An Immersive 3D VR Music Video Experience
By: Director/Writer/Producer Elia Petridis
By: Patrick Donovan – Author/Screenwriter
Seattle, WA (The Hollywood Times) 6/07/2019 – “…What an incredible experience that you cannot just watch the music video but, like the title suggests, become immersed in it and experience something fantastic…”
Notes about Elia Petridis:
Elia Petridis is an accomplished director, screenwriter, and creative director with over a decade of experience in feature films, music videos, branded content and immersive storytelling. He founded production company Filmatics in 2007 and immersive entertainment agency Fever Content in 2017. The two companies work together as a transmedia network exploring innovative ways to tell stories across mediums. Elia brings a strong narrative and artistic focus to his work, utilizing music, storytelling and emerging technology to create highly engaging transmedia experiences for immersive and traditional platforms.
Recently Elia served as the creative director of an immersive entertainment campaign centered around the single Popstar for the duo Intellexual on Fantasy Records. The campaign included an immersive 360 music video which Petridis directed, as well as AR filters on Snapchat and Instagram, a Spotify Canvas video, a social media campaign, and BTS materials all working in support of building awareness, retention, and brand marketing for the album release.
Beyond interactive, Elia is best known for writing and directing The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez, starring Academy Award winner Ernest Borgnine in his final on-screen performance and Academy nominee June Squibb. He has also directed numerous music videos for major labels including Sub Pop, Def Jam, Sony Music and more. Elia has a Masters from the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
The review by Patrick Donovan
A few pointers before I begin so you can enjoy what I’m about to review. So there’s this four-arrow icon in the upper left corner of the video, for users of a anything except an Oculus VR Headset, so you can work through the video with your mouse and, once you put your mouse there, you can use your arrow keys a lot easier. Now, let’s get immersed, shall we? You can also see this on smartphones and tablets simply by moving the device around to explore the experience.
When I started to watch this music video, I wasn’t expecting what I was about to see. Popstar: Reflections is not just “another music video” but a completely different user experience. You are a part of the two people in the video who are struggling with their relationship and within their lives are the reflections of themselves yearning for that special moment that doesn’t exist within the reality you see, unless, you move your mouse!
Actually, if you watch closely, you’ll realize that you’ve actually BEEN A MIRROR throughout the entire experience.
What I was doing was moving my mouse/cursor from left to right rapidly and I mean you need to do this because you’ll miss something so be prepared to watch this video two and three times to see all the “reflections” of the two peoples’ lives. It’s like Alice Through the Looking Glass to understand what I’m talking about. I felt something different than the music videos when MTV and VH1 first came out. That was so lame compared to what Elia Petridis created here. Elia takes you on a journey that brings you full circle, left, right, up, and down in a 360 VR world like nothing you’ve ever experienced before, and he does it masterfully.
Enjoy the questions and answers from Elia Petridis and watch the video for yourself so you can be the judge.
Special Supplement: An exclusive Q&A with the producer and director Director/Producer and Writer, Elia Petridis.
Patrick: Elia, I cannot thank you enough for sharing what you’ve done here. I’m totally impressed with your creation and want more! Being a storyteller, musician and artist myself, I get what you’re doing and where you’re headed. Please explain to our readers what was the catalyst that drove you to tell stories in this way and who or what was your inspiration?
Elia: The song “Popstar” was a catalyst. Nico and Nate from Intellexual actually wrote a really beautiful couple of sentences, general sentences about what drove the album, throughout all their songs. They had this beautiful eloquent way of putting the unified concept of the album together which I thought was very touching and kind of really stirred my imagination as a director. At first, the creative was pitched in a high concept form where it was about mirrors, optical illusions and a couple going through a breakup. As we got closer to production, I went into writing the shooting script. I actually got inspired by my own life because I was going through a breakup at the time, so a lot of it ended up in the piece and I tried to graft onto the human truth of what bound the song personally for me as well as the high concept of design. I tried to find the human truth that ran through all three points so that people on the other end, the audience and the fans who received them could also see themselves in it as well and I don’t mean that as ironic in terms of reflections but that it would resonate and be familiar and be relatable to my an audience.
Patrick: When you were a child, did you like to write and draw pictures? Was there anyone or anything that helped you achieve the success you have today and if so, who/what were they?
