- Wednesday, May. 3, 2017
- LOS ANGELES
Spectacle VR has signed director Damien D’Amico for branded content and virtual/augmented/mixed reality fare. He just wrapped his first project for Spectacle, taking Thrillist viewers on an interactive 360 tour around the central coast of Monterey and Santa Cruz, California, courtesy of a specially equipped 2017 Toyota 86 sports car. Locations include Monterey Bay Aquarium, Bernardus Lodge/Lucia Restaurant, The Crow’s Nest, and the Mystery spot. “The cool thing about this project is its interactivity,” said D’Amico. “The ability to take yourself on different paths of adventure, at any time.”
To pull off the 360 tour, a Nokia Ozo camera with special rigs was attached to the Toyota 86, allowing the car to be the hero and center of the universe for the film. An array of GoPros and other digital SLRs were also used to capture footage. Hot spot technology was chosen to allow interactive viewing in 360 on non-headset platforms. The biggest challenge? “We did some massive stabilization work both in-camera and through postproduction to give the viewers the smoothest ride,” said D’Amico. “Any way the viewer turns there’s something to experience.”
Spectacle EP Ross Grogan said of his company’s latest signing, “Damien is just one of those talented directors who knows how to effectively utilize new technology to extend storytelling capabilities without boundaries to create innovative content. I was impressed at what he accomplished as a freelance director of VR and 360 videos and want his work to be seen by a wider audience.”
For his part, D’Amico follows a simple guideline for all his branding projects. “Give it a purpose,” he said. A former CalArts student, D’Amico first worked on the postproduction side. “Working as an editor I was handed a hard drive and tasked with creating storylines. I also worked on videos using computer graphics and stop motion while learning all about camera techniques and other technology that helped my transition into a director. And I look forward to broadening my scope as a director at Spectacle.”
Prior to joining Spectacle, D’Amico honed his VR chops with a variety of projects, working freelance via his Vaylian studio sometimes in concert with BCII. For Ford VR, D’Amico captured a stock 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor in the Baja 1000 race. Ford truck spokesman Dennis Leary narrates a cinematic 360 degree adventure in the desert, requiring D’Amico to create a variety of photographic and digital innovations to capture 50 nonstop hours of racing through the endless terrain. D’Amico also worked with BF Goodrich on its first foray into virtual reality, creating two stereoscopic VR experiences demonstrating the reliability and strength of their tires. The experiential film puts viewers in the driver’s seat on their test course, while the second film has viewers riding shotgun with a race legend through Baja Mexico. For OPTIMA Batteries, D’Amico created a hit at the 2016 SEMA automotive show in the form of six action-packed VR ride-alongs.