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Brand Suicide in Virtual Reality — What Ad Agencies need to know about VR - Part II

Written by - Clyde D'souza

Above, is the second slide from a deck I’ve been using to introduce Cinematic VR filmmaking to Cinematographers, indie filmmakers and Creative Heads of some of the bigger AD agency networks, thanks to ongoing initiatives by Google MENA, and at film festivals in Asia via the Think in 360, masterclasses.

The video example used here, is for critique and learning purposes only and is from a “VR for PR” experience (a growing trend in Hollywood) to promote tent-pole blockbuster films. The video can be watched on, or embedded below

So, what’s wrong with this 360 (or technically, VR video)? Everything looks just fine, until somewhere around the 2minute 30 second mark, a creative decision is made to teleport you into the body of Harley Quinn. That’s when things start to go wrong… in my opinion, as the camera swerves from side to side, supposedly expecting you, the headset wearer to look in the direction the VR “Director” is choosing. This causes one of those cardinal sins in VR, that’s puts the mortal body and vesibular system into VR purgatory — and motion sickness ensues. The un-curated stereoscopic anomalies when looking over Harley’s shoulders don’t help either.

Now, while this is a VR experience of a mainstream Hollywood feature film, in essence it is an advert. This is one of the reasons AD Agency creative departments need to know a thing or two about this new medium of visual communication called Virtual Reality. They can avoid causing damage to a Brand, and more importantly, avoid causing physical harm to audiences.

The trend today is to outsource to VR production houses. But the thing is, these production houses do not necessarily have VR experience. And, how could they? Consider this: VR in it’s current flavor is about a couple of years old, and the heat is on in every marketing department to create a VR film, because: Brand engagement is the new mantra.

There are a few more reasons why Ad Agencies should know about VR. For instance, when setting aside multi-million dollar budgets to allow audiences to experience the insides of a Penthouse suite, the spaciousness of a high end sedan or the luxurious living room size of a first class cabin, but a contracted production studio delivers flat 2D 360 video, labels it “VR,” and the scale is off. This results in instant “de-immersion” because furniture and fittings tower over the audience, and where seat ends and floor begins is left to guess work… but that is the topic of another post, or, we can discuss it at the next “Think in 360” masterclass.

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