An Immersive Design Project - Part I: Research and Creative Development

An Immersive Design Project - Part I: Research and Creative Development

Kc. details her well-thought-out immersive media project from Rookie Awards 2023. As the Immersive Media Category's Rookie of the Year 2023 and a recent graduate of The One Academy of Communication Design, Kc. offers a valuable framework for beginners in immersive design.

In this three part series, Tan Kai Ching, known professionally as Kc., shares details of her extremely well-thought-out immersive media project entered into the Rookie Awards 2023. Kc. was the Rookie of the Year 2023 of the Immersive Media Category and is also a recent graduate of The One Academy of Communication Design. If you are embarking on your first immersive design project, Kc.'s articles share a framework and process you can add to your toolbox.

"Unfold: Beyond the Unknown" was born from my passion for movies and curiosity about what goes on behind the camera. It started with overlooked details, from end credits to teaser trailers, and grew into the "Unfold" concept, which aims to lead the audience to explore movies with a deeper appreciation.

This led me to create a film promotion campaign that blends smart design and AR technology, designed to offer a deeper understanding of each film. It enhances everyone's movie experience and allows them to savour every detail to the fullest.

Now, let's dive into the 1st chapter of our “Unfold” series, where we explore Research and Creativity Development.

Let's Brainstorm Together!

In my last college semester, from January to July 2022, I undertook the challenging task of completing my Final Year Project (FYP) within just 6 months. This marked the start of my “Unfold” journey:

Brainstormed over 10 ideas > Selected 4 to propose > Out of 4, I chose “Rewind.”

About "Rewind"

Both film and fashion are businesses where the audience doesn’t feel or see the work that goes on behind the scenes. -Tom Ford

Closing credits in movies and dramas go unnoticed, posing the challenge of how to make moviegoers watch them. "Rewind” tackles this by revealing the hidden filmmaking process within these credits.

If you did not watch the credits, you did not finish the movie.

Inspired by both Interactive Films and Pixar's use of graphical elements in end credits has inspired me to enhance GSC (Malaysia's cinema) app with AR:

  • Introducing AR filters (inspiration link), without altering the traditional B&W text-based closing credits. This allows audiences to engage with the end credits to uncover behind-the-scenes moments.

Moviegoers User Research

Research has shown that the biggest moviegoer group falls in the 18-24 age bracket, with Gen Z young adults as the main audience focus. I conducted user interviews, covering general info, movie preferences, closing credits, and behind-the-scenes insights.

The findings? Their cinema choices lean heavily toward English and action-adventure genres, which influenced the movie choice I later made to demonstrate this project concept.

How "Rewind" Works

  1. Pre-movie: Tickets check-in with the cinema mobile app
  2. Before the movie starts: Onboarding motion video to engage the audience to stay for the end credits
  3. End credits rolls: User interaction takes place
  4. When credits end: Unlocking BTS videos in the app
  5. When videos end: Earning rewarded points
  6. Call-to-Action: Encouraging user sharing for exclusive rewards

However, this proposal concluded here because, despite good intentions, there are no anticipated business benefits.

Revamping "Rewind"

With no released posters, teasers, or trailers, many are unaware of Avatar 2’s return, set 13 years after its first film. To raise awareness, "Avatar (2009)" will be re-released at GSC for a 3-month run, offering an enhanced post-credits experience that connects the audience with Avatar's future in 2022.

How It Works

The user journey has been subtly adjusted from the previous proposal:

Scan a QR code > Watch a video > Uncover hidden Easter eggs with in-app AR during closing credits, and make a wish upon the Tree of Souls > Earn points for staying till the end and claim interactive poster gifts.

However, given the limited information available about Avatar (2022) to fully bring this idea to life, I decided to switch to a different movie.

"Rewind" with New Movie Selections

Marvel/ Disney was chosen due to their frequent teaser trailer releases, I laid out a concise comparison chart with shortlisted movie details.

Research and Inspiration

  1. Movie brand collaborations research like “Invasion #withGalaxy.”
  2. Disney’s presentation of short films like “Bao” (2019) and “Ice Age” (2011) in theatres, inspired me to transform short films into interactive trailers shown before the movie starts.
Bao (2019)

The Chosen Movie

Unwind with Spider-man: Across the Spider-verse (Part I):

  1. Integration ofphygital interactions into traditional theatre film promotion.
  2. Opportunity: Audiences watch multiple trailers of upcoming films before the movie starts.
  3. Idea: Allows the audience to interact with the trailer physically rather than watching it.

Execution Plan

  1. Campaign’s touch point development.
  2. A rough storyboard for the interactive trailer.

Unfortunately, I had to pivot to "MoM" (Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness) instead due to the limited information available.

From "Rewind" to "Unfold the Unknown"

Revised Concept & Idea for MoM:

  1. Complex Storylines: The film features intricate, interconnected storylines spanning multiple films.
  2. Target Audience: Moviegoers who only watch specific Marvel films and need insight into these complex storylines for a full immersion in this new film.
  3. Campaign Focus: Recapping information from interconnected sequels to let moviegoers enjoy every movie detail when watching a new film.
  4. Versatile Concept: This concept can be applied to any film with multiple characters and interconnected storylines, recapping each character’s information. The collaboration with Marvel Studios was because “Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness” is an ideal showcase for this concept.

New Target Audience Research

I explored global cinema insights across different age groups to understand what drives people to choose the cinema. This process included gathering survey insights to create a Validated User Persona and map out the User Journey in a second round of surveys.

Execution Plan Detailed Research

Unfold the Unknown with MoM:

  1. Collect scene references from released teaser trailers for the AR Interactive Poster
  2. Review interconnected movies for interactive trailer scene references.
  3. Create story-focused mind maps with a focus on Scarlet Witch & Doctor Strange's backstories
  4. Research relevant dialogue from past sequels, including lines from Scarlet Witch & Doctor Strange
Fun fact: I was a casual Marvel fan before this project, mainly into Avengers. But for the project’s sake, I watched all the ones I’d missed. When Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness finally came out, I was able to appreciate every single detail!

Crafting a Story Flow Through Dialogue

Content of Unfold the Unknown:

  1. Part I: You break the rules and become the hero. (Event: Doctor Strange 1)
  2. Part II: I do it and I become the enemy. (Event: WandaVision)
  3. Part III: That doesn’t seem fair. (Event: Spider-Man: No Way Home)

With these extracted dialogues, a storyboard draft is developed for the interactive trailer, which will be discussed in the next series.

Storyboard draft for interactive trailer

Let’s wrap it up for now. Read Part II and Part III where we’ll dive into the design process for all the experiences we’ve covered so far!

Link to my full project on The Rookies and Behance.