creators.

As an independent studio, we don’t always get the chance to produce our own content. So, we came up with a simple formula. In our studio, we divide time into three pillars: services, lab, and own content productions.

They are our services to brands and companies who finance our laboratory. And it is in our lab where we explore the limits of VR narrative and work with exponential ideas and technologies such as neuroscience, machine learning, AI, depth sensors and reactive content. From these "experiments" our "originals" are born.

Is there a piece of content you’ve seen that you really like? If so, why did it have an impact?

There are two 360 VR experiences we do really like.

- The Presence: 
We totally love it. It’s a proof-of-concept demonstration showing how interactive elements can make 360° films more immersive. The story follows four characters through a séance gone wrong. It contains two new approaches to VR storytelling: "active" and "reactive." In both versions, the viewer influences how the story unfolds. In the "active" version the viewer is able to jump between multiple perspectives at will; while in the "reactive" version the viewer's gaze motivates the next shot, editing the film organically.

- Life of Us: It’s a shared VR journey that tells the complete story of the evolution of life on earth. There is a part towards the end where your actions create part of the image. That is very appealing for us.

What would you like to see more of in the 360 VR space?

We would like to see more people creating cinematic VR experiences that make great use of the immersive environment to produce powerful narratives.

Where has been your favourite place to shoot in 360° so far?

ADRIÁN: I’ve been fortunate as virtual reality has enabled me to travel to many countries. Among them, the United States, Norway and Japan, but there is some real magic in the Canary Islands. 


See below the 360˚ video teaser of OM Rising; a relaxing meditative experience filmed on the top of a volcano in the Canary Islands.

PATRICIA: I'm a romantic. I'm going to say, Riudecols. It is a small town in Spain where we shot our first original, Portal. In fact, right now we are at Tromso’s International Film Festival presenting the experience. 


Watch the making of Portal below.

Or view the 360˚ video trailer below.

How do you think 360° videos differ from other types of media?

We believe 360° videos differ from other media by the grade of energy required from the viewer. For example, the vast majority of people watch content lying down on a bed or sofa or maybe just in any relaxing position. They are entertained in a very passive way. The opposite happens with 360 VR. It requires your full attention. This means we have to re-educate the viewer.

Do you have any advice for other videographers and cinematographers looking to create 360 ̊ videos?

Have patience. For independent content creators, it is going be a long-term journey, and we're going have to demonstrate what we are capable of doing with very little.

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