008: John Bourbonais - Leading a revolution in storytelling with Virtual Reality
John Bourbonais is owner of Bourbon Street Productions and Lever VR, based out of Colorado Springs, CO. He is a Director of Photography, Producer, and Director and has worked on myriad of projects spanning feature films, documentaries, commercials, music festivals, sporting events, and training applications. During his 20 years in the industry, he was not only early to HD video, but yet again with Virtual and Augmented Reality. John and his team are pushing the boundaries of interactive, VR and AR modules designed for a variety of training applications. They’ve worked with a multitude of high-profile clients like National Geographic, The Nature Conservancy, SXSW, USA Basketball, Gymnastics, Swimming, and Volleyball. And more recently, he has become an inventor, including hardware, software, and app design, which came out of necessity as he has continued to be a pioneer in the VR industry.
In this episode we talk about:
the catalyst that pushed John to transition to VR/AR from HD video
the differences between virtual, augmented, and mixed reality and what an XR Experience is
how VR is changing the art of storytelling
current trends with VR/AR and the future of VR
the challenges with producing VR content
the Krown (patent pending), invented by John and Ty Klocke, is the world’s only first-person Virtual Reality rig
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John Bourbonais: 00:00:00 I don't look at projects that haven't gone the way I wanted them to as failures because in those situations, no one has provided me insight as to how to handle that situation or that type of interaction or whatever that was before and and so how can I say like that was a failure. No one taught me how to do that. I ended up figure that out for myself and now I figured it out and I know how to navigate that better.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:00:36 Welcome to the vitalic project podcast where you'll learn how to find your own voice in a world filled with noise. I'm Gabe Ratliff. I'll be your host as I sit down with fellow artists, creators, and entrepreneurs to learn more about their work and how they serve others so that you can tap into your creative purpose and live a life that's drawn, not traced. All right. I'm stoked. Let's get to it. Hey guys, thanks so much for joining me on this episode of the Vitalic Project. This is episode eight with John Bourbonais. John is owner of Bourbon Street Productions and Lever VR based out of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is a director of photography producer and director, and has worked on a myriad of projects spanning feature films, documentaries, commercials, music festivals, sporting events, and training applications during his 20 years in the industry. He was not only early to hd video, but yet again with virtual and augmented reality. John and his team are pushing the boundaries of the interactive VR and ar modules designed for a variety of training applications. They've worked with a multitude of high profile clients like National Geographic, the nature conservancy south by southwest and USA basketball, gymnastics, swimming and volleyball, and more recently he's become an inventor including hardware, software, and app design, which came out of necessity as he has continued to be a pioneer in this industry. In this episode, we talk about the catalyst that pushed John to transition to VR and ar from HD video. The differences between virtual, augmented and mixed reality and what an xr experiences. I had no idea. It turns out this is a new term. We talk about how VR is changing the art of storytelling, current trends with VR and ar and the overall future of VR itself. We talk about the challenges with producing VR content and finally we talk about the crown invented by John and Ty Klocke. It's the world's only first person virtual reality rig, which is pretty stellar, so I'm really excited to share this with you. He's an amazing guy. He has done tons of work and is now continuing to give back to the community in this new arena. VR and ar and I'm very excited to share his story with you. We got a lot of content. This is a little bit longer, but it's such a fascinating topic and it's very relevant. It's cutting edge stuff and I'm really looking forward to sharing it with you. So here we go. Well John, it's so nice to have you here on the show. Thank you so much for being on the Vitalic Project. So glad to have you here brother.
John Bourbonais: 00:03:34 Thanks man. It's good to be here.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:03:36 So I thought, you know, first we would just start off with what I like to call the cliff's notes of your life. You know, we can go as high levels you'd like, but just sort of catching up the vitalic audience with you know, who you are and what you do and what you bring to this industry.
John Bourbonais: 00:03:53 Okay. Well, my background is a 20 plus years in video production, um, undergraduate from Wisconsin, eau claire and graduate from DU. Not a formal education like that. Is that applicable to what I do in video production or VR or AR? Um, but, uh, the only exception of that would be organizing thoughts that really helped me in Grad school and I do a lot of that now for my clients in terms of quantitative analysis. And I really learned that during my graduate degree at to you. Um, well, once I was finishing school, my first job after Grad school was with the Olympic Committee and uh, still remember seeing it and I'll date myself here. A reading in it, a classified ad in the Colorado Springs Gazette for a, a camera operator slash editor and uh, ended up getting that position. I think my master's degree is sorta a differentiated myself from my competition in that job, and I just wanted to mention that because some people wonder why they might go to Grad school and I think for me that one circumstance really changed the path of my career, uh, specifically, uh, after working with the Olympic Committee for about a year and a half, I, and this was back in 98 and 99. I started reading about how the FCC was going to mandate high definition video as the new standard for us broadcasting and, uh, essentially wrote a white paper on that, um, for the, uh, for the Olympic Committee. And make a long story short, got the green light to move ahead with what was to become a one point $4 million dollar I definition production facility installation and one of the first five in the United States. And I'm the first hd that I shot was in 2000 at the Sydney Summer Olympics. And I remember getting the camera, received it down there. And the serial number from Panasonic was zero, zero, zero eight.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:06:18 Wow.
