Syfy Wire Gives Viewers Exclusive Access to Comic Con With the Help of Pixvana

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OverviewSyfy Wire, an NBCUniversal pop-culture news site worked with Pixvana to create 360 content that would expand the reach of their content beyond the Comic-Con event center.

AboutSyfy Wire is a pop-culture news site dedicated to all things science fiction, fantasy, and supernatural horror (with some space and future technology thrown in for good measure).

ResultsFans of Syfy Wire, particularly those who weren’t able to attend the event, were thrilled to have rapid and exclusive 360-degree access to all things Comic Con.

HeadquartersNew York, New York

IndustryMedia & Entertainment

The Challenge

San Diego Comic-Con is geekdom’s biggest event. It’s the premier gathering place for artists, cosplayers, celebrities, video game lovers, and comic book aficionados, attracting over 130,000 attendees in recent years. With Comic-Con 2017 on the horizon, Syfy Wire, an NBCUniversal-affiliated pop-culture news site, sought to reimagine their annual coverage in order to expand their viewership and engage their audience in a new, exciting way.

Accordingly, Syfy Wire selected Pixvana to provide their first-ever VR Comic-Con coverage. The chief challenge was to authentically capture the event’s expansive, one-of-a-kind energy, and create an experience that engaged viewers from around the world—including those who weren’t able to attend in person—to feel as though they were exploring the extravagant conference in real life.

The Solution

Working in partnership with Syfy Wire, Pixvana took to the floor of San Diego Convention Center with the goal of capturing more of the Comic-Con experience than ever before, and delivering it to Syfy Wire’s eager fanbase in a revolutionary way. Committed to pushing the boundaries of storytelling, the Pixvana and Syfy Wire team capitalized on VR’s axes of motion, which liberate viewers to watch guided, interview-based content or swivel from side to side to check out the cosplayers, booths, art, and other convention action.

Because Comic-Con offers so much to see, the Pixvana team needed to be hypermobile and agile on the floor to navigate streams of fans and follow whatever fleeting action might lie around the corner. With a small team and a limited timeframe, the production team used the Insta360 Pro camera to shoot high quality, 8k footage over one day, delivering finished content only 12 hours after shooting wrapped.

“The nature of Comic-Con, as well as the challenge of balancing guided and atmospheric content, meant that our experienced production team was continuously returning to their toolbox to make sure the appropriate tools were being used to create the right experience for our target audience,” said Aaron Rhodes, executive producer at Pixvana.

“The nature of Comic-Con, as well as the challenge of balancing guided and atmospheric content, meant that our experienced production team was continuously returning to their toolbox to make sure the appropriate tools were being used to create the right experience for our target audience,” said Aaron Rhodes, executive producer at Pixvana.

The Results

In collaboration with a host and producer from Syfy Wire, the Pixvana production team created a sweeping tour of San Diego Comic-Con to capture the hearts and minds of their global fanbase. Highlights included a Star Wars cosplay meetup, a Super Mario Bros. marching band, and a sea of Harley Quinns. Fans of Syfy Wire, particularly those who weren’t able to attend the event, were thrilled to have rapid and immersive 360-degree access to this beloved event.

“The VR experiences we produced with Pixvana deliver high video completion rates and social sharing metrics, which is in large part because VR allows our viewers the unique ability to freely ‘wander’ through the convention as though they were there at a time and place that’s most convenient for them,” said Matt Romano, senior director of emerging platforms, SYFY & USA Network at NBCUniversal Media. “The technology provides the fans a feeling of immersive insider access and inspires us to continue dreaming up new forms of fan engagement.”

In fact, the tours were so well-received that Pixvana had the opportunity to continue their partnership with Syfy Wire, producing additional exclusive and engaging 180/360 content. Pixvana has provided VR coverage for 2018’s San Diego Comic-Con, as well as Wizard World (Chicago) Comic-Con, Emerald City (Seattle) Comic-Con, and two New York Comic-Cons. Additionally, Pixvana has created several 180/360 VR mini-series for Syfy Wire, including Hide And Go Geek, Cosplay Dance-Off, and Three Questions.

“VR allows us to reach audiences in a dynamic and truly authentic way,” said SYFY’s SVP, Digital, Matthew Chiavelli. “Together with Syfy Wire’s four livestreams and with the production magic of Pixvana, we’re able to put people at Comic-Con and other fan events that they might not have had the opportunity to experience otherwise. Helping people to share the experience of events like these in a virtual way is incredibly powerful.”

Another NBCUniversal brand, NBC TV Network, took advantage of Pixvana’s creative offerings at San Diego Comic-Con. With an extremely compressed timeline, the Pixvana team created a 360-degree tour of an interactive experience promoting NBC’s The Good Place at San Diego Comic-Con, hosted by actor Marc Evan Jackson. NBC also called on Pixvana to generate immersive VR content, spanning everything from ideation to post production, for their America’s Got Talent’s High Roller ride in Las Vegas, NV.

“Our continued work with Syfy Wire and, by extension, NBCUniversal, is compelling evidence of how rapidly VR is catching fire,” said Aaron Rhodes, Executive Producer at Pixvana. “Whether it’s an immersive tour of a live event or exclusive 360 content, fans light up at the chance to engage with their favorite celebrities, characters, and environments in new ways. VR is also a great way to leverage a live event such as Comic-Con for content that extends far beyond the convention weekend.”

“VR allows us to reach audiences in a dynamic and truly authentic way,” said SYFY’s SVP, Digital, Matthew Chiavelli. “Together with Syfy Wire’s four livestreams and with the production magic of Pixvana, we’re able to put people at Comic-Con and other fan events that they might not have had the opportunity to experience otherwise. Helping people to share the experience of events like these in a virtual way is incredibly powerful.”

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