- Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016
To promote Ghost Scream™ Hot Sauce, director and Emmy® Award winning producer Robert J. Sexton created an unprecedented 360° VR (virtual reality) commercial that is calculated to set tongues ablaze.
The spot takes place at the secretive Ghost Scream test lab where a culinary researcher subjects volunteers to the intense heat of the hot sauce, infused with the eye-watering naga jolokia (alias the "ghost pepper.") Thanks to Sexton's cunning use of visual cues to direct the viewer's eye through an organically flowing comedic narrative, the spot is one of the first forays in 360° technology that successfully fuses VR, storytelling and commercial marketing.
The VR clip was shot in Burbank, CA and was produced in conjunction with LA Sport Shop and Hollywood Asylum and lensed by DP (director of photography) Kara Stephens (West Coast Customs, Fractured) using the OMNI camera.
The adept cast of comic actors includes Billy “Sly” Williams (Marriage Chronicles, Cheater's Club), Yolanda Romersa (Paloma, The Reward), Billy Armstrong (New Girl, Castle). and Otto Ferrous (Human, Psycho City, TX. - VR).
Matt Sisson, Master Chef and the award winning Ghost Scream Hot Sauce creator says, “Ghost Scream is not your typical hot sauce, so we didn’t want to shoot a typical commercial. When I saw Sexton’s work in the VR world, there was no question that we wanted him on board to direct an ad for us and produce something never seen before.”
Sexton's previous experience in 360° VR was noted in an article in The Wall Street Journal, where he commented on the potential of the technology. “VR is defining the future of both shared viewer experiences and storytelling," said Sexton. "We're pioneers in this space. Every piece of content we create forces us to reinvent everything we know about filmmaking and how an audience interacts with a story.”
While speaking as a guest panelist on VR Tech and augmented reality for Midsummer Night Scream, Sexton spoke of the next wave of VR and AR storytelling. “With cameras like The Omni, Jaunt, Ozo, GoPro hybrids as well as consumer models like 360Fly and Gear 360, there is no stopping VR and the creator's ability to direct a viewer's experience and attention.” Continues Sexton, “HTC Vive, Oculus, Playstation, The HoloLens, YouTube and now Facebook makes VR a reality for viewers who want to have an experience.”
The spot is designed to be best viewed with dedicated VR equipment like the Samsung Gear VR headset, Google Cardboard or the compact Himodo VR Mini and wearing headphones. If viewed on a computer, the Google Chrome browser is required. If viewed on a smart phone, the latest YouTube app needs to be installed to obtain the optimal VR effect.
On working with The Omni, Sexton said, "Having remote capabilities, the devices synced to one main camera and all of them genlocked, made the shoot day less complicated. It allowed more time to work with my actors. The updated software allowed the post workflow to breeze by. The stitching was flawless. It was a beautiful thing."
About LA Spot Shop & Hollywood Asylum
LA Spot Shop (LASpotShop.com) and Hollywood Asylum (http://hollywoodasylum.com/vr) are production companies based in Los Angeles, CA. that produce long and short form traditional and non-traditional projects.
Hollywood Asylum VR has a virtual reality viewer IOS and android app in beta, produced by RealityGon Digital http://realitygon.com/ that is planned for release prior to the new year.
The clip will also be released on Facebook VR and available soon as a download.
About Robert J. Sexton
Robert J. Sexton’s CV includes numerous award wins and nominations, along with official selections and invitations from peer-driven entertainment award shows and film festivals around the world. www.robertsexton.net
- He directed the first 360° VR heavy metal concept video and the first 360° VR live metal video, both in 2015.
- Winner of 3 Emmy® Awards: Producing from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for ad campaign and produced spots.
- 2 Grammy Awards: Post producer on Paul McCartney DVD, "Live Kisses."
- Nominations/wins: MTV, CMT, AMA, ACMA, VH1, GAC, Loudwire, DOVE, Screamfest. Shriekfest. The list goes on.
- His experiences as a director landed him a guest panelist spot at the San Diego Comic-Con discussing his horror themed music videos, movie/TV projects and as a guest panelist on VR related presentations.