John Bourbonais: 00:06:19 So, uh, it was early on tape base for those video geeks out there. The format was BBC Pro HD or BBC Pro 100 and um, there were a number of projects then that followed with the Olympic Committee. Eventually I think I outgrew that position and I'm the you soc because they're a nonprofit. We're moving in a different direction than I felt I wanted to move in. And so after four years, almost to the date, I resigned and studied high definition cameras and um, both in terms of Sony and Panasonic and how to optimize those cameras. Now back in the early two thousands, it was a high definition, was a much different game in terms of what a camera could capture. Um, we're used to, at this point in time, the latitude of cameras is close to that film and that's about 14 stops of latitude, uh, back then the cameras, we're closer to eight stops of latitude. So the operator or the director of photography or whoever that was really had to be very selective in how they would expose those images. And so I studied how to optimize those exposures through camera manipulation. And I'm sort of on the fence between New York and La and chose Los Angeles and uh, there were a lot of people during that period of my life telling me that, um, you know, that kind of move essentially career dangerous that it takes years to get into the union that this was right after nine slash 11. So we were in a session and that I was really rolling the dice on my career to make that move. But regardless, I packed up my VW Golf with Surf in tow and I'm totally loaded down and moved out to La and a really fun work within days. Um, initially through Panasonic, uh, and then, which I had to relationship with the US Olympic Committee and they were my one really solid contact, not mail a, um, in a, uh, um, individual work there. Doug Leighton a key me right up because I was so familiar with the camera. Um, and I had been working with it longer than most people. That early serial number. Then I mentioned, um, you know, I w I was very involved in that with that camera and subsequent models of that camera on since the beginning. And so I found myself within the, um, the, uh, iod say $600. Camera Union is a digital image technician within weeks of my arrival. Wow. And that was definitely what I am today. Um, digital image technician number eight, which corresponds with that early serial number. That's strictly points, that's put a nice one. And um, um, worked on a number of early hd a television and movies. Uh, but one of the things that was revealing during that time, um, for me personally was that, and this is the sort of metaphor or the example that I give to people, is that they'll typically go at home. They'll go home at night and they'll turn on their direct TV or satellite or cable and they'll serve through 100 channels. And oftentimes they'll settle on something that is not necessarily appealing, but it's good enough and that's what they'll have on either as white noise or they'll be focused one. And, um, I really came to the realization of being out in Los Angeles that, um, I was one of those 10 thousands of people creating oftentimes what I would consider to be very mediocre content and things that, um, were not that exciting in terms of what the end result was. The process is exciting and I found it very engaging and at that point in my career, very educational and so I wouldn't trade anything but as far as wanting that to be my career, um, after about a year in La and I was actually working on a six week, two nights mini series. It was a remake of Carrie up in Vancouver that I decided that I needed to go a different way. And one of the, you know, you can cut this out if you want, but one of the things that I really learned and still appreciate from those people that work in that industry is what the give. And so an example when we were doing carry, um, you know, you might start at Monday at 7:00 AM in the morning and I'm typically work 13 hours, 14 hours. And it's a union rule that you have to have a 12 hour turnaround before you can start again. So you might work a little later on Monday and so Tuesday your start time will be 9:00 AM and that'll go late. And so by the time you get to Friday, it's about three in the afternoon, four in the afternoon, you're starting. And as production had really sort of, um, uh, estimated this is, this will be when you do your network. And so we worked through the whole night. We'd finish at six, 7:00 AM Saturday morning, and then we'd have a day and a half to rest before we go at it again. And that would be your life for six weeks. And as you can imagine, it takes a toll, um, not only in terms of year, just sort of mental wellbeing, but your physical health deteriorates. And, um, you know, the time away from your family. And it was all those things that I was, I really didn't want to make my life that. And so, um, and I, I should qualify that a little bit. I have a lot of respect for people that do that work. Um, and um, I don't mean to slam them in any way, uh, because, you know, I enjoy movies to go home for lunch and I'll put it in a movie for half an hour just to get a piece, I don't know, watching movies and, um, and so I really appreciate the work that those professionals do. Just wasn't work that I wanted to participate, make a career out of. And so, um, I started, took that education and I sort of put it in my back pocket for later in my career because what I found next was a complete departure and I was actually up in Vancouver and I think I found a listing was a new England, um, jobs website. And, uh, they were looking for. This advertisement was for a nonprofit out of New York that was looking for a camera operator. And I'm. This nonprofit was sponsoring a 43 foot sailboat name of the cooler as it made its way around the world. And, um, there were four other people on that boat. The captain who was an educator by trade a young and she was young, she was about 25 at the time. Josh, the first mate, not only a sailor, but also an educator. I'm Ashley Wells and I should say Aaron Meyers, Josh Madeira, uh, Ashley Wells who was the curriculum director and Jess Andre who is the assistant curriculum director and um, because of, and I haven't really gotten into this, but the reason I moved from Wisconsin after my undergraduate to Colorado was to volunteer at a halfway house, essentially modeled after a Catholic traditional Catholic worker house, although the legend was very sort of periphery to that mission of that house. And so I had years and years of volunteer work and with that came a communication skills and conflict resolution skills and all these different things. And so out of the 30 people had applied for that job, which was under the umbrella of, reached the world. That's the name of the nonprofit, which still exists. Um, I was one of six finalists and actually the only finalists that didn't go to New York for the interview. I was shooting a movie on my own, I got the job and so I joined the crew in Darwin, Australia and spent six months at sea and in Port I'm designing curriculum for at risk, uh, Alex schools in the New York City area. And so we go port to port and um, you know, we do pieces on the environment or pieces on psychology or religion or tradition or whatever. It was very loose as far as what that curriculum would look like. But all of those lessons went back to New York City along with a lot of my video. And so after doing that for six months, the, the project wasn't getting edited as I had hoped it was because there was, when I had applied it was, there was this big picture of things going to recovery and the people involved in that part of the process really weren't getting that complete. And so, um, I decided after Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand in the Middle East and east Africa up the Red Sea. And as we're going up the Red Sea, I made the decision to depart Mccool Uhm, in Egypt did. And uh, was on that voyage about six months and actually still maintain relationships with the majority of those people and see them annually. Uh, usually just a socially, although Erin, now Erin who married Josh, um, works for the nature conservancy and so Aaron and I did a virtual reality project down in Australia about a year and a half ago. So anyway, after Mccool Lou, um, and I, I remember crossing the Indian Ocean, thinking about that next move and deciding I needed to purchase a camera upon my return. And although my background was with Panasonic, Sony was a little more received in the, um, high definition market, a little better received. And so I purchased, I use Sony, the numbers Hcw f 900 and it was used for about $63,000 and a bottled Lens, a Fujinon 10 by five lens as sort of a basic lighting package. And, um, I guess it was about 2004 that was a freelance camera operator. And back then interested in was still so new that I basically put up a website and I would get different types of Poles us back down to Australia for business documentary and I found myself in Europe and in Cuba for the discovery channel. And I was just doing all this very random type of work, which I really enjoyed and appreciated. And I think for about a decade, really had this great run in. When I look back on it was sort of the last wave of the heyday of video production. And what I mean by that is that to enter into that arena, um, was difficult. You needed a decent amount of experience, which I had not only as a camera operator at this point but also because of my time in Los Angeles and the skills that I gained there. And so, um, you know, a camera operator or a director or producer can really command a, a wage that allowed you to live fairly comfortably and expand in what you wanted to do. And um, so during that time, along with all this great type