What we do

Within the walls of our dedicated virtual reality studio, we combine our expertise in experiential advertising with moving image design to unlock the true potential of VR. Whether you are looking for a CG virtual reality experience, a 360 video or even a mix of both, our virtual reality agency wants to bring every detail of your vision to life.

VR is transforming the way we perceive the role of moving image design. As viewers move away from being passive observers, there is increasing pressure to create visual experiences that facilitate interaction and immersion.

As a specialist  VR studio, we see our work as an opportunity to create personal experiences, taking your brand to previously unimagined places. Whether it’s a photorealistic reproduction of Time Square or the very real and rugged shores of Scotland, we can take you there.

Virtual Reality Production

There’s nothing quite like wandering through an interactive landscape from the comfort of your own home. Luckily, our virtual reality production team loves nothing more than developing new interactive ways to help your audience connect with your VR experience. Whether it’s gaze-activated hotspots, controllers that allow you to engage with the 3D virtual environment, or tailor-made VR apps: our extensive VR services offer a new and exciting realm of audience participation and engagement.

Virtual Reality Experiences

The canvas of virtual reality is potentially endless, with new and exciting approaches just waiting to be attempted by curious and passionate explorers. If you’re thinking about dipping your toe into the virtual world, our VR studio is here to help! Our team of expert designers, creatives and producers, will help you craft a virtual reality experience that will stand out from the crowds. In collaboration with you, we’ll sculpt an experience that engages directly with your audience, immersing them into your world and your story – wherever and whatever that may be. From there, we’ll work closely with you to identify the right VR platforms for your experience, before sharing it with the non-virtual world.

Custom VR App Development

To make the viewer journey as fluid and exciting as possible, we will custom build the VR app to suit your experience.

Having a specialist app VR services helps with the distribution of content across the relevant platforms and ensures that all interactions are realised.

We will guide you through the production process end-to-end, helping you choose between the wide range of different devices available on the market. We’ve created specialist apps for iOS, Android, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

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How do you pitch VR?

You know your clients would love VR, and you want to be the ones to pitch it to them. But how do you do it?

Our Pebble guide to selling virtual reality provides you with everything you need to know to confidently pitch VR to clients, internal teams, or whomever else still needs convincing.

We’ve included all the basics, all the latest stats, plus all the top applications of this exciting and immersive new tech. Happy pitching!

FAQ SECTION

Virtual reality is an immersive technology that allows users to perceive and/or engage with three-dimensional computer-generated environments.

‘Virtual reality’ has been a notion in the public consciousness for many years, with the concept first postulated in art and literature in the 1860s.

The history of virtual reality spans many weird and wonderful devices, each designed with the sole intent of providing their user with some type of immersive experience.

While visual immersion is the primary sense involved in VR, devices have attempted to cover most of the senses, with the conceptual goal being full dive VR – which is more comparable to a matrix-type scenario than any application currently in existence.

However, in recent years, VR tech has reached extraordinary new heights, now able to facilitate a true sense of immersion in both gaming and storytelling due to key advances in photo-real 3d modelling, 360 stitching, and amazing combinations of 2d animation and 3d environments.

While still a relatively youthful technology, virtual reality has now started to find its feet as more and more eye-catching, mouth-watering and tear-jerking immersive experiences are created for use across many different industries with a wide range of motivations behind them.

Virtual and augmented reality have many similarities, yet they are distinct technologies with distinct applications.

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality headsets bring virtual models to life in (or overlaid on) real world environments.

What is virtual reality?

In contrast, virtual reality headsets immerse the wearer in entirely 3d modelled virtual environments.

AR vs VR

So, how do AR and VR technologies differ:

While VR technology focuses on taking users to other worlds, locations, states of mind, etc. the principle applications of augmented reality focus on the creation of a layered or mixed reality that sees the interplay of virtual and real-world objects, environments, Pokémon, etc.

Beyond Pokémon Go – the most famous example of augmented reality to date – AR technology has already found amazing applications across many industries, notably in healthcare, manufacturing, and automotive as well as more entertainment-focused applications across gaming, theatre and art.

A key aspect of AR’s success, is its capacity to offer product demos or gaming experiences of all types to users in the comfort of their own home/space. In this regard, the spectrum of possible functions and applications tied to AR is far different to that of VR, which demands a user to (even for a few moments) detach from the real world around them.

In contrast, the key applications of virtual reality software and technology are born out of this detachment from reality. This is the key difference between VR and AR. VR can transport a user to anywhere, any-when, any-who, any-what. That’s the magic of virtual reality and it is this sense of removal that is VR’s greatest selling point, with many therapeutic and entertainment-based applications tapping directly into VR’s ability to remove users from their day-to-day surroundings.

The magic of a virtual experience is that it is, above all else, an experience. It is a new world that, even for a moment, the user gets to explore. This is what sets it apart from other mediums of entertainment, education, demoing or advertising.

