Dubai-based production house Collective BKP is one of the first in the region to fully embrace virtual reality and 360 video. The company’s partner and film director Omar Abbas tells us more.
You have chosen to specialise in 360 video and virtual reality. Why?
To put it simply, it’s the future. Now that we’ve unlocked the technology and made it accessible, it’s only a matter of improvement until we get to create experiences that erase the line between reality and illusion. We’ve only just started to discover the wonder and fascination that high quality immersive experiences can create.
Is there enough demand for such content in the region, or is it still very niche?
People still don’t know what to do with this type of content. They nibble at the edges, watch a few videos on YouTube, maybe pick up a Samsung Gear. The real joy is in diving full force into it with a high end HMD like the Vive or the Rift. As mass adoption takes hold, there will be more demand for it, but for the time being it’s still early days. Of course, that’s what makes it so exciting.
What kind of campaigns have you done so far?
As soon as YouTube released 360 video capability we did the region’s first 360 music video for local hip-hop trio The Recipe. We followed that shortly afterwards with the region’s first full fledged 360 car ad for the Hyundai Creta. Since then we’ve been experimenting with interactive experiences, animated projects, and even with mixed reality. We’ve also recently launched a new company, Wave Immersive, to create high-end immersive content of all types.
What does 360 video add?
The philosophy behind immersive video is to bring the audience into the experience rather than bring the experience to them. By eliminating the rectangle, we no longer control the viewer’s point of view. The director takes a back seat and the viewer becomes an active participant. On an emotional level, this type of experience has been shown to trigger empathy to an incredible degree.
Is it more fad than future?
It’s only the beginning. As the technology advances and artists and creators learn to use this new medium, we are going to be treated to some amazing experiences.
What other technological advancements do you foresee gaining traction in the near future?
The very near future is going to see artificial intelligence and machine learning become standard online and in hardware. This will elevate augmented and mixed reality (MR) to a level where it becomes a part of our daily lives – while wearing a pair of light MR glasses, you’ll be able to see holograms that look real. You’ll be able to talk to them like you do to a person. This will translate into virtual reality by creating characters that behave like real people. Besides that, graphics processors and CPUs are advancing to the point where CGI will become indistinguishable from reality in VR. It’s going to be awesome.