of work and uh, a lot of travel, both, um, a continental travel as well as global travel, I bought a building and bought a lot of different equipment and uh, this building built out a variety of edit bays because this was a time in which the client would still come to a production facility to review the edit. And so, um, and really built an arsenal of lighting and owned a variety to different grip trucks. After my, um, certain minivan phase, went to a small acute ban, then went to a full blown 23 foot truck with a hydraulic eight on the back and just fully built out like one would in la, a grip truck. And what happened over time, and I, and I really started to realize this and about 2013 or 2014 was that the industry was changing. Now, there was talk of that, but there wasn't really people understanding what that was. Now certainly the price eventually had decreased significantly. So a canon five d mark one, which recorded shot video was when you compare it to a $100,000 camera package, now you could get a real good picture that would do 80 to 90 percent of what that $100,000 number pinnacle would, or five percent or 10 percent of the con. So after there was this permeation of lower priced equipment, what I also saw was clients of mine internalize their video production company, whether it be sports organizations or educational institutions they now had in house video production. And that started to affect my bottom line. And I think that myself and a lot of different people in the industry, we're sort of scratching our heads going, well maybe I need a better website or I need increased search engine optimization or, or what I need to network better or whatever that was. And I don't think that psychology is a typical. I think that, um, for me personally, I just had to go through that to recognize that. And it took me a couple of years to go through that to recognize that, oh, this industry has just changed. That's, that's nothing against my skillset and um, my uh, my creativity or anything really having to do with me, it really has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with an industry and there's disruption everywhere in this decade when, you know, you can look at retail, you can look at taxis, you can get whatever. You could go back even further and look how the travel agent, a travel industry has changed and ours booking online and just go sort of on an island in that. And that's sort of the nature of technology as to whether you want to move onto the next thing or whether you get sort of caught in present day. And I think the other part about it being in sort of a small to medium lyric at a lot of what I had done in video production had been done. Um, as far as how many more green screen interviews am I going to shoot? How many more political commercials am I going to shoot a film in low budget political commercials. How many more casinos spun it to my going to chew it. And it just sort of goes, like that had become in a lot of ways, tired for me. And um, I was looking for something different. And so when a client of mine who works really closely with a sports organization just said, Hey, have you looked at virtual reality yet? And what that is, you know, at first I think um, you know, I was reluctant because change can be hard, learning new things can be hard, and, and so I started pause with that. But privately in my life I was already sort of engaging in change. I had rediscovered snowboarding and mountain biking, swimming triathlons, and I was when I wasn't working now because there wasn't as much work. I was really sort of re looking at how I was plain and what I was finding enjoyment, doing a, there was a re-engagement and volunteering during that period of my life. And so I was really sort of expanding on who I was as a nonprofessional, anon video production person. I'm just who John Bourbonais was personally. And so I think that when VR and subsequent technologies, I started looking at them, they were easier to accept and sort of an enthusiasm that I wanted to understand what these technologies can do and what I'm, what I could bring to that. And so instinctively, because my background is in video, one of the first things I wanted to do was adapt tod or traditional video tools into VR. And so it was my second or third project where I came up with a Dolly which was a modified segway essentially that was controlled via bluetooth because of course he can't push a dolly. And in three 60 video you have to be clear. I'm a, I'm an inventor, I'm a actually, he's, he's really a production person like myself. And we co-invented, um, what we call the prom and that individual's tie khaki and um, tie us that we, his last name starts with a cane. He asked that we start the crown with a k. So to this day it's Kr own. And that is a first person camera rig for VR virtual reality. And what that allows us to do is we put it on someone's head and now the VR user, when we play that back after it's been edited, feels as though they are embodied in that person that wore the chrome and we've used it for law enforcement. We've used it for Bob Sledders, we've used it for a variety of different training, uh, applications. And we like it because it tells a great story or it, it helps visualize this a great story. But it also helps with our storytelling in that we can move from third person, which is how VR from a video perspective traditionally told to first person. And it really adds a lot of, um, I think it adds excitement and believability and takes it to a place. The two D video doesn't go certainly, um, Gopro, um, whether they were using a chesty or some kind of helmet mount. You've got that perspective. But when you watch that perspective, it was always sort of removed where you're watching it on a two d screen. The crown allows us, or a virtual reality really your. Because you were immersed in three 60 video. It it, it tells a different story and so we've done a lot of experimentation with that and we've actually moved from a first generation to a fifth generation unit and actually I would, I was communicating this morning to whenever the people that make parts for us and on how I want to improve one of those parts. So it really is sort of an evolution, but VR and that kind of story to tell. He sort of led itself to a variety of different products and engagement which was interesting to me. Not only from a creative standpoint where I was doing things that hadn't been done before, but also from a hardware standpoint. We recreating things that hadn't been created and then also software where a lot of our training to record that training and how a VR user, how they sort of navigate that training. All of that had to be created through the web through a web based system that does essentially a quantitative analysis. So now, so to create that, I had to venture into the world of software engineers and c sharp and c plus plus. And so now I'm. Although there are fundamentals of video production that I continually use in creating VR video based narratives and CGI narratives. Um, there's also this sort of, uh, initially education, but then after that, um, applications of the areas that are completely new to me and so I, I found that to be a satisfying and engaging, and certainly lends itself to its own creativity as far as how you want to, um, craft whether it'd be quizzes and how a VR user participates in those quizzes, um, to sort of the analytics afterwards and who receives those analytics and what are those tables look like. So this is a very different type of creativity in, as you're moving to numbers and you're moving to something that seems quite a bit more rigid than cinematography. But, um, I, I almost find it as satisfying as cinematography because I, I'm creating, I'm thinking and a lot of times, you know, in cinematography, it seems that I'm sort of mimicking or I'm using other people's references for what I do. So for instance, when I go into a movie and independent movie or I go into a project, um, oftentimes, uh, director and I, uh, will, uh, will look at different movies and discuss what we like, like what movies we like and what sort of flavor we like. So I didn't move. He wants as a cinematographer where the director was a big fan of Brian Depalma. And so those are really bold colors and there's lots of blinds on across people's faces and it's really sort of this stylized look. And so we discussed that and now as a director, when I get into pieces, I'm usually commercials, I'll talk with the agency and we'll look at different, um, different pieces that people have done before. And we'll use that for sort of, um, sort of a motivation and hey, we wanted to sort of look like this. But with VR there's not that kind of reference with VR being sort of on the front end of that. I'm a little bit alone in this space. And that's interesting to just be so far out in front where your creating the wake that other people are sort of bouncing off of and sort of figuring out, hey, I liked what he did here. I don't like this. I want to go off the way canal and sort of create my own. And I don't know if that's a great metaphor, but that's what it sort of feels like oftentimes. And so, so VR is sort of ongoing and a, you know, and it was a piece in the questionnaire about, you know, sort of the challenges and one of the challenges that I often face is timing. And you don't want to be too early, you know, you don't want it to be on this super bleeding edge where no one gets it. And so it's this fine line between bleeding edge, cutting edge and mainstream and how you timed that. And initially I really looked at VR as a, and technology as...That they roll out the same way and how we're taught. When I taught early, when I was taught early marketing is very much sort of this bell curve. Or