Posts by Simon Brooksbank

Creating a one-of-a-kind Immersive Experience

Simon Brooksbank / 3 months ago

We recently partnered with M Booth to create the content for an interactive experience for The Macallan. The final project included a 20ftx20ft projected cube, 4D multi-sensory VR experience in New York’s Grand Central Station, enabling visitors to this experience feel closer to the brand by virtually visiting its new £120m distillery and spiritual home in Speyside, Scotland. Every ambitious creative is always looking for new and dynamic ways to tell stories and for creatives who want to push the envelope and create one-of-a-kind interactive experiences, its a constant learning process. I’ve been producing video content in one form or another for 25 years now and I wanted to share some experiences, learnings and anecdotes from producing what was a big production for a major brand using a new medium. Always exciting...

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IVRPA Tokyo 2018 | Blend Media

Simon Brooksbank / 6 months ago

Tokyo is right up there as one of my favourite cities in the world. I’ve been lucky enough to have visited twice already and so when it was announced that the 2018 IVRPA conference was going to be held there, I was already packing! The IVRPA is the International Virtual Reality Professionals Association and its members are a mix of professional photographers, videographers, programmers, wed developers, designers, software developers, hardware manufacturers, artists and enthusiasts who all work to produce and grow the medium of 360 in all its various forms. The IVRPA itself strives to promote the success of these VR professionals and develop and support the growth of the medium as a whole through education, network events, hardware manufacturer alliances and technical support for its members. Needless to say anyone who’s anyone in VR is a member and we were all there in Tokyo! Blend Media along with Facebook were proud to partner with the event, which saw 4 days of talks, workshops, panels, demonstrations and other events presented by leaders of the VR industry who shared their knowledge and experiences. Over the four days there were some 30 presentations with a terrific list of speakers from all across our industry – from individual experts such as Blend creator and influencer Al Caudullo, NativeVR Founder Nathalie Mathe, and AirPano’s Sergey Semenov (below) to media-defining organisations including Facebook, Adobe, Kolor, Insta, Kandao and Google.


GDPR: What are the implications for Blend Media?

Simon Brooksbank / 8 months ago

What is GDPR? The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new EU Regulation intended to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU). Its comes into force on May 28th of this year. The main objective of the GDPR is to allow individuals (otherwise known as “data subjects”) to have more control over their personal data, as well as a deeper understanding of how that personal data is used. The GDPR only applies to “personal data”, which effectively means any information that can be used, directly or indirectly, to identify a living individual. The definition is however broad and includes the term “any information” which can be used to identify somebody - which could also mean video footage containing imagery of clearly identifiable individuals. This is nothing new however. Such video footage would also fall within the definition of “personal data” under the existing legislative framework (the Data Protection Directive and the Data Protection Act 1998).   What does it mean for us? Collectively we need to be able to demonstrate that we have implemented as many measures, guidelines and exercised as much diligence as possible to show, interpret, and comply with the new GDPR requirements. Released Commercial Content: Model Released (Commercial) Content: Currently covers all media, worldwide, in perpetuity. Technically this should cover us for all licenses of these clips although we will be adding checkboxes within the release that allows the individual model to opt out of clips with them appearing to be used within potential contentious or subjective advertorial segments like alcoholic beverages, tobacco, electronic cigarettes, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, religious and political promotions. Unreleased Editorial Content: Currently around 80% of our library is Editorial and it’s this content that GDPR potentially creates the most issues for. We will be actively ensuring GDPR compliance as best a possible and this will be achieved through: Customer Terms & Conditions (for licensing content) when licensed will be absolutely clear that any unreleased clips can only be used in an editorial context (the context of which should be outlined). The T&C’s will also make reference to the GDPR to give further context to the importance of adhering to the Editorial use only restrictions when using these clips. Customer Terms & Conditions will also have a revised and stricter clause stating that the use of any clips in any derogatory, defaming, libellous, pornographic way etc is strictly prohibited. Creator Terms & Conditions will be revised to state that Blend requires that all best practices have been adhered to when filming the content to ensure all necessary filming permits and releases have been received. For each Editorial clip visible on the FRONT END of the Blend platform, we will have a note stating that the clip is Editorial and that its use is restricted and list the restrictions as per the Customer Terms & Conditions. If Creators are filming at events where the general public is present (eg. a Concert, Conference etc) the Creator should post a Notice of Filming sign at the entrance to and inside the venue informing the public that they are filming, what they are filming and who they are filming on behalf of and that if they enter the premises, by doing so they give their consent for their likeness to potentially appear in the finished, produced product. You can of course only do this if you have permission from the owners of the location or event organisers. But it’s standard practice anyway and something that should be taken seriously when filming at public events.