Elia: I’ve always liked to write. I’ve never liked drawing. I tried painting for maybe three days in college. I can’t draw but I do like to write. I’ve written over 13 screenplays, two of them have been made and I write prose all the time. I am a linguist at heart. I love language. I love puns. I love wit, wit is a high sign of intellect. It turns me on. I do love the written word, it moves me. I read poetry a lot. We read Rumi out loud at the office all the time, so the written word is a big deal to me.
Patrick: We all have heroes, mentors and guides in our lives. Please tell our readers who that one person or persons really were the biggest influence in your life and why?
Elia: Everyone I’ve ever come across has helped me. Jesca Hoop is a big influence for me both as an artist and a friend. She’s older than me and so she’s a really good mentor and really good family figure for me from time to time. She’s been really instrumental. Ernest Borgnine on “The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez” was a huge influence on me. That was the last film he made before he died. He actually called me in the final hours of his life to tell me what an honor it was to have made his last film with me. That was really affecting to me. It stopped me cold. As a friend, a student, and a Cineast, that stopped me cold.
I learned a lot from being on set with him. My video Professor Rex Page, after whom Ernest’s character is named in the feature was also a really big influence on me. Bill Hader is a big influence on me because I used to go to the New York Film Academy with him when I was 16 years old and he was a little bit older and we used to make films together. My art director Marlene Lacasse currently is a huge influence on me because she really helps me hatch a lot of my ideas in visual form these days whereas I’m writing a lot of copy and she’s bringing all of that to life visually and so she’s the left hand to my right hand. Especially when it comes to “Popstar” that went from being pitched as a creative deck, to being awarded, to going into a shooting script, to her then progressing into production design, the space that she had brought to life in flat form on the page.
So seeing her go from Art Director at an agency to Production Design on set was actually very inspirational to me, that’s a whole new journey that very few have taken so far, to be honest. So just in terms of where the craft could go and what new job titles are emerging as immersive entertainment and traditional mediums collide. That’s really interesting to me. My entire staff at Fever Content was really, really inspirational to me. They all do wonderful work.
Everyone from sound designers to great cinematographers, I mean everyone that really owns their craft has always influenced me. I’m the kind of filmmaker who is a big collaborator. I feel like films are greater than the sum of their parts and that’s because of the crew that makes them happen. My family’s been a massive influence for me because they’re the ones that hatched my taste and love of film in the first place. My two nieces are huge influences on me because they keep me innocent and whenever I lose a thread on the joy that life has to offer, I just call them and see what they’re up to.
Patrick: How long did it take you to conceive, develop and create Popstar: Reflections? What equipment did you use and how did that help you to achieve the result you sought?
Elia: One year. We used the V1 to capture 360 and we used the K1 to capture 180. The 180 was used for what was going on inside the mirrors, shards of glass and other things of that nature. Whereas the 360 was used to capture the spaces and the scenes as a whole. There was an immense amount of post-production in it.
Patrick: Who was your favorite filmmaker? What was your favorite film? Your favorite script? And why to all the former questions.
Elia: I don’t have a favorite filmmaker, script or film. I think any good filmmaker will decline answering any of those questions. How does one pick a favorite when you’re madly in love with all of it?
Patrick: When I was in LA back in February 2018, I had the pleasure to go to the NY Film school with Dawn Noel, who works with you, as guests, of Mike Demeritt 1st AD/UPM from Star Trek. She and I sat in a class of up and coming filmmakers taught by Mike. What Dawn and I learned, and saw was a flame in the eyes of those students and when Dawn told her story about her career and successes, I observed how their eyes sparkled with visions abound. In closing, what can you tell or better yet, what advice can you give to up and coming students of the industry to help them achieve their dreams? What guides did you have, books, films, periodicals, etc… that helped you to become the success you are today?
Elia: Take Salsa lessons. Go see the world. Go find stories to tell. Don’t forget to watch content. Don’t forget to hone your craft but don’t also ever forget to expose yourself to the outside world and the people around you. Write what you know. Write about what you don’t know and always get out of the house.
Thank you, Elia, for your contributions to the art and industry.
Photo Credits: Fever Content and Filmatics
Watch the Video and become immersed: https://youtu.be/60YGz-gMu-M