sorry, not a bell curve, it's this sort of slow increase where you start with a very small part of the populous and then you build, build, build, build, and suddenly you have main street and that's how learning can. He was taught to me, but it was just several months ago. I was reading an article about, um, what was called the hype curve. And so now what you essentially have, and I've seen it, I saw this in VR when I thought about it, I also could see it in high definition where you had this initial hype in hd and VR, this is it, this is going to be the great thing. This is going to replace film or this is how this is going to be new entertainment, all these things. But then both in hd and VR, yeah, this hype and then it goes down after the hype dies down and then there's this slow build. And so I remember in hd how there was this really limited latitude and directors and different people within the industry. Cinematographer. Certainly initially they were intrigued by hd, but then we're like, oh, this isn't there yet. This has got a ways to go and it was several years before area rolled out in Alexa and toward, you know, until red came on the scene and now we're getting to 10 stops and 12 stops in 14 stops and now we're beyond that. But when you look back, if you said cheese, we're in 2018, hd was rolled out in 2002. That took a long time for after that initial hype Pto to get back to where it is now. And I think, you know, you can look back, I've had my area Alexa for six years and so and then red had come out a year or so before that or a couple of years before that. So it's really not 18 years, but with certainly eight to 10 before you had an instrument that really satisfied what that industry required as far as the quality. A quality camera. And I think that in VR we're sort of, you know, we've certainly gotten past the hype and we're sort of in this slow buildup again. And you know, whether industries like facebook or Google or whoever that is, I like to think that they understand sort of that hype cycle and then that rebuild, but I'm not sure, like I just looked at Johns who was, um, initially backed by Spielberg and other people in Hollywood that they really saw this type of a camera system as being part of this VR revolution. But, um, recently John has really moved into augmented reality and you know, what their VR, uh, what that component is going to be is really a tbd. So I, I think that if people you can look at what the technology does and be excited about the technology and certainly I fell into that category, but I remained in that category because I still see the application and I'm not in a big hurry. I'm not. While I've invested, um, my projects right now, keep things moving and um, I pick up a VR project here or there. And that keeps me engaged in the technology. And after about three years, three and a half years of working in that industry, I have a body of work. I've delivered over 20 VR modules for a variety of different groups and so when someone comes to me and says, hey, we're thinking of this project at the x games, or we're thinking of doing this project in front of the Lincoln Center that I can draw on my experience and say, well, here are the considerations. This is how I would approach that project as a director. And so all that keeps moving. Let me get a drink here. I'm getting a little parched. You Bet. As VR continues to build in a sort of mainstream awareness and adaptation, it was about, well, it was really just late 2015. Then I started experimenting with augmented reality and looking at that and really from the beginning, uh, everyone said ar was going to be, have a much better, a bigger presence, a larger presence than VR ever would. And when you think about it, excuse me, what do you think about it? VR is very much sort of a solo endeavor and that wouldn't be put on a headgear. You're really shut off from the rest of the world. Now you can meet people in a VR space and you can interact that way, but that person who you're interacting with, chances are they have a head in, you're on, in there alone in some other part of the world. So it's very, it's immersive and there's benefits to that. But, um, oftentimes that's sort of contrary to our day to day existence. Augmented reality as was predicted is going to have a much bigger footprint and I'm by nature and what we're going to start seeing, you know, it's going to be continuous a one apple rules out there, augmented or ar glasses in 20, 20, that that'll be a huge splash. Uh, but essentially what it's going to do, it's going to replace a smartwatch. And so you're not going to have to look at your watch anymore to see, oh, I've got an incoming phone call or I've got a text or I've got new emails or whatever notification that is, you're going to see that in your glasses. And uh, so the days of looking down at your watch are, those are gonna come to an end. And um, and maybe people still want that, but um, I can really see and I guess those people would be the ones who don't want to wear glasses, but who the, those who don't mind wearing glasses and a exactly. And I wear them to read and I, you know, I wear sunglasses when I go out. So how much of a reach is that for me? Not that much of a reach, but that kind of information is all going to be on glasses. And so that kind of graphic overlay in terms of note of not only in terms of notification notifications but also when you're driving you have directions to where you're going or even as a pedestrian when you're walking you have directions. And additionally as a pedestrian you are, you can look at a restaurant because you can have a gps coordinate assigned to it and now you see a menu or you see happy hour or you can make a reservation or you can do all of those things initially through your glasses which would likely be tied to you from your smartphone. And, and once you start to sort of entertain the possibilities of that, you really begin to appreciate of what ar can bring. Now ar can also be as something as basic as your smartphone and holding your smartphone up and using the camera, have that smart phone and um, and so you see that restaurant again through your camera and the same information appears, whether that be a menu or make reservations for whatever that is. It's just a bit farther removed. It's a, it feels like an extra step is compared to wearing glasses. And so I'm always looking at sort of applications for ar, but recently it was apparent to me, uh, or it was sort of revealed to me that one shouldn't be too tied up in a specific technology. And this was sort of an unforeseen but pleasant evolution in that I was approached by a medical group that really had their headset on. Um, the, and we, we did some Beta testing with that and we looked at it and I went back to him and said, you know, this isn't it, this isn't, this isn't where you want to go. It's going to make people sick in a, in VR because, and the reason for that is you're giving them instruction and they're having to move and the horizon of the instruction isn't the same as the horizon of what you're seeing the VR headgear and that plays tricks with the inner ear and it induces nauseousness. So we walked away from that and I said, well, let me look at AR. And I did some research in augmented reality specifically with the Hololens and I liked the Hololens, but the hollow and the Hololens for me is really a, in some ways always. It's a very sophisticated set of ar glasses. So it's already much more sophisticated than apple glasses will be, or apple ar glasses will be for many generations in that with hololens you have motion sensors attached and you can actually give physical commands to different things that motivate the experience or the menus. And uh, and, and then of course there's the price point attached. It's $3,000 new. And so while a fantastic technology, I was really, when I was looking at this medical application, I was enticed to but not convinced because this was a product that was to be rolled out to medical facilities across the country. And so in talking to I'm a software engineer and going back and forth, what we eventually came up with was an app with a motion tracker. And so that's how that particular project evolved from VR to AR to, oh no, this is just an app and emotion tracker and suddenly you're left with, oh, I'm not just a, an an xr producer or producer VR, AR and mixed reality technologies. I'm really a producer, director of technology. And so it's my job and this job agrees with me that I have to figure out when a client approaches me with an idea, I have to sort of figure out the technology that's most applicable to that idea, to realize the potential of that idea. And that seems really obvious. Um, it's sort of like when, you know, when I look back in my video production career, when people came to me with, hey, you know, you really need, we want to do this video. I would say, of course we're going to do a video. I do videos, that's what we do. And so, uh, you know that that sort of mindset, uh, was I think that still stayed with me as far as ar and VR. There's got to be one of those two things. But in fairness, in the latter part of my video career, when people, especially locally would come to me and video for a local business, it's still fairly expensive in terms of if you're going to be doing television advertising is you have to time buy. And that's oftentimes more expensive than creation of the video itself. And so when, you know, in that latter part of my video career, people would say I wanted to do commercial. It wasn't uncommon. I'd say, no, you really should get more into seo. That's what your website really needs. Or No, you really need to get with an advertising agency to help you sort of optimize your brand. And so I think just sort of