New York City, NY, May 7, 2018 – We had an incredible VR-filled week exploring NYC’s locally created work at the annual Tribeca Film Festival and the year-round virtual arcade, Jump into the Light. Below are our takeaways from these experiences for brands exploring immersive storytelling.

Embrace the Artist

At its heart, VR is a new medium that enables storytellers and artists to take consumers on unique journeys. To be most effective, brands must support the artist’s vision and enhance the experiences rather than look for disruptive opportunities to interrupt the experiences. Just because VR gets you closer to the eye-ball, doesn’t mean the brand should look for center stage. The most powerful experiences take us on emotional adventures, such as My Africa, which advocates for the conservation of Africa’s wildlife. Certainly, a brand could sponsor and support such a story much more gracefully and impactfully than super-imposing banner ads on a giraffe.

Content Strategy Should Dictate the Medium

Brands are so excited to dive into VR and get some buzz going about their exploration in this space that many seem to be reversing their strategic planning processes – deciding on these tactics first and then warping their creative strategies to align. As a result, they are losing sight of their brand strategies and objectives critical to success.

To successfully activate, brands must first act as adept storytellers to create an emotional connection with users through their content. Then, they can determine how best to enrich the user experience so that it naturally strengthens this connection. Jump Into the Light’s musical performance by Floating Points intrinsically creates a connection with users, which is then further enhanced by use of wind and a vibrating floor. In doing so, they transform a music video into a truly captivating experience that leaves a lasting impression on users.

There is No Standard Format

Ready to execute immersive content for your brand but don’t know where to start?

In just the last 3 years attending Tribeca Immersive, we’ve been surprised by how much the experiences have evolved and how quickly the tech has advanced. Several years ago, some experiences didn’t have visual components, but instead activated sound and scent to navigate the user journey. This year, experiences capitalized on tech improvements, with improved visual imagery, sensory touches, and opportunities for interaction between users. This year also featured longer experiences (some lasting 30 minutes), due to further artistic exploration by creators in this space and greater user familiarity and adoption.

The bottom line is that there is no regularity or standardization yet for VR content. The space is still so new that users haven’t formed concrete preferences for one form or another, so creative opportunities are truly endless for brands. By next year’s festival, immersive storytelling will already have a different feel than it does today.

 

About Tribeca Film Festival

Tribeca Film Festival’s Immersive program wowed audiences for its fifth annual installment and brought in large crowds of festival goers. The independent film festival was an early adopter of such experiences and festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal has made it a priority to bridge the gap between traditional entertainment forms and the tech-focused future of storytelling.

This year’s 26-exhibit Immersive program showcased great artistic variety and A-list talent. The two most talked about experiences were Baobab Studios’ Jack: Part One, which is a new take on the classic fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk, and iNK Stories’ Hero, which puts the user in the midst of civilian warfare in the Middle East.

 

About Jump into the Light

Nestled in the heart of New York’s Lower East Side, this hidden gem of a virtual arcade is open to the public 6 days a week. Jump into the Light is the city’s first VR cinema and playlab, and its experiences include virtual, augmented, and mixed reality. Several renowned artists contribute to the lab, including painter Carrie Able and electronic band Floating Points. Jump into the Light also partners with major advertisers for sponsored events.

 

Connect with us to learn more about which emerging technology can help solve your brand challenges and elevate your storytelling.

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