It’s not just people who’ve had to learn to work remotely during recent events. Brands and companies have had one or two distance-related challenges to come to terms with too. With stores and showrooms shut, reps prevented from going on the road to meet clients and conferences a memory (for now) – some imaginative adaptations have been needed.
Zoom, Google Meet, Teams, and all the rest have filled much of the gap, but there’s still a need for a more sophisticated approach than the one-size-fits-all solutions they offer. Something affordable, but with a little more presence, versatility, refinement, and professionalism.
A little Hollywood magic
Increasingly the answer has been virtual studios, areas set up expressly for the task in a client’s own premises – or those of rental staging companies. And most of them borrow a little magic trick usually found in some of Hollywood’s most memorable special effects scenes – Green Screen. This allows any footage or still image to be used as a backdrop. In the right hands, everything looks perfectly seamless. In fact, these days it’s hard to tell when you’re watching it at all, so advanced is the technique.
The result is that companies and brands can both free their products and presenters from the studio and generate a highly professional presentation with relative ease. Want to give a Ted-type talk with massive background graphics? No problem at all. Need to show a walkthrough of a plant thousands of miles way – just as easy, or perhaps you’d like your product to appear in Times Square’s holiday crowds. All you need is stock footage of Times Square during the holidays
Importantly, this doesn’t require a vastly expensive setup – an unused warehouse corner or meeting room will work just fine – but it looks immeasurably more professional than anything achieved by software alone.
All controlled from an iPad
Mike Steinbrecher and the team at Christie in Germany, has created a virtual studio using Pandoras Box with Widget Designer software and Christie Spyder image processing – all controlled from an iPad. Many rental staging companies who have the expertise – and the kit on their racking – do much the same, finding the additional revenue it generates useful in these unusual times.
Indeed, we may yet find, as with homeworking, that the COVID-19 pandemic has simply accelerated an underlying trend. That more sophisticated versions appear, using LED displays rather than green screens, and have even higher-level video handling capabilities. Such technology is already in advanced use in movie production, and the power and convenience of allowing presenters to appear in any location without leaving the office are persuasive.
As we travel less in the future, and with organizations keeping a keen eye on their carbon footprints, there will be an increasing interest in virtual solutions at any level. But brands will, as brands always have, want an edge – something that outshines the competition. Virtual studios provide that, and rental staging may well be the beneficiary.