that open mindedness when this recent project was presented to me, it was just sort of that I can create and I can help you in whatever technology that is. Anyway, I said, well, what's really creative about an amp? Well, you have to figure out what that user interfaces and um, so what does that visually look like? Who's that graphic artists that I'm going to bring on board to help me design that? But then you go deeper. It's sort of about what's that navigation? So you have to sign in with a username and a password and Olga that has to fall under Hipaa, which are federal laws to protect people's anonymity and medical records. And so you have to figure that out and you have to sort of figure out, um, what their experiences within that APP. And you know, some people might go, well that's not really creative. That sounds sort of horrible and sort of boring. But for me, it feels really creative that I can go up to a whiteboard and I started a flow chart, oh, we're going to go here and then the users going to go here and then they can choose this fork in the road. And that's cool, you know, I. and so all of that, whether you know, back to video or VR or ar or an APP, that's very much my sort of my process in that I am, I'm, I'm a, I'm a huge fan of outlines and flow charts. And I think by nature I'm, I've learned just to accept that I'm a very visual person and I do best. I'm in meetings with clients where I'm just listening, listening, listening. I'm not just listening because that doesn't, that doesn't work for me. I have to listen and type. And then after I type, I start organizing what they have said to me and say, then I can say, oh, so if I hear you correctly, you're looking to do this, this and this, and these have been the hurdles. And then they can, you know, they can add to that. And then after that, I can process what they've given me and that process. Um, there are some things that will be apparent based on my experience as an industry professional that, um, uh, so for instance, I was on a scout recently and the, um, the, the person giving me the scout of this educational facility said I can fill this with 120 people this hall. And I, you know, I was sort of stunned because the amount of times that I've been offered, that kind of amount of extras on a set is I can count them on one hand. And the fact that this guy had the power to do that in my professional career. I recognize that this was something special. I needed to take full advantage of that. So when we sat down, I really said, hey, okay, so what's it gonna take to get those people there and what times can we get those people there and how long can I have them for? And that allowed me to sort of build out a production schedule and it allowed me to formulate the script according to all of those assets. Now that's a little further down the creative the line than that initial brainstorm when you're getting all of this information in your writing in town, but I think that has more to do with just my experience as an industry professional in recognizing that, oh, I should take advantage of that. That's something special. Or you know, when we're in that initial brainstorming meeting when a client mentioned something and I can say, oh, that's interesting. Tell me more about that. Or maybe something a little daunting like, oh, I don't know about shooting this on the street at the, at the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder. I mean as far as permits go, are you really prepared to go that length? And it. It's just sort of all of that organization that again helps me write it down and then just sort of organize that from a creative standpoint.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:48:26 You touched on it a little bit, but I'd like to know around VR and ar and how do you see this moving forward with storytelling and and kind of where do you see it from here as you're continuing to iterate, especially with the crown and the other devices in the modules that you're creating, the apps and everything. How do you see this that, you know, as we're in this, we've kind of done the hype and now we're moving into sort of this, this escalation, this slow incline. Where do you see storytelling evolving with these technologies and from here?
John Bourbonais: 00:49:04 I think that with VR that when it was initially launched from a sort of Hollywood narrative structure perspective, people really wanted. They were exploring VR and there was a hype attached and there was this sort of, this is the next thing. This is the next big thing and we've seen this certainly with 3d and initially when four k rolled out, there's this, oh this is, this is it, this is, you know, this is something we have to get on board with. And I, I think there's some applications to it, but what I've also found and really appreciate is that technologies don't have to be everything. So in terms of VR, if he was just going to be video games and training and sort of trade show pieces or um, special events, like an x game piece, that's okay. It doesn't have to be the future of television, it doesn't have to be the future of motion picture production. And, and so I think that there's this experimentation that's going on and eventually there will be that realization that this isn't for everything. And I think Ed really sort of made its mark in that regard. I like going to three d movies. I think it's a cool, um, and I like having that in a theater experience, but people at home, it was just a different experience and it wasn't as cool of an experience. And um, and that's why I started three d went by the wayside as far as actually creating that story within VR. Um, I can only sort of speak to how that has evolved for me. Um, initially when I worked in the Er and I did south by southwest down in Austin, um, I think it was early 2016 when I took that project. We recorded a bunch of bands and uh, it was a cool gig and uh, and they were just breaking out. I won't get into that but don't get into that. But anyway, I don't know, I'm kind of titillated bottom lows is on the small stage was awesome. Dua Lipa or LIPPA was breaking out. There were a bunch of other, so it was really funny capture them in VR, but for the end user what we did, it was just a one camera and set up and so for the VR user, put a headgear on their head for three minutes and just have one camera position. You wouldn't want to do that in two d video and that really carries over to the IRA. Like you really don't want to sit for three minutes and watch something. And that's just not my opinion. That's me early on watching people take headgear off just going, okay, yeah, that's cool. But they wouldn't even sit through the for the whole three minutes and then we started experimenting with duration of edit and that that has gotten shorter and shorter and shorter until we've gotten to the point now where it's a new edit every eight to 12 seconds, a new shot, a new perspective, whether that's crown to drone to donnelly or whatever that is. It's moving, you know, it's, it's keeping the users engaged with something fresh visually. Now how much quicker that can get and still allow the user to really take in that three 60 experience or not even three 60 experience. Oftentimes the action is really just in 100 degrees, but it's still, it's not like today where it's just being fed to you in your eye, just looks at that rectangle. So you gotta look around and you know, and I think good VR makes you look around, not in back of you. And there's some exceptions to that, but for the most part they want to be turning your head because that's sort of the cool part of the Er. You get to look around evening, check it out, but you don't mind. Oftentimes when I do trade shows or I do special events, it's a swivel chair. So then people can rotate and really appreciate that. You want people in a solid lockdown chair where they can, they can have, they can't get to it. So I think if anything of that sort of visual storytelling, style is still evolving. Um, for me, what we've been playing around with, and this goes back to a rotating chair, is to keep motivating the viewer to be looking in a direction. And so as the experience continues, they're moving in their chair, they're rotating, but at the same time, and we've created this from a software perspective that if the person is looking here at something and the action to the next shot starts here, that the user can miss that action because they're looking in the wrong place. So one of the software pieces that we came up with early on is what we called compass in that if the VR user is looking like they've gone from here to here to look at whatever, when the next shot starts to make sure they don't miss the action, if they're looking here, that's where the next job starts. Yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:54:55 Yeah. I just saw, I was just going to speak to that. I just saw I'm a national geographic, did a three 60, have a scuba dive and they were showcasing that same thing. But that was one of the things I ran into in, uh, when I was watching it on youtube is that as I was moving the camera, my phone around my smartphone to watch it, it wouldn't guide me and I would miss something was, you know, there was a manta ray to my right with the diver that was not the camera. That was separately diving from the shot from the camera position. And so you would continue. I'd have to keep kind of looking around to see, okay, where's the action? I loved the piece but. And it was gorgeous obviously, but that was one of the things that I was thinking about is I have to keep taking the time to catch up to what I might miss in the time I'm trying to find it. Um, and so I was wondering about that kind of a thing. So it's interesting you brought that up.
