The founders of Virtual Content Group talk about the VR industry and why they merged their three award-winning businesses.
SK: Soenke Kirchhof. Co-Founder. Berlin. http://invr.space/
TH: Torsten Hoffmann. Co-Founder/CEO. Melbourne. http://3dcontenthub.com/
GCQ: Gallien Chanalet-Quercy. Co-Founder. Paris. http://www.cow-prod.fr/en/
- What is your background and how did you catch the “VR bug”?
GCQ: I come, like the three of us, from a strong 3D background and have always been interested in new ways to tell stories. When the first 360 photography gear was released, we immediately tried to use it for storytelling and built our first rigs.
SK: With my background as a producer/CEO, I always focused on new ways of storytelling and formats. For example, I started one of the first internet TV Stations in Germany back in 2005 – just to be able to distribute art projects that I was interested in. In 2006, I founded Real Life Film International, focusing on stereoscopic 3D, to tell stories in more immersive ways than in flat 2D. Shortly after that in early 2008, I was part in a research consortium on immersive storytelling; we also shot the first 180° degree project with the first prototype of Fraunhofer HHI´s Omnicam. Over time, there were more projects in 360° for Dome Projections – and since 2014, we have produced and collaborated on over two hundred projects in 360°.
TH: Licensing content is a competitive and crowded business. I stumbled into stereoscopic 3D ‘by accident’ and 3D Content Hub became one of the leading distributors in this niche – which quickly disappeared. What 3D promised back then, VR actually delivers now. This became clear to me as soon as I saw the first few 360 clips on GearVR. VR will take a few more technology iterations to really take off – yet the first few headsets and experiences are already quite impressive.
- What is your proudest professional accomplishment to date?
SK: My favorite moment was when Disney decided that they will not shoot in Los Angeles or with the largest German studio, but with us a relatively small and unknown company. We had been involved in the development of the camera system (which was awarded by the International 3D Society shortly afterwards) and Disney was convinced that we understood the creative aspects of working with it as well as the technical details.
GCQ: a) the premiere of my first feature film as executive producer in London, b) accepting the Lumiere Award in LA alongside Jean-Pierre Jeunet for Best 3D Commercial of the Year for the World of Warcraft commercial, and c) the recent Lumiere award for Temptation of St. Anthony VR for Arte Creative.
TH: a) figured out many ways to monetise 3D content and paid out about $3 million in license revenues to independent filmmakers, small production firms and freelancers b) built a network of hundreds of content creators and clients all over the world and finally c) wrote, crowdfunded, directed and produced my first documentary about the controversial technology Bitcoin and won 4 international awards for it.