If you still have doubts that virtual reality is the esoteric, dizzying stuff of nerds, Félix
One of their earliest projects, "Strangers With Patrick Watson," is still consistently hailed as one of the finest examples of the medium, giving users an astounding sense of presence during an intimate performance inside the musician's home studio.
Since then, they've expanded into new turf. They created the intro experience for Samsung's Gear VR, brought viewers face to face with an apatosaurus for Universal Studios' "Jurassic World" and captured a President of the United States (Bill Clinton) in VR for the first time, for the Clinton Global Initiative. While helping to carve out storytelling methods in the space, the duo is also developing the proprietary technology to support it. But it's all for the sake of the craft: "We're not planning on releasing the technology," Mr. LaJeunesse told Creativity earlier this year. "We iterate and refine according to our needs as creatives. Every shoot we make we iterate to get closest to the ultimate result we want."
Big companies are banking on their talent too. In July, they signed a deal with Oculus Rift to produce a series of VR experiences in time for the company's consumer launch in early 2016.
Mr. LaJeunesse shared some of his thoughts on creativity below.
Advertising Age: VR tech and storytelling seem to have advanced exponentially even in the last year. What do you know about VR storytelling today that you didn't at the beginning of 2015? Would you say now that you've determined new conventions or methods that are particularly effective for VR given where the technology is today?
AA: What's your proudest accomplishment in VR from the past year—and why? What did you learn from it?
Mr. Lajeunesse: I have a special attachment to "Nomads : Maasai." That cinematic VR piece immerses the viewer into the daily reality of a Maasai family living in Amboseli, Kenya. There is a level of genuineness and intimacy, as well as a "non-manipulative" quality to the emotional experience - that I am really proud of and excited to share.
AA: What are you looking forward to or enjoying most about the Oculus partnership? Can you give us a tease of what we can expect from you with this in 2016?
Mr. Lajeunesse: The partnership is an extraordinary opportunity to explore new creative territories for cinematic VR storytelling. Our primary focus for 2016 will be on the creation of original narrative content tailor-made for cinematic VR.
AA: What's your definition of Creativity?
Mr. Lajeunesse: Creativity is multifaceted. It involves inspiration, doubt, commitment, laughter, madness, temerity, hard work, fear, ambition, thinking, collaboration, spirituality, failure and so on. It's a way of life.
AA: What are you most inspired by?
Mr. Lajeunesse: For me the act of conversation is the main driver for inspiration. The conversations I have with Paul and our trusted creative collaborators and friends, lead to the formulation of most of our ideas. I'm also a huge fan of Ozu. He's a strong inspiration and I believe he would have loved cinematic virtual reality.
AA: What was your favorite VR experience of the past year that you didn't make yourself?
Mr. Lajeunesse: Although Paul and [my] focus is on the creation of live-action and photorealistic cinematic VR experiences, we are highly interested in the storytelling, creative and experiential possibilities of real-time animation in VR. The amazing work of Saschka Unseld and his team at the Oculus Story Studio ("Lost," "Henry") is always a source of high interest to us.