John Bourbonais: 00:56:03 Yeah. And that realignment or that compass can realign in VR because VR is working off of essentially a gaming platform. So when you have a VR head get in your head, we use unity and truly, um, unity or unreal are the two major gaming platforms that VR is built off of. And so when you have a VR head gear on whoever makes that heavier, you can directly interact with unity to, um, customize the software so you can introduce a compass and you can introduce other pieces where you're watching three 60 video on youtube. You can not, uh, because they have their established platform and while you can use keys to navigate Arrow keys, you can't realign. And so that's, you know, whether Google will ever pursue that. Um, that's a tbd monetarily. If there's a reason for them to pursue that, they certainly could have. It's going to complicate their platform and I can only imagine how enormous the youtube platform is and the amount of storage and whatever all of that is that infrastructure, uh, but from a VR perspective, especially what we created in house, we have a lot of control over those experiences. And again, that's really a departure from video video. You shoot it, edit it. Yeah, your graphics, you do your swathing done with VR. There's sort of these layers of both in terms of visually how you're telling that story. Then auditorily, how you want to tell that story and motivate the VR user, but then you get into these sort of customization of the experience which most people, because they're so new into VR and they really haven't experimented, they haven't gotten into the trenches yet. Um, what I'm talking about will make sense. Things like compass will make perfect sense to them, but it's all still so fresh that they haven't really done enough projects yet to say, Oh yeah, this realignment issue is, it's really an issue. We really have to, you know, get a better sense also in terms of when we do drone work, um, this is just another little piece of experience when you and I sort of initially picture drone shot is that Oh, we're elevated and so we have to look down to really see what's going on. But the VR user doesn't want to look that far down. That's a weird on your neck and you don't want to do that. So what we've had, what we've figured out was looking down in VR to the ground is really just this and that's enough. You know, you started sort of tempted. So you know, if you really want, you can look back and you can see the drone there as far as seeing the ground is just this little notion that's the experience,
Gabe Ratliff: 00:59:21 One of the things that I immediately, also being a producer, I, I immediately want to question what you've...because I haven't been in this space with clients. Um, one of the reasons I wanted to chat with you is because I'm really fascinated about this, especially as I see these applications that you're rolling out a and others are rolling out like the Nat Geo that I mentioned. So one of the things I'm wondering is how does this affect production costs when you're communicating with a client and you have this vision of like how you can do education or training or you know, sporting events, uh, any kind of event really where you can utilize this kind of thing or utilize this kind of medium. How does that affect that conversation? You know, especially if you're working with say someone who they're already me as we know. Not everyone has the budgets that you get with agency work. And so I wonder how does that affect that, especially if it's like nonprofit, you know, medical is one thing, but when you get into education nonprofits and you start to kind of get in that realm where it's really impactful work, but maybe not as much money, how does that change that conversation?
John Bourbonais: 01:00:31 Well, a lot of, and I'll go back to Compass once that's created, I don't really, um, line item that software. Okay. That's what I'm bringing to the table. And that is, you know, one of the things I learned in video production and coming out of video production is that a lot of people do the same thing. And uh, I wanted to differentiate myself from the competition and one of the ways I could do that was both in terms of hardware crumb was a good example of that. But also in terms of software and you know, when I looked at that initial two years of VR research that I invested in, um, you know, my mindset was really not about how I was, how this would get billed or, or what I, how I was going to monetize that. It was really just about how I can tell a good story. And so going back to your point about, you know, how do you deal with that with clients 90 talk to them? I think an Audi have budget for that. That's one of the um, sort of, it's not only a credential, it's an asset that I bring that no one helps really bring. So it helps me differentiate myself further from the competition. It doesn't necessarily add anything to budget. Um, at that point I sort of look at it like that's been paid for and like different sort of pockets of software that I own, um, that's just in my back pocket and I'm unlike a canon five d or a new lens or a lighting package or whatever that is. You can't buy it. You have to go make it and people can do it, but good luck, you know. So, um, so again, I don't still to this day, I don't really make efforts to monetize it. It's a, and there are some exceptions to that. Um, once we get into sort of the quantitative analysis of uh, people taking training modules that was designed as a subscription based system. And so when a company embarks on that and contract is under contract to utilize the training, um, they have to pay us both for production, but also they have to pay us monthly if they want to access those analytics for how their employees are doing for those training modules that answer your question.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:03:27 It does. I was just also kind of thinking around, you know, save for other producers out there that don't have this in their back pocket like yourself, but want to look into this arena to transition their methods for storytelling. I was trying to think about, you know, some of those folks out there who are not to that extent that you've gone with your own proprietary things, but that are maybe looking to evolve their, their, their storytelling capabilities and what this looks like for them, not just in budget, but also how does that conversation change? Um, you are obviously fortunate to have this as something that you've been developing. And again, that's, that's the thing that I am really impressed about with you is that you are early to hd and similarly you have gone early into VR and ar and so you, you've been leading the way with your own proprietary products like crown, um, to be able to solve for those things. And you've been doing this for several years now, so you're, you're way ahead on it. I was just kind of thinking as this is becoming something that we're now on this incline of more and more people are going to start dipping their toe, you know. Are there any, any thoughts that you have around that, whether it's with the budget or, or just speaking to clients about if they have that interest and how they can kind of approach it from that Lens?
John Bourbonais: 01:04:59 Well, you know, initially when I got into VR I did a series of just camera tests on how does this stuff work and how did it edit and what are the limitations of this technology. Back then we were using phones in VR head gear, which is still fairly common. We've moved on to all, in one units a specifically, we use the Pico neo quite a bit, but um, you know, you start, you do your initial experimentation just like people did in video, you know, what people do now and video is a shoot with their phones or whatever, you know, that's probably the most successful camera that people have and they start experimenting. Then they start editing it and they start getting a handle on it. And so very much in, in high definition. And then VR, I fell a long, you know, it was just experimentation and then I landed that first job which was south by southwest and um, and then I saw what I'd like to, what I didn't like about that. And, and then it just continues to evolve that I need these tools and I need, I need to tools in terms of hardware tools, in terms of software. And, you know, my path is really my own. How mainstream my pathway eventually become. I don't know at this point, uh, but I, but I get to choose. And so to go back to your question, I think that people who are interested in VR, they have to sort of doing VR and they have to start crafting their own story. What do I need for hardware and what do I need for software? And I told people in video production for years that the best camera you can own is the one that makes you money. And so if you've got a client that is like they're doing real estate, do I need a $5,000, Insta, three 60 rig with a microwave feed so I can look at the monitor or do I need to use instastory 60 rig that the first generation rig that I can pick up for two grand? Or do I just need a Rico Theta that I can pick up for a couple of hundred dollars bucks? And if the client is happy with that initial endeavor, great, you've succeeded. You've. You've not lost too much money. Maybe even you made money. You've educated yourself, you've understand the limitations of the technology. You understand from a producer, director, camera person what you want more. And if that monetarily makes sense. So when I did that initial south by southwest, we shot with six go pros in a, in a camera rig that was cut from a three d printer and so, or three d printer. And so that's evolved considerably since that time. But that really satisfied for that south by southwest group. They looked at it afterwards, they're like, oh wow, this is cool. And what about these scenes that I'm seeing here? Why? Why doesn't this match up? Well, it's because this person got within three feet the camera or six feet within the camera and we can't make that perfect just because of some of the physics involved in is stitching process. And again, that goes back to the education. So, um, you know, as far as, um, you know, how you talk to clients about it, I really think it's just based on your experience and that if you don't have any experience, if you haven't, not even shot, but you haven't really researched it online as far as what people are doing or what technologies are out there, what's been really successful for the industry that you're talking to that client about lesson done, that research. You don't really have anything to say to the client. You know, if anything, you're wasting the client's time. You have to come into that client meeting with at least Salon de about this is what's being done. This is where I think we should go. Or just say, you know, I know this guy in Colorado Springs, he's really good on VR. Call Him. Yeah. Well you got, but you know, you have to. It was explained to me years ago by a really seasoned, um, gaffer name of George Tag who's since retired and he said, ours is a service industry and that, and I've really sort of held that to be true. That what we, what we provide to people is a service and that service can take the form of a video or radio commercial or a virtual reality module, but it's. It is a service industry. It is. It's a service that we're providing and unless you've done your research, whether that's in the field actually using equipment and edited or just are indeed, you're not sort of, you're not bringing to the table what you should.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:10:04 Yeah. Agreed. Thank you. I just, one of the things I definitely want to be covering is you know, those types of things for folks that are maybe younger in this arena as well as folks that have no idea what this is, you know, part of what you're bringing to this conversation is so much knowledge and information, which is why I wanted to obviously talk to you and send you clients that need that. You were speaking just a moment ago about the technologies that are out there. Can you, can you, can you talk to maybe some of those technologies or advancements that are coming out or that people should be aware of that are. I mean, you've mentioned some, some people that you support, um, with what you're doing is, are there things. I just read something but I think it's the oculus go sounds like a pretty interesting piece of technology that they're about to put out or putting out.
