360 and virtual reality: Behind Scoot's attempt to change misconceptions of low-cost carriers

The hardest part of the process was creating full three-dimensional characters from their 2D art.

When Scoot wanted to create a virtual reality experience that would engage consumers across the Asia Pacific and support the brand’s regional re-launch after merging with Tiger Air in 2017, it turned to experiential design studio, Untitled Project.

The brief from the low-cost long-haul airline to the agency was to challenge people’s preconceptions of flying with a low-cost carrier and allow people to experience the unique product and service features found on board its flagship aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

“The client was looking for a fun, quirky VR experience that could be rolled out in a series of on-ground events in nine countries and six languages, as well as a range of bite-sized 360 content, aimed at selected local markets that could amplify these events via hyper-targeted social media campaigns,” Warren Mackenzie, founder and creative director at Untitled Project tells The Drum.

The final result? A mixture of real footage and animation on board one of Scoot’s Boeing 787 Dreamliners, shot in 360 and provides options to select ‘Scoot Economy’, ‘ScootBiz’ or ‘ScootinSilence’ for a guided tour of the respective cabins. Once on board the real aircraft, viewers find dancing holiday-makers, mischievous children, astronauts, robots and a levitating yogi as some of the fun, animated characters making up the cabin crew and passengers.g

Mackenzie goes on to explain the creative process, saying that nothing beats the exhilarating feeling we all get when a plane takes off, so to encapsulate this feeling and convey it to a consumer, we chose to immerse the audience in full 360 content.

“Scoot's brand assets are a rich array of quirky cartoon characters and at Untitled Project, we have a strong background in character animation and motion capture. The only way to get through the volume of animation and to breathe a larger-than-life performance into a huge production cast was to create them in 3D, and animate using our inhouse Mocap system,” he says. “Our team of character modelers, riggers and animators gave us the flexibility for changes even after the ‘Mocap’ shoot with real actors.”

Revealing that the hardest part of the process was creating full three-dimensional characters from their 2D art, Mackenzie says: “This time-consuming process had to be spot on, mirroring Scoot's strong and recognisable brand assets. Working in 3D with a final 2D cell shaded look and can be quite hard and took some time to perfect.”

Further challenges included creating the cell shaded ‘toon’ look for the piece proved quite difficult, at the time of production none of the off the shelf solutions would support a 360-camera lens required for rendering the content. “During project we had to create a predictable, production ready solution. As a result, we developed our own set of 3D cell shaders that would talk to our render engine, and outline the characters with a toon line,” Mackenzie explains.

The roll-out is currently taking place in China, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia, while pop-up VR experience zones will be created in high traffic areas in each market.

The on-ground execution was planned and executed by Publicis and he roll-out took place across nine territories in the last quarter of 2017, covering China, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, Australia and India. “We created twelve different 360 videos and a custom branded VR Scoot VR player with four languages options that amplify Scoot’s message, supporting social media outreach in key markets,” says Mackenzie.

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