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Isobar Wins Grand Prix in Digital Craft at Cannes Lions 2018

Advertising Agency
London, UK
Digital craft category winner innovates digital entertainment through a blend of creativity and next-generation technology
Global digital agency, Isobar has won the Grand Prix in the Digital Craft Lions at Cannes Lions 2018. Cannes Lions, the most prestigious creative award in the world, awarded ‘Aeronaut’, a world-first VR experience for William Patrick Corgan (aka Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins). 

Jean Lin, Jury President, said “Digital craft is at its best when it augments humanity. It uses sophisticated technological artistry to be intuitive, and almost invisible. The work wowed the jury with its masterful craft and its use of innovative technology to elevate a music video into a powerful multidimensional artwork.”

“Aeronaut VR” is a three-and-a-half-minute room-scale experience designed for William Patrick Corgan (Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins), and his music single, “Aeronaut.” 

“Virtual reality had sparked Corgan’s curiosity when we first met with him,” said Dave Meeker, Executive Producer of Aeronaut and Isobar’s Global Director of Emerging Technology “The capabilities of virtual reality served as an entirely new palette of inspiration and a mechanism for Corgan to connect with his fans while attracting an entirely new audience. We saw this as an opportunity to venture into completely new territory, pushing the boundaries of music, technology and creativity and we’re honoured to have been recognised for this achievement.”

The powerful content was designed as a fully immersive and participatory VR experience, and 2D video was filmed within the VR experience using Cinemachine, a new software tool from Unity, a creation engine.

The 2D video was filmed inside the 3D VR world and was imagined by San Francisco artist and filmmaker Danny Bittman using Tilt Brush and Blocks from Google, and brought to life by entertainment network Viacom and the Isobar US team. 

The team captured Corgan’s three-and-a-half-minute performance in volumetric video at Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Capture Studios, Isobar, Viacom, and Bittman were able to place Corgan inside Bittman’s creative world, and use Unity to take viewers inside that world as well.

At the Mixed Reality Capture Studios, Isobar filmed the performance on a stage using 106 cameras, then used computer vision algorithms to create textured 3D surfaces of everything in view. The team then further processed the resulting holographic video to provide some consistency in the meshes over time as well as compressing it for easier transmission and viewing. The team then worked inside of the VR experience by collaborating, reviewing designs, and discussing interactions. The two experiences were created over the course of a year, beginning In November 2017 with the 2D video was launch, coinciding with an event that shared a preview of the VR experience.

"Aeronaut demonstrates how virtual reality can make an impact beyond headsets,” said Rob Ruffler, co-Director. “In a world where the head-mounted display is the best available screen, music fans need not miss out for lack of access to the latest technology."

“It is extremely humbling to be considered, much less to win the prestigious Cannes Lions Grand Prix,” said David Liu, co-Director. “We’re grateful to be recognised for this innovative, adaptive and constantly-evolving music experience in VR, and hope that this will inspire many more spatial music experiences to follow."

It was also previewed at Business Insider’s Ignition 2017 Conference and at CES 2018 in the Dentsu Aegis Network Clubhouse. The world premiere of “Aeronaut VR” took place in March 2018, at SXSW's Virtual Cinema and will be available to the public later this year. 

“Aeronaut VR” has been described as the highest quality representation of volumetric video capture and playback in the marketplace.