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.
Galago Vision is a San Diego based 360° video production company that uses Virtual Reality or VR video tours and experiences to get clients’ messages across with the highest possible retention rate available today. Adding a whole new dimension to the viewing experience, their immersive packages are flexible enough for any project.
In addition, Galago Vision will be introducing a patented 360° VR production light in 2018. To learn more or pre-order the Ambit 360° VR light, visit http://galagovision.com/ambit-360-vr-virtual-reality-video-production-light/
Scott Pivots from Being a Mechanical Engineer to Founding a 360 Videography Company
Question: How did you first become interested in creating VR?
Answer: I spent ten years as a mechanical engineer, and was tired of that and wanted to do something new. I’ve always liked video and video editing, but I don’t come from a video background. I saw 360 videos, and purchased one of the early Kickstarter-backed cameras, the Giroptic 360 cam way back in the day. It took 1 1/2 to 2 years before it finally came out though. That was November 2014.
The next best option was the GoPro. With my mechnical engineering background, everything was make-it-yourself for VR then. I 3D printed my own rig for putting the GoPros together.
Galago Vision Heavily Utilizes the Insa360 Pro, While Still Employing Kolor Software and Mistika VR for Select Clients
Question: Is there one camera in particular that you tend to use now more than others?
Answer: The Insta360 Pro is definitely the way to go, the best bang for your buck. It’s the best stereoscopic output I’ve seen, straight out of their stitcher, as well. For $3500, it’s definitely a good platform and simple to use. It’s taken away a lot of the workflow hassle too, with their stitcher.
It’s not perfect — for professional productions, we’ll still be using Kolor software or Mistika for fine stitching and adjusting. For quick stitching and almost live preview, in the field on a project, the Insta360 Pro wins over almost all others, and has a decent quality output.
I’ve done some samples with the Samsung 360 Round, which they just recently released. I was part of their prototype beta testing. The HDR was good, the dynamic range was good, but the workflow needs improvement. But for $10K, you’re sure not getting much more. And you’re only outputting 4K and not options like 6K stereo / 8K mono.
Those are the factors I’ve taken into consideration for what I’m using today.
Galago Vision Tests Out Focusing on a Few Verticals, Identifying VR for Trade Show Exhibits as a Great Fit
Question: Can you talk a bit more about launching Galago Vision? What industries did you focus on at first?
Answer: The start was real estate. I expected every real estate agent to want a 360 walk through video, not just still images, of the houses they wanted to sell. It didn’t take too long to tell real estate agents don’t have the budget for a video of that caliber. Especially with the time it takes, particularly at that point in time, to stitch and do post-production. So that quickly went by the wayside.
Next was commercial videos for small businesses. They were starting to get interested in VR to promote their business in a new way. This was mainly YouTube commercials and things like that in VR that we started doing. That became enough to sustain the business.
More recently it’s trade shows and bigger clients and bigger trade shows. In the same realm as the commercial industry, really, but specifically tailored for VR experiences at a trade show.
Galago Vision Creates Exciting VR Experiences for Clients, Simulating Skydiving and Riding Bikes Along San Diego Coastline
Question: Can you give some examples of the VR projects that you’re working on for clients?
Answer: One good example of that would be the Tunnel Vision, a company we did multiple skydive videos for. They then took that content, and created not a trade show event, but an indoor skydiving VR experience with custom helmets, to make it look like you’re actually skydiving.
Another would be EliptiGO Bikes and Interbike 2017 (editor’s note: a bicycling expo & conference). We created an experience on the beach for their model of bikes. At the show, they would put on the Gear VR headset, turn on a fan, put someone on a stationary bike — and then you’d feel like you’re on the San Diego coastline, going up and down the beach.
Those kinds of experiences seem to be more popular now.
Galago Vision Acts as the Production Company, Helps Tailor Content to the VR Headset End Users Will Be Wearing
Question: Can you talk a bit about your business model? Do you do only production, or do you also provide hardware?
