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360 Video Creator Voices: Giga Works | Blend Media

James King-Thompson / over 3 years ago

In this episode of our 360 Video Creator Voices series we interview Blend Media creator, Karim Saad from Giga Works. Giga Works in short is a 360 VR film studio based in Dubai that specialises in 360 content capture and storytelling, and virtual reality filmmaking.

What is your background and how did you get into 360 VR?

I studied communication arts at St. Joseph University in Beirut. I then went to Paris to undergo a number of specialised studies in 16mm film editing, sound and image.

After this I started work in the TV production industry in Lebanon. Here, I was mainly responsible for the production of TV shows, commercials and promotional films.

My great passion for photography and film then led me on to explore virtual reality filmmaking. I started working with 360 photos and gigapixel imagery which then brought me to 360 videos.

What is the 360 VR scene like in Dubai?

When I started filming 360 video and delving into virtual reality filmmaking back in 2013, the scene was a bit dull and a lot of people saw it as a gimmick. However, since Facebook and Google started adopting the medium, it seems everybody nowadays wants VR.

I think there is still a lot to discover. However, people must first understand how it works; not only its best practices but also its limitations.

Who have Giga Works worked with in the past?

In the past we have worked on virtual reality filmmaking projects for Emirates Airlines, Jumeriah Wild Wadi, Dodge, DEWA, Red Bull, Nissan…the list goes on!

For example, we created a 360 VR experience of the Lebanese Champion, Abdo Feghali, taking us on a drift ride in his Chevrolet Camaro around the track for the 2013 Red Bull Car Park Drift Regional Finals in Dubai.

We were commissioned by Time Inc Studios to produce branded content for Emirates Airline which was used for the US market on the Travel + Leisure website. We ended up creating a total of three different experiences based in Dubai: Family, Adventure and Culture.

You can view the Giga Works 'Adventure' 360 VR experience below.

You can find out more about the virtual reality filmmaking projects by Giga Works here.

What is the most exciting project you have worked on, and where has your favourite location to shoot been?

For me every project is different, but they all have my full attention and passion. I am yet to find my most exciting project to be honest; there have been so many great ones.

I have been filming in many different continents and countries, and I have to admit that most of them were either in scenic locations, state of the art factories or entirely unique places. I can say that some of my favourite locations to shoot were in China, the Red Sea off Saudi Arabia, and in a hot air ballon over the Dubai Desert.

Have you encountered any obstacles along the way?

Of course. It's the obstacles and challenges that push us forward as a business; we overcome them every time! Working with new technology and special new equipment - most of which has been 'DIY' to begin with - is not a walk in the park! We were also dealing with beta software versions to help us do our work. At the beginning, there were a lot of challenges that we had to deal with and find the best workaround. 

"I do believe you can tell a better story with user-controlled content, especially if done with passion and creativity"

Do you believe you can tell a better story with user-controlled content compared to more traditional formats?

Yes I do believe you can tell a better story with user-controlled content, especially if done with passion and creativity.

What advice have you got for other 360 VR filmmakers out there?

Make sure you are meticulous and organised. Fix whatever you can in pre-production, don’t leave it to post!