John Bourbonais: 01:11:06 Yeah, Oculus has always been interesting for me because it's backed by facebook and facebook has been a proponent of VR really since the beginning when they purchase Palmer Lucky's company and for what was recorded to be $2,000,000,000, which is just crazy to me that relationship fell apart for reasons that some are publicly disclosed, some are not. But the bottom line is facebook is very interested in this technology and I actually posted on linkedin today, I'm one of the pieces are tied to the Oculus go, um, in which people will go to live events, be in the front roll with a buddy. And now how sort of that looks like in the example I post it on Linkedin was an NBA game. Yeah. It's a video worth watching. So it's an Avatar of myself and let's pretend I'm in California. So if my buddy is an Avatar by him, but he's got a head gear on in New York and suddenly we're court side and we're talking about the game, that's cool. And now facebook or Oculus or this past summer had a number of sporting events, a number of concerts at red rocks up in Denver that you can do that. You could through what's called venue in a, in Oculus, in the go. You can meet people socially, added avatars of yourself and you can go to a concert and you can either do that as a group. You can do that individually. You can do that where you communicate with people around you, strangers around you or you're the only one there. So there's a ladder. A lot of latitude as to what that experience could be. Wow. And I think that's interesting about the video that I posted this morning. What I almost posted, and I and I didn't because I was a little tight on time, was it in some ways the video that was posted wasn't just service. And what I mean by that is everything in that video was 10 80 p, the two d video that we watched in our flat screens was 10 80 p. Now what do you think of it in terms of a viewer looking at a two d screen for the sake of this conversation. And to summarize the math, that's about 90 degrees and then 90 degrees what we're seeing 10 80 p is close to two k, so I'm just going to say it's a two k image, two image at 90 degrees VR. And what that experience would be wearing an oculus go VR is 360. So if you would take that 10 80 p or that two k experience, spread it out over hundred and 60 degrees. When you're looking here, you're looking at something 90 degrees that has the resolution of what standard definition video looked like. When we look at that image now we would generally say that looks bad. And so, you know, in this, in this video that I put out on Linkedin, it all looks super cool and Oh my God, this is amazing and the colors are so vibrant because it's high definition and it's the experience we expect once you put on that head gear that is not the experience, the experience is something much lower resolution. And um, and, and that is a significant, a distraction from what that experience currently is now where that technology is going to go. If you say in three to five years, is eight k VR going to be an issue? Nope, right now. And so while eight k VR seems crazy, but going back to that simple math breakdown, eight k divided by four is two K and 360 degrees divided by four is 90 degrees and now we have a two k 90 degree image. And that's the resolution we've come to expect. There's often articles about the increased resolution in many displays. There's a lot of people working hard at making those imagers a possibility when you think historically we've never had a need for oil led screens that are an inch and a half across. If anything, the consumer in the United States has gone in the opposite direction. We want to see as big as we can for as cheap as we can as we can. And you can now you can buy a 65 inch, four K television for $500 for black Friday. And so over the course of 10 years over the course of flat screens, that's where it's come. That's how it's evolved. But if you look back at early high definition televisions that were as big as a refrigerator, they were just these huge bulky things that they were light. Um, you could, you could enlist, enlist it was to base. But my first edition television was, um, I forget what the technology, it's a dlp and essentially it bounces off the back and it projects onto the screen. Same thing. I got one upstairs and you know, you had to look at them at a certain angle. If you've got two off access to colors got wonky and weird VR and a lot of ways with the head gear is in that same evolution where manufacturers have a consumer electronics are starting to figure out how does this work and how do we get these images are super small and super high resolution and what kind of process or do we need to go from that hard drive to get to those images. So there's a lot of those in terms of consumer electronic manufacturers and technology manufacturers who are making those individual components. We're hard at work to bring a more viable experience to VR.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:17:43 Yeah. What, what about, um, I'm curious about trends in specific areas of VR, like, like we were talking about education, training, entertainment, sports. What trends are you seeing that are coming with where those are each kind of going? This episode is brought to you by [inaudible]. Are you an artist, creator, entrepreneur that creates with purpose and wants to make the world a better place? If so, good. Thora is your media company. We tell the world about your brand through storytelling rather than sales pitches. Like most other companies get is committed to getting to the heart of your brand and its mission, so you don't just have fans, but super fans that will support you for years to come. Let us tell your story today. Learn more at [inaudible] dot com,
John Bourbonais: 01:18:35 I think the past couple months and revealed a lot about what the strengths of the technology are and what the weaknesses of the technology are. So from a strengths perspective, I'll cite Walmart. So Walmart is the number one on the fortune 500 list in VR training or they became involved very early on. And um, from a technology standpoint, Walmart has impressed me over time. Now it's, it's odd because you think of Walmart as sort of this simple company, at least I did, that sells items at a really low price. And what sort of caused that mindset started to shift was the day that I learned that as soon as you checkout at Walmart and whatever it is you bought, that automatically goes into a list of some type that says that inventory has to be replaced. There is no one counting things on shelves at Walmart. You know, you buy three cases of Pellegrino, they know, three cases of Pellegrino that's going to be loaded on the next, um, next semi and that sort of fascinated me. Then you could streamline a process such as that. So it was about two years ago when Walmart started experimenting with VR in terms of training and also in terms of creating a online virtual reality retail experience. And it was just over a year ago the Walmart, um, it became public that they had purchased a virtual reality company that specialized in creating VR retail experiences. And so what happened then about two months ago, it was announced that Walmart was shipping 17,000 head gear VR head here to their 4,500 stores. That to me, because so much of my focus has been training and that's what I really believe the strengths of VR to be was a nice affirmation because unlike high definition where you had the federal government saying this is how it's going to be by 20,000 by 2006. Eventually that was pushed to 2009. Then 2010. There is no federal government looking over virtual reality that is strictly a private endeavor. And so what I do is I look for signs like what facebook is doing, what Google is doing, and then Walmart and when they're sending that many head, you're out. I say, oh, that's good. I'm on the right path. What also happened within weeks of that was there was a shakeup at facebook and the director of the, um, there, oculus rift, resigned, was fired. I don't know what the circumstances were, but there was a shakeup and I don't really know the circumstances behind that. But if I can look at, if I look at