This week we feature RETiniZE, an immersive media studio based in Belfast headed up by Father and son team Phil and Jack Morrow. They are one of the many talented studios, creatives and developers available to connect with Blend Market. Read more about some of the experiences they have been creating over the last few years.
1. Can you tell me a little about RETiniZE; how did you get started in the immersive space?
Phil and Jack are a father and son team, whose joint passion for immersive media led them to start RETìníZE. After they were sent the first Oculus DK1 Developer Kit by Jack’s brother in San Francisco, they were fascinated and intrigued at the storytelling potential this technology held. Jack began to explore the potential of VR through various R&D projects alongside his brother. After spending some time in R&D, Jack and Phil went on to establish RETìníZE as a division of Wild Rover Productions (his brother went on to lead Adobe’s Aero AR project). A year later, RETìníZE received a grant from Northern Ireland Screen to create a slate of Cinematic VR short films. Through this experience, both Phil and Jack recognized they had a complimentary skill set. They realised that combining Phil’s vast experience in television and creative media production with Jack’s technical knowledge and expertise in immersive made them the perfect team.
Fast forward a few years and RETiniZE are now an award winning content studio specialising in the creation of cutting edge immersive content as well as interactive and geolocation AR applications.
2. What's the most challenging part of the projects you work on?
The most challenging, but most rewarding part of what we do is helping to guide our clients in developing useful immersive experiences that will benefit their organisations beyond what can be achieved through traditional mediums. The biggest challenge is at the concept development phase of a project, when we help clients, who are often uncertain, to paint a picture in their minds of what a final concept delivery that meets their objectives might look like. Our team guides the client in developing the initial idea, carefully tailoring it to ensure it will be a successful immersive project. We focus on ideas where immersive media can provide real added value, when compared with other traditional mediums, with clear benefits to the partners involved, in terms of financials and levels of engagement. There are many immersive experiences out there that are simply just tech demos - created purely for the sake of innovation. We pride ourselves in creating cost-effective, engaging experiences that provide real value for clients and users, tailored carefully to each brand that we work with.
3. Can you tell us about a couple of projects you are most proud of?
We were commissioned by BMW to provide stakeholders with an immersive experience of what happens behind the scenes on the factory floor of the iconic MINI; specifically around the painting process which requires a mix of robotics and human skill. Using Stereoscopic 360 cameras, we were able to get visitors up close with the robots, machines and staff who were working in unison to finish a MINI. This is a unique view of the car manufacturing process that places viewers in places that would normally be out of reach. The result was a successful, engaging 6 minute VR tour of the BMW paint shop which is used onsite at the Oxford factory for visitors. We combined live visuals and motion graphics which allowed for a deeper level of understanding for everyone on the tour.
We also worked with Save The Children who wanted to effectively convey how money donated by the public was used and how it made an impact in the communities it worked with. We filmed two VR documentaries in India and Nigeria where we followed Save the Children staff in communities where they taught health and hygiene to children and new mothers. The VR documentaries were used as part of a fundraising campaign which raised £320,000 for Save the Children, with the Nigeria documentary winning a Cannes Golden Dolphin award for Best Corporate Film
4. What excites you most about the industry at the minute?
One of the things that excites us about the industry currently is that VR headsets are becoming more accessible and affordable. They are also lighter, more user friendly, and content is also improving. These advancements allow our clients to roll out their VR experiences to large numbers of people, as well as empowering our clients to integrate VR technologies seamlessly into their organisations. We also foresee behavioural changes, initially triggered by COVID-19, remaining in the long-term and accelerating the adoption of immersive technologies as a result. The combination of advancements in immersive tech with the recent behavioural changes provides us with an opportunity to create innovative, immersive solutions that reach a far wider audience.
If you would like to chat to one of the team about a potential immersive experience, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you’d like to connect directly with immersive creators and developers from around the world, head to Blend Market and post your project brief.