Sol Rogers has a history deeply rooted in mixed reality technology as a long time VR/AR evangelist throughout the years. Starting in academia as a university lecturer for 15 years in Digital Animation, VFX and Emerging Technology at the University of Hertfordshire, he later founded REWIND in 2011. Since then, his award-winning VR/AR content production agency has worked with the latest technology to create some of the most memorable brand product launches and moments around the world. In advance of Sol’s presence at the Vision Summit keynote, we connected with REWIND to get its perspective on the future of advertising and product launches as the agency evolves as fast as the technology.
For those that might not be familiar with your work, what and who is REWIND and what does it seek to accomplish?
REWIND is a leading global AR/VR content production agency. We build story-driven experiences for brands, broadcasters, creative agencies and Hollywood studios. We work on the bleeding-edge of technology leveraging new hardware and software to deliver immersive experiences. If it's uncharted tech territory, we want to explore it, find the solution, and deliver groundbreaking experiences for our clients.
REWIND works with an impressive roster of brands including Jaguar, Paramount, Red Bull, Nike, BBC, and Bjork. How does VR change your relationship to the client when working with these types of brands?
Both AR and VR offer new ways to communicate, inspire and educate. For our clients, it’s a powerful new engagement tool. Whether it is a launch of the new Jaguar I-PACE or the newly announced Red Bull Flight Deck experience, we are working with the most innovative marketers to create immersive experiences.
In the case of the VR launch of the Jaguar I-PACE electric car at the LA Motor Show, automotive journalists walked away talking about how spacious the car was despite never sitting in the physical vehicle. In the case of Flight Deck, we can enhance the live viewing experience of the Red Bull Air Race for fans by overlaying helpful stats, pilot information, and a digital ghost plane.
What do the future of product launches look like to you?
Audiences are increasingly becoming more demanding; they want to be entertained and engaged in new and innovative ways. VR is the perfect tool to create impactful experiences that leave a lasting impression on the user.
Our recent project, with Imagination, to deliver the Jaguar I-PACE concept to the world pushed the boundaries of a product launch further than ever before. 66 Vives connected journalists across two continents with the inclusion of social interaction and a live presenter broadcast into a single VR world. We think, and have demonstrated with Jaguar, that product launches can happen simultaneously in one virtual environment on a global scale, and through VR we can put every participant in the perfect seat, view, or perspective so everyone has the optimum experience.
Were there there any breakthroughs your team had during production that really turned things around?
When Jaguar’s designers "sat" in the car for the first time and started discussing and debating the woodgrain finishes of the glove compartment. This was the moment when we knew we had cracked photorealism. The designers were able to look at their product in a new way through experiencing our VR version; it wasn’t about technology any more.
What has been your favorite Unity experience that REWIND has created to date and why?
We couldn't be more excited to be one of the few Microsoft approved agencies building entertainment experiences on the HoloLens. The HoloLens technology is one of the most exciting inventions since humans discovered fire! We’re thrilled to be shaping the future of mixed reality innovation.
We used Unity for the Red Bull Air Race Flight Deck, an experience which brings an additional level of competitive visibility to the live sport. With the ability to choose either fastest lap of the day or previous laps from your preferred pilot to be overlaid over a miniature race track, it provides a heightened live race experience. Flight Deck also visually illustrates the rules of the sport in an immersive manner. Unity makes these types of revolutionary changes possible by arming us with the tools needed to innovate and make sure these new platforms provide real value to early adopters. We're looking forward to demoing this experience live at the Vision Summit 2017 keynote.
Tune into the Vision Summit keynote to learn more about what Sol and REWIND are up to on May 1 and make sure to learn about the rest of our amazing speaker lineup here.