Answer: We act as a production company only, not a reseller of hardware. We can add devices if they want us to be full service, but for the most part they just take my recommendations on what the end user experience should be like.
So I’ll take a Google Cardboard — branded and non-branded — as an option. In the presentation, the Gear VR is better and now I have my eyes on some self-contained units that are in the $150 – $200 range. Which is pretty comparable to the Gear VR if you already own a phone.
I just provide all the options and let the client choose. Then we create the content based on what the final output is going to be. Is this for a trade show using Gear VR using 3D 360, or is this just a mobile app, so we’re just going to do 8K monoscopic? That’s the decision the client makes, but we give them all the options.
Pricing wise, it’s per project. We’ve got projects on the books in the triple digits and some for as low as $1,000 to get it done. So it’s a huge range, depending on what the project is and what the client is looking to achieve.
We’ve worked with Toyota, Dell, Callaway Golf Clubs, LA Police Department, and some non-profits. It really depends.
VR Headsets Still Biggest Obstacle to VR Adoption
Question: What’s the issue you think most affecting the VR industry?
Answer: What’s the best quality we can get out for the client with today’s available hardware? That’s the biggest challenge in 360 — that’s always been, actually. People hear you’ve been shooting in 8K, but what they don’t understand is you’re zooming in basically to a 1080p image when you’re viewing it in a headset with today’s technology.
InstaVR Allows Galago Vision to Upsell Custom Branded Apps to Clients Across Multiple Platforms
Question: Why did you initially start using our InstaVR service?
Answer: We’re using InstaVR to offer to clients an app at a cost-effective price point. Traditionally, a custom application for a single platform would cost $5K or more. With InstaVR, we can offer the app as an add-on to an existing project at a very affordable price, in which case they almost always opt for that.
The other big benefit why I tell clients to go with the application is to put out the content on multiple platforms. Apple, being behind the times with VR, the only way to give a good experience is through the YouTube app or your own app on an Apple Device. That’s another big selling point for using InstaVR in my productions.
Galago Vision Uses InstaVR to Enable Interactivity for App Users; App Creation Time Has Been Reduced
Question: How has your app creation gone with InstaVR? What features do you use?
Answer: It’s actually pretty quick. There was a little bit of a learning curve at first, but it’s pretty intuitive. Once you’ve got that figured out, you can create an app in no time.
It’s easy enough now that I can do sample apps to better the medium, push the limits. I have enough confidence in the platform that I can push the limits the best we can, now that I know the ins and outs of the software. We can offer new and exciting experiences to our clients, mostly through interactivity.
I like that we can do some tricks in the platform to freeze a frame as a selection option, and make a Choose Your Own Adventure type of storyboard. That type of approach is key for some clients, and the platform allows for that. So we can create our storyboard around the platform almost, because we now have that option to go from Scene A to Scene B, C, or D.
It’s been helpful to have InstaVR in my back pocket, to offer apps to most all clients, because they can now afford them as well. It’s no longer reserved for Nike, Toyota, etc.
Galago Vision Uses Heatmaps to Give Clients Insightful Data on the Project, and Keep the Client Relationship Going
Question: I know you’ve started to use our new Heatmaps 2.0 feature set. Can you talk about why and how you’re using heatmaps?
Answer: Heatmaps are another of those things we like to offer to the client. “Look what else we can do, we can get some insightful data for you.” It tells us is the app being used, where are they looking, are they looking at one particular video clip but not the other scenes? It’s not something we’re charging for now, but there is an opportunity in the future.
I’m glad to hear our clients want the data, that it gives them some analytics to the project they just paid money for. It’s something we can provide them in return, rather than just a static “here’s your app, have a nice day.” It’s more of a follow-up, and helps keep the relationship open with that client, and starts conversations on their next project.
Thank you to Scott Robinson and the team at Galago Vision for this interview! And don’t forget to check out their Ambit 360-degree Video Production light: http://galagovision.com/ambit-360-vr-virtual-reality-video-production-light/