InstaVR Interviews is a blog series where we turn the spotlight on our customers. We find out why they create VR, how they use InstaVR, and what the future of VR will look like. To read more interviews, visit the InstaVR Interviews homepage.
Soo Chung, Lead Graphic Designer & Vince Luk, Director of Marketing Strategy, Premise LED
Premise LED is a manufacturer of LED lighting luminaires for commercial, industrial & residential applications supplying Canada & the USA. Formerly known as CORE Products Canada Ltd, the company was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Toronto. Soo Chung is Lead Graphic Designer at Premise LED. A BFA graduate of University of Toronto, Soo is responsible for graphic design and media-based projects at Premise LED. She was joined in this interview by Vince Luk, Director of Marketing Strategy.
First use case was their company sales meeting; Agents wowed by seeing immersive VR before & afters with lighting from Premise LED installed Question: How did you first become interested in creating VR? Answer: Soo – VR has been growing this year. It was something new for marketing people and I was becoming interested in using it. So I was looking into other industries, such as real estate or fashion shows, where it’s not just about selling, but they’re also showing their environments (in VR). They want to let people experience what they’re doing. I thought since our industry is older, and they’re not always as interested in new content, it might be fun for them. Vince – Bottom line is that it’s visual. And you can’t really explain how bright something is. So we’re mainly using it for before & afters, in the environment. We were able to show the sales team — in chairs with Cardboards on their heads — and they were saying “Wow!”. We’d put them in a repair bay in a car dealership. Before and after, they could totally see the difference. That speaks for itself with our product.
The sales team experiences the first VR app created at the company on Google Cardboards.
The Premise LED team takes their 360 Fly into an actual business to capture footage; Learns some tips on camera movements for future apps Question: Can you discuss your filming of this first proof of concept app? Answer: Soo – We went up to take the before and after videos using a 360 camera. Vince – We used the 360 Fly. The one drawback on that camera is obviously the bottom part. (InstaVR note: 360 Fly is a well-regarded 4K camera, but doesn’t fully capture in 360-degrees, leaving the very bottom of images black). We figured out a way to put our logo there that would take you back Home. That’s worked so far. We didn’t really storyboard. We just knew we wanted to do a before and after. We knew our product, and where we wanted to shoot it, and what effect we wanted to show. But it’s hard because you try to do it while people are in the business, so you try to be as least obtrusive as you can be. We learned a lot this time. Now we know how we want to walk through and show people. I think we learned a lot on how to do the footage next time, rather than just putting the camera in one spot. We know how InstaVR works now, and how to tell the story, and go step by step. You might need more than one shot of a certain area. You might need a few if you want people to progress through different steps.
Vince and Soo pass out Google Cardboards, with the VR app already downloaded on the phones; Their Sales Director also casted Web VR from a Microsoft Surface to a TV screen Question: How did you distribute the app to the sales team at this meeting? Answer: Vince – This was a private meeting with our direct agents from across the country. They work with us and without them we can’t do anything, so it was relatively easy to control distribution. We did a Web view with our Sales Director using a Microsoft Surface casting to a 60-inch screen. At the same time we passed around 4 Google Cardboard headsets. We used our phones with the app already downloaded, just to be safe and make sure it worked. We put our phones in the Cardboards and passed those around. There was a mix of people looking at that one-by-one, while others looked at the screen, following along that way. But because of the buzz, people were commenting using the Cardboard, so some people stopped listening to the presentation on the screen, waiting for their turn to use the Cardboard headsets. While sales team members waiting for Cardboards, they used WebVR to cast images to a flat screen TV.
Sales team members are already planning to coordinate with the marketing team to create more VR apps, with more locations filmed to show before & after scenarios to clients Question: What’s next in terms of VR projects? Answer: Vince – Right away, they recognized they could use that and put the Cardboard on their customers’ heads, they could show them the right environment they’re inquiring about to find the right light source for it. We are definitely going to roll it out as a sales tool to use while meeting with clients. We’re also looking to use the Web view on our web site. So you can go to a product page, and if you have footage, look at it that way via Web view. We’ll also repeat the process of capturing the lighting in different scenarios — warehouse, outdoor parking lot, a residential apartment. The agents are thinking they’ll contact us for their next job to coordinate the footage. Now they can see the value we bring them. We’ve been bothering them the whole time to involve us, to do the pictures or send us pictures. Now they see the value, and will involve us in the process.
Soo & Vince utilize a 360 image as a home screen, with multiple navigation links to allow users to choose the location they wanted to go to first; Soo augmented scenes with hotspots partially created using Photoshop and Premiere Pro Question: Can you talk a bit about your post-capture process of editing footage and using InstaVR? Answer: Soo – First of all, I tried uploading all the footage that Vince and I took. But I wanted to add a title for each scene. I wanted it to appear for maybe three seconds, so those I created using Premiere Pro. We really like the interaction in InstaVR, such as icons (hotspots) that show other videos or pop-up text. Some of our footage had a harsh background for text, so I used Photoshop to create a white background template and uploaded it to InstaVR. Because we have a before & after scene, we created before and after icons. I put the company logo on the bottom as a “go to first scene” link. From the first scene, you could choose which location you wanted to go to next. Vince – Let’s say one car dealership has four zones. The home page would be outside the dealership, and then there would be four icons so you could go to each zone right away. From each of them, you could also progress to the next one.
Total authoring time only took a few days; With greater knowledge on 360 filming and InstaVR, app creation will accelerate even faster going forward Question: Overall, how long would you say the whole process took you? Answer: Soo – We’re only two people and we were learning the program. But it was still really a short period of time. I can imagine without InstaVR it would take one month to manage. InstaVR is really incredible. The uploading part was a little tough. We were in an area where the internet wasn’t great. But once we uploaded all the images and video, it was very quick. After upload, it took less than a week. Vince – The real work was Soo having to do it twice. Because Soo set it up to show how it works, and then we got feedback. We worked on the storyline after that. For the real app, it was only a couple days. The proof of concept maybe took a week. That was mainly because of uploading. After that it was only maybe three days, and it will only get faster. We know how InstaVR works, so when we go take footage, we’re going to know how we’re going to use it. So we’re going to take better footage, but since we’ll take it with InstaVR in mind, we’ll be able to build it faster as well. It helps both ways — filming and creating. Soo – Everything was great. Your customer service was amazing with everything. Special thank you to Soo and Vince from Premise LED for sharing how they’re using InstaVR to better equip their agents with immersive VR at client meetings!