Apache’s Chris Elson provides advice for those looking to create an Extended Reality (XR) experience and share’s his views on finding a partner, setting a budget and focusing on the big picture.
Apache is an XR experience production studio on Blend’s immersive marketplace, Blend Market. On the marketplace, clients can upload their brief and Blend’s expert team will help find the best set of skills, freelancer, or agency to complete the project.
"When it comes to taking your first step into the immersive world of any Extended Reality experience (including Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR), etc), kicking things off can, for many, be a daunting task. Unlike a traditional digital project, immersive experiences can appear to be highly complex. And they are, I’m not going to lie. But the actual complexity of the project with regards to its planning and creating a brief isn’t really something to be worried about.
Think about it like this. If you were in a position to build your own home – your very own Grand Design, you wouldn’t make a b-line straight for the builders. You’d meet with the architects first to discuss your vision, and they would help make your dream a reality. Now apply this logic to your intended XR experience and get the immersive tech experts on board as early as possible.
The effort of a fully prepared brief is always appreciated; however, the effort in many instances has had all of the creative potential worked out of it. The technologies are not always the most appropriate, and often it’s too late to change anything. So what the client ends up with is a made to order experience, that hasn’t really made the most of the expertise of those being employed to deliver the end result.
What is it that they say about poor performance and poor planning? So to stop yourself from falling into this trap, get the experts on board as early as possible in the process and let them work it out for you – after all, it’s what they’re there for!"
1. Find the right partner
Researching your potential production partner is an important consideration, particularly if you’ve high stakes riding on your end result. And by that, I mean your audience and end-user could be incredibly savvy already with respect to immersive experiences from their own personal content consumption habits. So throwing “VR agency” into Google and going after the first handful of results doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get the best end result. It just means that their PPC is doing what it should. This is where Blend Market can help.
2. Get inspired
Probe your potential production partners in much the same way as you would do your Grand Design Architect. Ask them what they’ve done that’s similar to your own requirements in the past, in fact, ask to see what they’ve done in the past for real. Take it for a test drive so to speak, and get a feel for what they can do and whether they would be right for you.
3. Determine the value
How to budget for an XR experience can also throw up a myriad of challenges, but again listen to the advice of your potential production partner expert. If possible try not to focus on “the cost”, more so “the value”. Your production partner expert should be able to help out here with previous project stats. If not, wave them bye-bye.
4. Develop a proof of concept
For some unknown reason, and this has puzzled me for years. The common perception is that creating an XR experience with a considerable “wow” factor is a cheap and easy thing to do. I don’t know why, and I don’t know how this impression has slipped its way into the common way of thinking, but it shouldn’t have. Again, ask your production partner experts to explain why the cost of bringing your vision to life is what it is. If they’re on the ball, you should come away from that conversation with a much deeper appreciation of the complexities behind what’s being asked for, and a better understanding of what results you are likely to achieve. If this is your first soiree, consider testing the waters with a proof of concept (POC). A decent POC will give you some first-hand data to work with, before you go all in.
5. Focus on the big picture
In brief, the best advice I can give with regards to how to approach the creation of an XR brief is to keep it simple. Focus only on the big picture and let your chosen production partner work with you to shape the exact requirements. Don’t worry about the tech, don’t worry about the user interface, just don’t worry. Any XR project is, without doubt, going to be exciting, so enjoy the experience and be open-minded as to what the experts have to say. Be open to suggestions and recommendations, and be open and empathetic with regards to complexity, time frame, and of course proposed production cost.
Apache is a tribe of technical visionaries and multi-award-winning creators of extraordinary interactive experiences for major Hollywood studios. Pioneering the genre of movie-based body tracking experiences, with permanent installations within Disneyland Hong Kong & Shanghai, Apache adapt TV and movie IP’s into the VR and AR universe.
If you're a client and have an immersive project that you'd like to make a reality get started here; or if you're a creator with immersive skills join Blend Market here. For all question or for more information please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org