Ascape VR Content Creator Interview: Frédéric Gourdet

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Frédéric, I am a french engineer working in geographic information systems and a VR enthusiast. I was so passionate with this new medium that I decided to create VR content. First I was filming everything with my 360° camera because I thought everything would be amazing in VR. I realized and learned that not every single scene looks good VR  and now I am trying to give a sense, to tell a story every time I shoot a 360° video.

How did you get started in VR content creation?

One and a half year ago, I experienced my first VR video. It was the Paul McCartney concert filmed by Jaunt. And I thought to myself, “wow, it’s so immersive, that’s the future of entertainment! I really want to be part of this adventure!” As an engineer, I tried to find a job in VR fields. Unfortunately, my professional skills weren’t wanted by VR companies. In the same time, I realized that I don't want to develop VR apps, but rather would produce films in VR. So I bought all I need to shoot in VR and I tried things, even if it wasn’t easy at first to shoot a 360° video.

What do you enjoy most about creating VR content?

What I love the most about creating VR content is the freedom of this new medium, for now, everything is possible with the storytelling. I mean there is no rule about the way to tell a story, so many things about this medium is still unknown. We are like pioneers of this medium and this is what I like. Moreover, filming places and moments in 360° differs a lot from filming a traditional video, so you have to think differently. This is challenging!

What do you like about Ascape?

I really appreciate Ascape as a platform because it is really easy to be teleported in amazing places all around the world. As a content producer, it is very interesting because you can monetize your videos and let’s be honest, having your work rewarded by a company based on the other side of the world (I am living in France) is very gratifying, Moreover Ascape team is very nice and open-minded, they give the tips for my next videos.

In addition to Ascape, how else do you monetize your VR content?

For now, Ascape is the only platform to monetize my VR content. There is also Youtube, but if you don't have thousands of fans, it won't be worthful. Ascape is also interesting for me in a different way, once your video is selected it's going to be watched by thousands of people because they trust in Ascape content.

Tell us a bit about your recent video filming process. What was the hardest thing for you?

As I said before, first I was filming many places just because it was beautiful but without thinking about what I will tell with this 360° video. VR lets us capture a moment, a place in an immersive way like never before. That’s great but it is not enough. Indeed, the user will be teleported in this place and yes, he will be amazed because VR is still impressive but what’s next? That’s why I'm trying to tell stories about places I film to bring information to VR travelers as a guide or as local would do. Recently in the Virtual guided tour of Paris, I told anecdotes about the Louvre Museum and Eiffel Tower. This could be hard because I am not a professional guide so I had to learn a lot about places I film, I had to verify every story I heard, in order to be credible. Sometimes this process could be long.

How do you choose locations for your films, is there anything specific that makes you want to film a place?

I am living in Paris and I really love this city. That's why I want people to discover this beautiful city. Although I know very well this city, I am still discovering new interesting spots, that's the magic of Paris. So, for my videos in Paris, I already have in mind which kind of places are interesting to shoot in VR. However when I discover a new place, I have to think in 360° and choose the best emplacement for the camera to show how beautiful/interesting is this place. But it is not so easy, because sometimes, places I thought would be good to show, are finally not so interesting in VR. 

Why is VR travel important and necessary?

As far as I am concerned, VR travel is like a trailer for traveling. Indeed, if you don’t know which country to visit or just before the departure to your destination, experiencing a VR travel will be a good foretaste of a city or a country you would like to go! You will feel the ambiance, discover how places look like and learn tips, stories about theses places. That could be very useful if you don't want to be lost when you're actually there or to impress the person you travel with!

So for me, VR Travel is complementary to traveling and won’t outshine traditional tourism for now. Of course, traveling is quite expensive and takes time and with VR travel, you can experience many different countries easily, for nothing and from your house. However if you are able to travel in the real life, book your flight tickets and go! You will never regret it.