The future of filmmaking is coming to NUFF! We interviewed Cristian Dominguez, the VR guru from spain, who is also a workshop leader for the group VR/360.
About the workshop:
They are going to learn how to shoot 360 videos. Myself as a mentor will not be involved in the creative development of the video, so I am just going to be giving them tips on how to technically make it happen. I will teach them how to script on VR, some shooting techniques for different results and how to use VR to help them create this empathy or whatever they want to create.
Tell us a bit about your working history.
I mainly shoot commercials. It is not the best job in the world, but it is the one that is giving us money for development on our techniques and developing our own cameras.
About commercials, what the clients want is always to have the product very close to the camera, make it bright, make it pop up. They are not letting us do the whole storytelling-development, they are not letting us do the actual scripting on what is going on. For example, I shot this electronic music festival in Brazil called Tomorrowland, where there were many great story-telling potentials. People met from all over the world - it was a very international festival. There was a lot of possibilities, a lot of potential to develop a good storytelling video on that. But they only wanted someone dancing there, fist bumps with the DJ’s, selfies, beer and so on… I will say that on my side, on my career, on our company, we did not have the chance to explore the different storytelling options.
That is why I am now going to festivals, meeting creative people and giving them the tools so they can start doing it because the professional companies have to focus on making a little bit more money to be able to develop the techniques for years.
Still, we have done some jobs that included some storytelling. For example, the Fukushima documentary story in Japan, it is called Contaminated lives, it has a voice over, someone that gets you thru the video and it has some interviews with people that were affected by the nuclear disaster and the tsunami. It has an emotional drive in its story. And even though it was a commercial for Green Peace, it is still something that allows the storyteller to develop an idea from the start and to use something with conclusions and a real cinematic experience.
How did you discover the world of VR/360?
I was working with this company BBVA in Spain, and they had an innovative lab that I was the director of. So they just wanted to be the number one company of new technologies. We were playing with 3D-printing, interfacial intelligence and loads of other stuff. Then, 4 years ago I saw these camera rigs were about to come out, they were still in prototype and I thought “I can totally do this, myself!”, because I had all the tools for it. So I buildt the camera rigs with GoPros. The first video I shot was a commercial. It was a huge success! After doing that I buildt another camera rig, and I shot another commercial, and I earned more money on those two shootings than I was going to earn all year on working for BBVA. So I quit my job, took my cameras and flew to San Francisco and LA for three months. I stayed there developing my cameras, and expecting to find a VR company in the US. When I landed in Hollywood I was interviewed by people like Michael Bay, very high people in the directing world. Because they were really interested in this. I did some work for some movies, and I will say, that was not the moment for VR to come out. So I spent all my money and I was back to Spain, and I started shooting more VR videos for companies, I started earning more money, getting more jobs and I finally ended up finding some co-founders in Spain and we founded a company together. We have been working together for two years now. It came out as a success earlier in Spain than it did in USA, I do not know why, probably because it is a smaller country, and it was easier to sell the products. I am still expecting to go back to the states, and start a successful development of a company there. But it is more difficult now, with all the VISA things, and with Donald Trump. We can all go and make a big staff over there!
What do you think about Norway in the film and VR world?
I have been to Norway a couple times before, in Oslo, and in Tromsø. I was in Tromsø earlier this year presenting the Fukushima documentary at TIFF. I believe that Norway has a lot of possibilities for VR, because people here are not concerned about the same things as they are concerned about in the rest of the world. Like competitors, that is actually a good thing here, because there are less people here, so having more competitors to make the market grow faster and better. I think that there is a huge potential for a bigger VR market here in Norway.
Your thoughts about NUFF and TVIBIT?
First of all, I find it amazing that you guys in the city have an actual place like Tvibit for development. Also having the government involved in developing young people in the artistic world is amazing, and it is the right thing to do, and it is not happening anywhere else. I can tell you, I have been in 20 countries just this last year, it does not happen anywhere else! I also like the structure you have here in Tvibit. It is nonacademic, so everyone who is here is like an interpreter, someone who has the faith of developing their own products. Having the community help them get to that goal. This is the perfect place for their own self development. I wish I had the opportunity of having all this when I was launching my own products.
Dear VR/360 participants;
Be prepared to work very hard, to learn a lot of new things and to not get enough sleep. I can say if that you think you can bring something cool to the table, but it looks too difficult to do it, or you do not know how to do it – I’m an expert on shooting 360 videos, so there is nothing we can’t do.
Author: Aminda Sæverud