Amongst pioneers in modern VR

After BackLight won the AUREA Award 2018 in the category interaction, the community is eager to find out how the success story has continued.

Meet the community #1 – BackLight

A interview of AUREA Award winner BackLight

Frédéric Lecompte & Jonathan Tamene co-founded BackLight in 2008 as a CG animation studio, focusing on craft and high-level rendering while diversifying into new territories like AR back in 2010 or VR in 2014. Amongst pioneers in modern VR, BackLight is one of the most prolific and the most rewarded studio for VR Brand Content with nearly 50 developed projects. BackLight develops today its own licenses for LBVR, from dynamic rides to high-end hyper-reality contents like ECLIPSE.

When did you guys start to “change the boundaries of AR, VR and 360º videos” and what gives you the motivation?

The core team of BackLight met in a video game studio in Paris. We created the studio in 2008 to produce CG animation, back then mainly for advertising. In the beginning, we developed and produced all three kinds of projects you mentioned, let’s say XR, but we’re focused on VR now. VR sounded like evidence for us as our path led us to that technology.

Our know-how from the video game industry enabled us to diversify to AR back in 2010. Then we followed the launch of Oculus Rift back in 2012 and received our first dev kit in 2014. Since then, VR became our main activity. We started working for brands, discovering the technology, experimenting uses-cases, and learning how to think VR and how to bring sense to that wonderful tech. Changing the boundaries of the tech is part of that “sense” research.

We have developed more than 60 XR projects in 4 years until now and our motivation is still the same. XR is still in its early stage, everything can be experimented. For us, it’s the tech that will have a real impact on our lives.

Last year you won the AUREA award for interaction. Can you tell us, what changed since then?

Since we won the award, we changed our vision of the Location-Based VR market. We designed a new offer for Eclipse for instance, with a “turn-key” solution called OZ-Immersive that fits the expectations of our customers. Our discussions with people from this industry for 2 days of the AUREA Award were very enlightening and we created strong relationships between companies that we might not have met without AUREA.

Speaking about AUREA - this year we’ll welcome you as a jury member. Which search field are you most curious about?

I’m definitely most focused on Hyper Reality related tech, such as haptics, sense stimulation, and tracking solutions. I think these are fields with massive potential in the future.

What makes a good community in your opinion?

Definitely discussions and relationships. Taking time to share is important.
Location-based VR is such a young industry, but still, lots of companies feel threatened by the competition. The market is so immature that it’s pointless to talk about competition. For me, it’s time for “coopetition”. We can compete but still cooperate. For instance, standards are rising on the market. VR studios can work together to push some of them and get a faster return on their investment by developing experiences that fit on several set-ups or installations.

And is there something special about the community around AUREA?

To complete what I said before, competition is worldwide. The main strength of the AUREA community is bringing together LBXR creators from all around the world. That leads to a community that shares the same issues & challenges. That is a great achievement, especially for European companies that should work together to face fierce competition from North America or Asia.

What else would you like to tell the AUREA community?

I personally can’t wait to discover the projects in the competition. The first edition of the AUREA Award was unique. A positive mood, an awesome place, and super inspiring people plus the premium organization created an amazing event last year. Definitely one of the best VR events I’ve had the chance to be part of. Count me in for the next editions!

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