The creation of a great VR experience requires more than just an immersive environment. A virtual reality is the product of three core components:

  •  A 360-degree digitally modelled environment: This can be real-world, photo-realistic, 2d or 3d graphics, etc.
  • A user: I.e. you
  • A headset: Every VR headset (from computer-connected goggles to stand-alone headsets and cardboards) functions as the mediator that makes it possible for you (the user) to experience the 360-modeled environment in an immersive way.

A VR experience is more than the sum of these parts. And from a design perspective, the success of a 3d environment rests and falls on the interplay between each of these components.

The architecture of a virtual reality system is arguably the most important aspect, however for the experience to be great, the VR 3d environment must be designed and constructed with the user, and the headset, firmly in mind.

The perspective, involvement level, and intention of the user must be incorporated, as must the type of headset, as most games and experiences are designed and created for in conjunction with a specific headset.

For a more detailed breakdown of what lies behind these worlds, here’s a guide that will show you how to create an immersive experience.

Virtual reality has already been used or implemented in a wide variety of industries to great effect. As VR modeling and VR headset technologies continue to advance, this variety in VR applications will only continue to increase.

Best applications of VR:

Experiential VR

Experiential virtual reality refers to those VR setups that incorporate rooms, haptics, rigs, props, etc. to really add to the experience and shock factor. Experiential VR is a great way to leave a lasting impression on a user, as this type of experience is not easily forgotten.

Here some extra insight on how to take your clients or audience take the VR plunge.

Education VR

VR tech has powerful applications within education, in both creative and practical ways. Rather than simply showing a student a textbook or flat film, VR is a way to immerse students in their lessons, excite them about learning and bring subjects to life in new, engaging ways. If you could take a trip to Ancient Egypt and explore the inside of the human body (a la The Magic School Bus) in the same day, you’d be pretty excited about school tomorrow. This is the future of VR in education, with many applications of this type already in use or development.

Here you can see how we brought the vivid imaginations and drawings of school children to life in VR.

Demo VR

Product demos and tours are one of the most high-performing applications of VR and AR so far and, due to their cost-effective and practical benefits, they are predicted to quickly become the norm for large-scale product demos. Take Ikea’s VR app. This allowed home demos of kitchen spaces and furniture that fit the home of the user. This is next level demoing. Or, rather than flying across the world to demo a product to new markets, a cost-effective VR demo allows for major savings in travel as well as saving energy consumption. VR is the best try before you buy tool ever made, this will be a real growth area for VR.

Here’s more about the value of VR as a product demo tool.

Advertising VR

From native advertising in VR games to virtual reality campaigns that place audiences in a brand experiences, VR has quickly become an advertisers best friend. Offering a new way for brands to engage and connect with audiences, VR advertising experiences are winning the battle for fan engagement on social media, presenting an easy win for brands looking to stand out among the masses of mundane digital content.

Top uses for VR

So many industries have already got in on the virtual action, with many minor and major applications being developed for many number of reasons, purposes and whims.

Here’s a breakdown of the industries involved with VR so far:

  • Entertainment

This spans VR games, VR films, VR sport experiences, VR art applications, VR and AR theatre, immersive museum exhibitions, etc.

  • Healthcare

VR has found many game changing applications in healthcare, becoming a key part of the anxiety and PDST treatment process as well as a great tool for training surgeons without any real-world consequence.

  • Training for dangerous situations

Virtual reality training programs and simulations of dangerous or potentially life-threatening jobs, tasks, etc. are a great way for these high risk workers to perfect their skills before taking on the real thing.

  • Retail

Many retail brands are getting involved with VR to engage their audiences with experiential or demo VR apps.

  • Events

From concerts to sports, VR allows fans to get close up and personal with their favourite stars.

  • Manufacturing

This is another key industry where VR product demos are revolutionising business operations.

  • Tourism

Travel VR apps offering virtual reality tours of destinations and properties are one of the most common types of VR to date.

  • Architecture/Real Estate

Virtual models for planned building projects are a great way to sell in a project to investors, or sell a property to a potential buyer. It’s easy to imagine that the process of buying or renting a property in the not too distant future will simply be virtual tour after virtual tour. This is already an area of VR with huge investment.

  • Charity

VR has found a valuable place in the third sector as an empathy-machine capable of putting audiences in the shoes of those who are suffering.

  • Automotive

Most major automotive designers have already used VR to show off their new cars in the most eye-catching ways possible.

For more depth, take a look at our 2018 complete VR guide for brands, which covers the many uses of VR, as well as insight into the industry at present, and where things are heading.

