Santa Barbara-based production company Venture Visuals may be a small shop, but the team produces some of the strongest Virtual Reality content out there. The team was recently contacted by Coors’ agency to create a promotional VR campaign for the Coors Light XP app. We spoke with Venture Visuals’ founder and director, Thomas Kranzle, to get the story behind the project.
Venture Visuals is very attentive to detail when creating VR content as they are known to be pioneers when it comes to using the medium as a storytelling device. That’s why Coors contacted the powerhouse to develop and showcase three exclusive experiences that Coors fans have the chance of winning via the app. Two of the prizes are, currently, available to win and the third is not yet released. The two prize experiences include a behind the scenes tour of the University of Texas football team rooms and a chance to play a game of flag football with your friends at the University of Southern California Coliseum.
During this project, Thomas and his team handled every aspect from pre to post production, including fleshing out some of the concepts. Unlike regular video, where clients can quickly review the shots, VR needs to be stitched together, which makes it a little more challenging to communicate a vision to the client. To illustrate the scenes beforehand, Thomas creates VR storyboards with 360-degree still shots, which extends the pre-production phase, but gives the client a more accurate picture of how the final video is going to look.
Another aspect Thomas’ team had to consider when completing the preproduction piece of this project was nailing down a time schedule. Like most production projects, scheduling creates many obstacles for everyone involved. Since all the facilities at the University of Texas were being used, they had to shoot the locker room content between 1:00am, and 3:00am. Also, there was a lot of construction taking place at the same time, which became an obstacle since a VR camera sees everything in a 360-degree view.
As a director, you approach things in a whole new way. You can’t cut away to any close-up or insert shot to drive the story forward. You aren’t fully able to tell the audience what to focus on; their free will is now involved too. With that in mind, you do your best with blocking (where points of action are relative to the camera) and sound design cues to keep the audience focused on the right part of the frame. It can be a bit challenging, but it is also exhilarating being on the forefront of a new storytelling medium.
The shoot itself went well, and everyone had a blast. Thomas enjoyed collaborating with the agency and all the creatives involved to strategize the best ways to integrate the video and the app.
So far, Coors has been ecstatic with the results, and as we mentioned before, there is still one more VR prize experience to be released. Moving forward, Thomas hopes to work on more projects like this in the future and can’t wait to push the boundaries of VR storytelling.
See more of Venture Visuals at venturevisuals.com!