Established in 2005, Northampton-based digital-focused media company AR Media leaned on production experience gained at Northampton’s Royal Theatre to produce narrative-based short films and music videos for well-known artists including Coldplay, Just Jack, Nerdout and Knoxhill.
From there a chance encounter saw the company take on the responsibility for producing all the CGI elements of Jeff Wayne’s musical version of the sold-out War of the Worlds arena tours, something that has seen the company’s work travel across the globe to sell-out audiences, including cinema and the West End.
We spoke to Creative Director Rob Fairhurst to find out more.
What’s the latest with AR Media?
Rob Fairhurst: Our creative approach has enabled us to extend our creativity into fields such as augmented and virtual reality, 360° filming, animation, 3D tours and digital signage, supplying clients such as Roadchef, EasyJet and Colette retail stores.
With an international client base, we’ve been around the globe many times capturing customer testimonials, product launches, innovations and corporate events. Now, we offer five distinctly different ways to tell your story all under one roof: video, immersive, animation, digital signage and studio hire.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Communication. Regardless of the technology we use on each project, they all share an objective. We’re all about telling stories. We work closely with our clients to understand their stories and then deliver them in the most suitable, engaging and exciting ways available to us.
What was your ‘Eureka’ moment?
There’s been a few, but looking back I’d say that it was the point where AR Media went from me being a one-man-band with big ideas to realise, to me needing a team with a diverse range of skill to achieve the potential I envisaged. As the scale of projects expanded so did our team; we brought in animators, directors and producers.
I’d been producing music videos for a little while when I was invited to a meeting for someone wanting a video. I had no idea who I was going to meet. It turned out I was at Jeff Wayne’s house negotiating a deal to produce the CGI for his musical arena tour. That was a pretty big moment.
What makes you better than the competition?
We’re a full-service creative agency offering five distinct services, all of which you would normally have to engage with a number of agencies to provide. So, for film work, we can conceptualise an idea, map it out in storyboards, produce, film, edit it, add visual effects and deliver a finished product all in one building. Often agencies develop the idea and contract out the actual production. And with the same approach to our other services, we have a compelling USP for businesses to use us. That’s all backed up by the clients we work with and the quality of our work.
Talk us through your team
We’re a friendly bunch and we scale up and down depending on the needs of the project. Our core team includes specialists in augmented and virtual reality projects, qualified drone pilots, camera operators, editors, visual effects editors, directors, storyboard artists, scriptwriters and content managers – and we have a network of experienced people we can rely on to expand that team when necessary.
What’s it like being a tech company in Northampton?
Northampton is a great area for technology. In the heart of the country and there is a focus on building a technical community with people like Digital Northampton and the University of Northampton.
What’s on the horizon for your company?
We’ve got some ongoing projects with clients that take us to some really interesting places like Manchester United and some international conferences to film. We’ve got a 360-degree narrative film being premiered to film festivals at the moment which brings all of our specialities together, and there’s a documentary series we think is quite unique to UK audiences.
After that, we’re looking for new ways that immersive technology can be used. We were really happy to find out that one of our pipe dreams is coming to reality, merging AR with 3D tours, meaning you can tag places in a 3D experience but then also find that those tags exist in real locations too. Exciting times!
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