Dowdeswell Estates is a Cotswold’s based provider of unique and prestige construction projects, ranging from luxury residential to high quality hospitality. The company is renowned for creating and developing stunning buildings and interiors, set amongst some of Britain’s most outstanding areas of natural beauty.
The company approached our creative team at 10 Yetis Digital following the success of our launch campaign for Julian Dunkerton’s local brewery and brand – Dunkerton’s Cider – and wanted to engage us for an exciting upcoming event aimed at developing key stakeholder relationships and celebrating the brand’s amazing success so far.
Brief & Objectives
The bespoke, luxury design and construction company had engaged in a sponsorship deal with the Gloucester Tall Ships Festival and sought to create a groundbreaking, exciting and engaging experience to take their private client event on one of the incredible tall ships to the next level.
As a team, we saw this as the perfect opportunity to flex our creative muscles and build on our previous video service and experience with the budding new medium of 360 video and virtual reality (VR).
Strategy & Tactics
When generating ideas for this project, we quickly decided that whatever we chose to put forward, Dowdeswell’s stunning portfolio of grade-listed buildings had to be at the centre of the idea. This led us to consider a variety of creative tactics and mediums, with both VR and AR being considered as really strong options for the project. Both mediums would offer an interactive and memorable experience that would enable us to showcase Dowdeswell’s incredible portfolio of local developments.
Dowdeswell Estates settled on VR over Augmented Reality (AR), as it would allow the brand to showcase and describe the attention to detail that they adopt when developing any of their properties a lot more efficiently than with AR, as well as using the available space on the boat more efficiently. We put forward the idea of allowing guests of the party to use virtual reality 360 video to look around the inside of the properties, while animated pop-ups appeared to explain the high quality, fine details of each room (think Jarvis from Iron Man. Really!).
Once we had sign-off on the concept, we began to plan the technical aspects of the shoot. Due to the tight turn-around of the project (8 days from concept to final assets), we had to be as efficient as possible. For this reason we chose to use a Go-Pro Fusion over a larger more cumbersome 360 camera, as it has an incredibly light form-factor, a great companion app for capturing content while staying out of shot and it still outputs in 5.2k, which was the lowest we were willing to go, to avoid sacrificing quality.
Working in collaboration with Chris Gage (Marketing & Communications Manager, Dowdeswell Estates) we identified three properties that the company felt passionate about and wanted to showcase. These were – Dowdeswell Estates HQ, Dunkerton’s Cider Shop and The House at No. 131, the latest addition to The Lucky Onion group. We then developed the shot list based on the features of each property that Dowdeswell wanted to highlight and offer further information on.
The capturing of the content was relatively straightforward; shooting both 360 video and images of the property that we could utilise for the final editing of the virtual reality experience. This allowed us to mix the two formats together, using the video for the parts of the experience that contained motion and the photography for high quality stills. Following this approach, we were able to ensure the quality of the finished product remained as high as possible, while keeping export times to a minimum due to the quick turnaround required.
To create the 360 element of the experience and stitch the video and photography together into a seamless transition, we used a mixture of the Go Pro Fusion Studio and the Adobe Suite. Adobe After Effects was then used to create the pop-up details, before positioning them in 3D space and aligning the proportions of the box so they wouldn’t warp as the viewer looked around the property. This was one of the harder aspects, as it takes a lot of trial and error to minimise said warping. Thankfully, there is now a whole plethora of plug-ins available to help with this, as VR and 360 content has really started to make an impact on the industry. To bring the whole piece together, we added atmosphere and music to the scene, to really instil the full experience.
Having previously worked on 360 projects that solely relied on the use of panoramic tripod heads, it was refreshing to see how far the technology has advanced, to the point where we could now quickly deliver high quality 360 content to a high standard, in a very cost efficient manner. It is a really exciting sector to be experimenting with, as technological improvements allow us to try more and more creative concepts.
Here’s a peek at one of the experiences we created…
The reaction was really positive and there was a lot of excitement around the experience. We created a dedicated area on the ship for the experience that included a ‘message in a bottle’ to keep in line with the theme. Chris Gage hand-wrote this personally for the event.
We caught a lot of the guests completely off guard, as the last thing anyone expects to find on a ship is a virtual reality experience, but it was very well received by both guests and the local media that attended. Most of the guests got involved in the action and were really impressed, not only with the experience itself, but also the amazing projects that Dowdeswell has been involved in.
The company reported extremely positive feedback from key stakeholders that attended the event and received queries seeking their services the day after…which was a Bank Holiday!
“At Dowdeswell Estates, we pride ourselves on working with local trades and craftsmen and we also carry that philosophy into our Marketing and Creative projects.
We knew of 10 Yetis from another event we had been a part of and were impressed with how they had handled a particularly demanding client and delivered the event under pressure with an ever changing brief, so when it came to us hosting an event at the Gloucester Tall Ships festival, it was an easy choice as to who to work with.
The initial meeting was informal, relaxed and very much a collaborative experience with myself and the 10 Yetis team of Rob and Jamal led by Kalli; throwing around numerous exciting ideas and possibilities on not only how to best showcase our product, but to also ensure that our guests had a unique and highly memorable experience. We ended up going for the Virtual Reality goggle experience which was filmed within some of the Grade II listed properties we’ve restored, and whilst a complex and very new project to the team, their confidence in achieving it, left me in no doubt as to their ability to deliver and immediately got me excited for the event and the reaction of our guests to the VR experience.
During filming and editing, 10 Yetis took care of everything and as requested, I was updated throughout the whole process at regular intervals via WhatsApp with the latest info and drafts. Due to this collaborative and open communication, as a client, I had complete confidence in the team’s ability to deliver the assets to the high standard and quality I demanded. Come the event itself, the team couldn’t have been more supportive, taking care of guest lists, acting as tech support and also capturing social media assets throughout the day.
In short, the event itself was a complete success. The feedback we’ve been getting from our guests has been incredible and the VR experience had the desired effect with requests for meetings concerning discussions over new projects coming in the very next day despite it being Bank Holiday Monday. With the 10 Yetis team, you can use their services for one off events or projects where you will be guaranteed a great client experience with great value for money. However, for us, we see this as the start of a very collaborative and creative relationship and cannot wait to work with them again.”
Chris Gage, Marketing & Communications Manager.
Can’t wait to unveil a little #digital treat for our guests at #GloucesterTallShips tomorrow courtesy of the incredible team @10yetisdigital Love a collaboration with great local #creative talent ????????????????#AreYouExperienced? @PunchlineGlos @mktggloucester @GlosLiveOnline pic.twitter.com/htKP2tGFWE
— Dowdeswell Estates (@DowdeswellEst) May 25, 2019
After a successful event at #GloucesterTallShips we’re back to business at the George???????? pic.twitter.com/wiMW8IZZQd
— Dowdeswell Estates (@DowdeswellEst) May 29, 2019
The team couldn't have done a better job, the reactions we got from the VR experience was brilliant and a great, innovative way of showcasing our product. A touch of Modern within the Historic is a key element of our brand and this captured it perfectly. https://t.co/WsV8MFwjpe
— Dowdeswell Estates (@DowdeswellEst) May 30, 2019