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SXSW Meetup and Workshop, 2018 | Blend Media

Simon Brooksbank / 9 months ago

Howdy…Team Blend spent last week at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Thousands of people flocked to the annual festival of film, interactive media, music festivals and conferences to soak up the famed Southern Hospitality and immerse themselves in all things media. As well as having a stand shared with our partners Facebook 360 in the main expo, we also co-hosted another creator workshop and meetup. Not everyone gets the chance to go to SXSW and we were delighted to see so many 360 creators from all over the world sign up and come along. We had creators from Australia, Argentina, South Korea, China, Russia, Poland, Germany, Belgium, Canada and from all over the US. All creators within Blend Media's network receive invitations to these free and exclusive events. This event was the latest in a global series of events that we've held so far in London, Liverpool, Amsterdam, Vienna, Sydney, Melbourne, LA and New York. We hold these events to educate, train, inspire and share best practices with our growing network of professional 360 creators and filmmakers. If you’d like to join our creator network you can apply here.

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Top tips for creating compelling 360° videos

Simon Brooksbank / 9 months ago

360° video has quickly emerged as a unique medium that is able to offer deeper experiences for audiences compared to standard video or still imagery. It gives the viewer greater control to look around and discover more. Research conducted by Google showed that 360° video delivers significantly higher performance than linear video: 41% more interactions, 5X higher click-through rate, higher repeat views, 46% higher full-length views and a higher share rate. As a result of this more immersive experience, some of the most popular 360° videos are generating millions of views online. This 360° video of the Aurora Borealis created by William Briscoe has been viewed by 124,430,856 people – more than the global audience of Downton Abbey, the Rugby World Cup Final and the Superbowl). However, simply shooting a video in 360° does not necessarily mean that it will attract eyeballs and engagement. Producing a captivating experience that the viewer wants to engage with requires vision, skill and an impeccable eye for detail. To help get you started, we have provided some tips and best practices that will help bring your creative vision to life. Shoot with a camera that meets your needs The 360° video market is rapidly evolving and as a result there’s a number of cameras to choose from that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It goes without saying that if you are looking to shoot a professional video then a budget camera you can plug into your smartphone won’t give you the high-quality you require. To help, we work closely with creators of 360° video and we even loan them professional level cameras for some of their projects. For adrenaline pumping activities such as skiing or skydiving, we’d typically recommend the GoPro Fusion camera. For stationary shots, cameras like the Z Cam S1,  S1 Pro and the Insta360 Pro are great options because they provide a full image circle, individual lens files and you can alter the shot remotely from a laptop, iPad or Smartphone. Location, location, location Once you’ve chosen your camera, the next step is to find the perfect location to film. Spend time thinking about the type of content you want to capture and what will make it special and unique. Don’t feel bad about exploring other photographers’ and filmmakers’ content for inspiration, make a note of which genres are the most popular and what hasn’t been shot in 360° yet. If you are going to film a famous landmark or venue try and visit the location at different times of the day to establish the best place for you to set up, quality of light and the optimum time to film. Noise and the number of visitors peak at certain times of the day, so if you don’t want a shot filled with tourists then it is usually best to film earlier in the morning in the evening.


How to Shoot 360˚ Videos for Commercial Licensing: Increase your Profits [360˚ Video Top Tips: Episode #005]

Simon Brooksbank / 10 months ago

The purpose of this series is to provide useful 360˚ video top tips to teach you how to shoot in this immersive, user-controlled format to the best of your ability. 360˚ video and user-controlled content creators can apply these tips and tricks to any future productions. In Episode five of the '360˚ Video Top Tips' series I shall explain how to shoot 360˚videos for commercial licensing vs. filming editorial content. I will also clarify the benefits of shooting 360˚ video commercial content, which I strongly encourage you take into account when you're next out and about in the field, armed with your 360˚ camera of choice. Find out about the difference between editorial and commercial content below. How to Shoot 360˚ Videos for Commercial Licensing It is important to know how to shoot 360˚ videos for commercial licensing because this is the kind of content that can be licensed for advertising or promotional purposes. Shooting commercial content is full of caveats however the benefits of shooting 360˚ video commercial content are certainly worth the effort as these clips normally command a higher licensing fee compared to editorial clips. To ensure you're 360˚ video is commercial, you must: 1. Ensure people visible in shot have signed a model release. A model release form is a legal release which is to be signed by those visibly in shot, as to grant the owner of the content permission to publish the content commercially. If you are a Blend Media creator you can request a model release form by contacting me at Of course, if there are no people in shot then no model release is required. See Blend Media creator, Al Caudullo's 360˚ video below which could be licensed out commercially.

License Videos Commercially
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