A virtual reality headset is a head-mounted stereoscopic display (often incorporating distinct screens for each eye) that provides the wearer with an immersive experience through the combination of stereo sound and perspective-tracked visuals (usually gyroscopic) – with higher end virtual reality devices often incorporating additional features such as gaze tracking technology (to navigate and move through environments), structured light systems, and connectable haptic controllers (for immersive gaming).

For all VR devices, the ultimate goal is to achieve a full sense of immersion. This requires all perceptual nuances to be considered in the design of the headsets.

Today, the extent of immersion possible with stand-alone and smartphone-based virtual reality glasses (such as Samsung virtual reality headsets and Google Cardboard type devices) is limited in comparison to more all-feature, computer-connected devices such as Playstation VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Yet considerable advances across all headset types are continuing the level up the sense of immersion that is achieved, from lower budget to high end VR devices.

A quick breakdown of VR headsets

The nature of a project can determine which VR headset it should be created for, with each headset bringing its own cohort of benefits.

HTC Vive

At the higher end of the market is the HTC Vive and the new 3K headset the Vive Pro. With ‘room scale’ tracking tech, it can position the viewer in the action, allowing them to move in 3D space and interact with motion tracked controllers. It’s a gamers paradise!

Oculus

Close on its heels is the latest addition to the tethered headset family – Oculus Rift and the Oculus Touch controllers. Following the 3D tracking of HTC, Oculus’ own controllers offer the user motion tracking, so they can interact with the world of VR from their own home.

PlayStation VR

PlayStation’s VR headset and move controllers are now the most sold VR headset on the market. Giants in the gaming world, PSVR offers users the ability to control their gameplay with motion tracking and a suitably space age looking headset. It’s currently around the mid-range price point.

Samsung Gear VR

In the more mainstream pool, lies Samsung’s Gear VR headset, powered by your phone. Now with a game style handheld controller, it offers limited movability within the experience but is a step closer to the more powerful headsets than a Google Cardboard, which can be used with a phone for mass distribution.

The Google Cardboard

– and other low-cost VR facilitators like it – are compatible with most modern phones with 360 functions, and so are a great option for projects hoping to take A 360 or VR experience to a mass audience. They are easy to distribute on a huge scale and can be quickly branded to power up a project or campaign.

Alongside progress with VR tech come the natural fears, with many questions (such as, is virtual reality safe for eyes? And how long is it okay to be immersed in a VR experience?) still lacking the depth of research necessary to offer a fortified answer. For more on safety concerns surrounding VR, you can read our research published on The Virtual Reality Times here.

How long is a piece of virtual string?    A Pebble producer with great hair

Perhaps frustratingly, without knowing the finer points of what you’re looking to create, any price estimation for a VR experience will be mostly guess work. However, here’s what’s involved in a VR budget, and roughly what you can expect to get for your money.

Generally speaking, virtual reality experiences can cost anywhere from £10,000 to whatever you can imagine, with lower-end experiences usually requiring comprehensive pre-existing assets to maximise the bang for your buck.

Naturally, the more money invested, the better quality and depth the experience will have. However, even when a VR budget is far from enormous, there’s still so much that is possible and so many new boundaries to be pushed. It’s all about knowing where to put the money to get the most out of it.

There are many factors that affect how much a VR experience will cost to make. Upfront, you need to ask yourself:

  • How will the final output be displayed?
  • Where will it live?
  • How will people watch it?

You can showcase 360 video / VR projects in a wide range of ways (from event-based headset experiences, home headset experiences, microsite based, social media based, etc.). Before diving in, the output method needs to be firmly understood, as this will alter where and on what the money should be spent, with everything else falling into place around the distribution intent.

Broadly speaking, a VR budget will incorporate:

  • creative development costs
  • production costs (i.e. design and animation)
  • audio production costs
  • any third party/hard costs
  • and render fees (which can be considerable)

The type of immersive experience will also affect the budget. To determine the specifics, you need to consider the following:

  • Will it require moving camera or static camera?
  • If a CG output, how real does the output need to be?
  • Will it be an ‘interactive’ or ‘on the rails’ experience?
  • Will it require ‘eye-gaze’ technology?
  • Will you need a bespoke app or landing page in order to deliver the experience? Or, will it live on social media?

A VR budget will also factor in any original or additional assets that need to be created. For example:

  • Do you need CGI assets built from scratch or can the VR experience be comprised of bought digital files?
  • Do you require an accompanying explainer videos or visual assets to help your audience understand/enjoy the experience?
  • Do you require additional imagery or artwork for app stores?

If you’re currently on the fence about whether or not your brand could benefit from a VR experience or VR campaign, take a look at our comprehensive VR guide for brands in 2018.

Here, we run through the benefits and realties of working with VR, with stats facts and figures that will give you the complete lay of the virtual land and get your imagination whirring.

If you have any more questions, get in touch and we’ll be happy to talk you through what’s possible!

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Location of Pebble Studios
Pebble Studios, 19A Phipp St, London EC2A 4NP