Behind the Scenes with Mike: A Day in the Life of an AR Content Creator
If you follow our social channels, you’d have noticed some of the videos we share of our app in action. These are often new models that we’re launching or older ones that we love too much to retire. All of them are recorded on mobile phones using the Hololoot app, which is also available for you on Android and iOS ✨
Today, we wanted to introduce you to our video artist and take you behind the scenes on one of his recordings. These are the videos that we regularly share on TikTok and Twitter — and videos that we think are worth checking out.
Mike Lorek is the undisputed Spielberg of AR video content, and today he gives us an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at his creative process.
We have regular content competitions for our community to win amazing prizes by filming AR assets. If you’re interested in content creation or would like to stand out in our video challenges, this is the article for you 🔥
The MetalCore Shoot: How to stage an AR video
In mid-August, we announced a partnership with MetalCore — a blockchain-based mech battler. There are lots of reasons to be excited by this partnership, but the simplest is possibly the strongest: mechs are awesome. It was a lot of fun porting these assets into AR, and to announce our partnership we wanted to show them off a bit.
Check out our announcement video:
Mike, our graphic and video content creator, took us through his process for creating this and other videos.
“When I think about the shots, I think about the model, its natural environment, its colors. Then about the weather conditions and light,” said Mike. “I prefer less-crowded places so that real-world people don’t interfere while the magic is happening.”
When considering the location for the MetalCore shoot, Mike was drawn to the woods.
“I was inspired by the art of Jakub Rozalski: first-world-war-themed paintings with a twist of giant mechs. That day I saw the dark, rainy clouds coming in and thought that’s it!”
At the first shoot, things didn’t go too well. While the gloom of a storm front would make for a perfect homage to Rozalski, it also makes for incredibly difficult shooting conditions.
“I drove to the location and set up my gear in the fields, but it wasn’t going to happen this time. A strong wind came and my gimbal’s engines went nuts, then the rain started and the shoot was ruined.”
Mike’s next opportunity to shoot would come later that day.
“I got back and waited for another scene I could use: the sunset and red sky. Some models have red details on them, and I thought the contrast will be nice. I waited for the golden hour and started to film.”
Mechs weren’t a common sight in the 1920s, and they’re not that common today. In fact, many of the assets that are available on our AR NFT marketplace are from the realms of sci-fi or fantasy and can seem a little out of place in the wrong context. Here, Mike’s experience as an AR content creator starts to show.
“It’s important to blend the AR model into the environment to make it feel like it’s naturally there,” Mike said. “If it’s an animated model, it feels even more immersive.”
Objects in real-life interact with their real-world environment — something we haven’t quite achieved with immersive technologies just yet. This is why creating immersive content with AR can be a challenge — we can imagine a real mech would kick up dust as it stomped down the road. Unfortunately, our AR mech can’t create that kind of effect.
To account for this, Mike makes use of props — in this case, a handful of dirt. If timed correctly, the dirt would hit the ground underneath the mech’s ‘foot’ right as it moved, giving the impression that it was walking on the actual road.
This is a strategy that Mike uses to great effect in his videos. Hoses, rocks, pinecones and boxing gloves are all used on the fly to create an interaction between the virtual model and the real world, further blurring the line between these two distinct realities.
“If the model is static, I sometimes try to use very simple practical special effects like throwing sand into the scene or dropping the model from the sky and faking the turbulence it caused to the camera. If the model’s animation is a kick, I imagine being kicked and transfer it to the camera movement.”
Once everything is set up, it’s just a matter of shooting.
“It’s important to get the right angles to show the full potential of the model. If it’s an enormous model, I’ll use a frog perspective or place it next to other real-world objects to show its magnitude.”
“Very often people or real-life mechs can get into your shot. Sometimes you can use this in your videos, other times it’s wise just to wait.”
With the footage in hand, Mike heads to the studio to edit. To produce a simple promotional video (like the one for MetalCore) he just needs to capture some cool angles to include in a montage, which he then edits on his PC.
For videos that are used to show off the model in more detail, a bit more editing is involved. Mike will generally come up with a rough narrative for the shoot before taking his footage and editing it together either on his PC or directly in TikTok’s editor.
All that’s left is to create a (hopefully) witty caption and upload it to share.
“My main goal is of course to show off the model, but in a way that’s interesting to the audience. Videos without personality, action or humor are boring, so whether you’re trying to show an epic mech or a cute dog, you need to think of ways to make it fun.”
Share your own videos!
Making AR content is fun, and we think you should give it a go. A video recorder is built into our app’s AR viewer making it easy to capture your own Oscar-worthy content.
We’re also regularly running competitions for video content and rewarding the most creative Hololooters with cash and NFT prizes 💸
Right now (late August) we’re running a competition with Enjin — to enter, claim a free Blobby AR NFT from the marketplace and get to work creating the best AR video you can. Full details of this competition can be found here.
If you’re reading this in the future, there’s a chance you missed out on the Enjin challenge. But fear not — we regularly launch similar competitions with our amazing partners. Make sure you’re keeping an eye on our channels so that you don’t miss any of these opportunities.
We’d like to thank Mike for taking us behind the scenes on this shoot — give him a follow on his social channels ✨