the VR consumer market, I'm suspicious that it hasn't grown as fast as people like facebook and Google had hoped. It's been my experience. So when I put a VR head gear on someone, they're generally impressed with the experience of it. And so I take note of that, but I also take note that it is a very immersive experience that you don't participate with other people. And so from a training perspective, that's great because you totally got their attention. They can text, they can check their smartphone, they they're just doing VR and there's a huge benefit for training, but from a sort of a sociological interactive position, VR is bad with the exception of something like facebook venue where you meet fellow friends slash avatars in the VR space and now you're communicating. That's cool, but I think the bottom line is that hasn't exploded or hasn't grown as I think facebook oculus and others had thought it would grow. Now there's A. There's another story that I just wanted to share because I think it's warranted and it also sheds light on, at least from my generation that there's a lot I don't understand about other generations and I'm wondering if facebook and others have made this mistake. So I was, I was meeting with a potential client and he had mentioned that he bought a Samsung phone, I think it was like a galaxy six or galaxy seven and he got a head gear with it, but he never. And he just said, I ain't gotta deal with it. I said, oh, so let me guess. It ended up in your closet. He said, no, my seven year old daughter uses it to watch netflix. Oh, so the resolution of this is so much less than you're really cool high definition flat screen, but this is what your seven year old is choosing to watch television with. I don't have an explanation for that. I don't understand why that is. But the other part of it is I don't have to have to understand consumer adaptation because that's not where my area of focus is. My area of focus is training and sort of these one offs that the majority of consumers really haven't seen either VR or cool VR. And so if I'm doing something at south by southwest or doing something at the x games or the Olympic trials, whatever that is, um, as long as my experience was a cool one, that's going to have enough. And whether or not every consumer in the country owns the VR edgier doesn't that, that's not really relevant to my world is really relevant to facebook into what Google is aspiring and maybe even Sony playstation VR. But, um, so what, what I, I think to get back to your question as far as this sort of, these trends in technology or these trends in VR, I certainly see training is evolving, um, and I certainly in based on Walmart and just starting my own personal experiences and there's probably 50 companies now, ups, Pepsi, KFC, Boeing, um, Volkswagen and others that are really sort of jumping into this VR training arena and okay, we know that's viable. We know that people from a quantitative standpoint learn better in VR. We know that, um, for fortune 100 companies, fortune 500, 500 companies who had people to look at those analytics about teaching and learning, they're learning, they're learning that VR is a viable education too, so that, that will find its way that will continue to evolve. Um, but I think the trends in consumer, um, are not as vast as, um, as the training trends in VR. Yeah. Went on too long there.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:26:49 No, no, I, I totally agree. I think that's, that's what your, that's what I'm seeing as well, you know, I think it was Sony, you mentioned them. Um, you know, the htc Oculus, all these guys jumped in real early and had been really working hard on it. Um, but I, I feel like that's the same thing that you were just saying like it's just, it's, it's, it's a slower evolution to get that buy in and to get to the level that people are now have been established with hd and four K for their viewing experiences and for you know, video like just like video games. I mean video games started with, you know, the commodore and Atari and are now ridiculous. Uh, and you can carry it around with you get a ticket, switch with you in your car and come back home, plug it right in and play the game. You were just playing. I mean that's completely evolved. We got mobile games and our phones so agreed. I mean it just takes longer I think to get to that scale. Whereas similar with, you know, military applications, training, medical, there's all these other arenas where obviously that's going to, I think elevate at a more escalated rate or at a hiring more increased rate. There's more money there. There's more reason for it, there's more purpose. I mean, that was part of what happened with, you know, um, you know, the black ops and those, um, military training games essentially was that, those were kind of paving the way for now. That's what they trained with when they're back in their barracks or for years now they've been doing that, um, and you know, and then that's continued to escalate up and the consumer level from it. So that totally makes sense. Um, what would you say your goal or mission is with this work with VR and ar? Like where, where are you sort of setting your sights? I imagine you are, you strike me more as a north star for you more than letting your client work guide you because you're more of a. So I, I'd miss curious, how do you sort of set your sights in the future for, you know, where you're trying to take what you're doing. I mean, you're diving into APP development, you're doing, you know, the crown, you're doing all of these things that you've been developing with your team. What are you, sort of, based on what you've just shared, where do you kind of see the future for you and your work?
John Bourbonais: 01:29:30 Well, the North Star, uh, mentioned was interesting. Um, and I think it's a combination that will sort of continue my trajectory every time I've done a VR project or an ar project, um, I, I find that I need more tools or I need something customized or um, I try things for the first time sometimes it can be really basic. I did a VR piece recently where we were shooting car to car, so, uh, there was a, there was a, um, a three 60 camera rig on the dashboard of car number one and that you can certainly see the driver of car number one, but in the car next to it you could only see the driver from here down [inaudible]. And that was really interesting. You know, I looked at that in the edit and I thought, let's not show our hand right away. Let's just see that person from here down is they're saying something to that driver and car number one. And so that's from a very sort of subjective, so it's, it's the cinematography style is what it is, it's an aesthetic that you're going to choose that kind of shot in the piece, but as I move forward, then that's going to be in the back of my head is, hey, that was really interesting way to tell this story, this last piece I did, maybe I want to do that again. And so whether it's from that visual aesthetic level or whether it's with compass compass came out of necessity where I needed a way to realign things or the back office piece that runs the analytics and the quantitative analysis that came out of necessity. And so as I take on projects, I sort of build my toolbox because I bake is out create based on what the project warrants and, uh, learn based on where the project takes me. Um, and I, I find that I'm working on a project right now. Um, it's called aftermath and the aftermath is an hr. That was my next question, what aftermath? That was my next question. Okay. Good. Aftermath is a really a human resources piece, um, that I've taken on myself. And so when I started getting involved in video and then initially when I got involved in high definition, when I'm doing that experimentation, I find myself sort of gravitating towards more of a documentary approach when I'm experimenting. So I wanted to take this sort of project on, um, and it was motivated by the chrome because again, the crown allows you to be embodied in another person and I thought it would be really interesting to be embodied in people that had been discriminated against. And so over the course of the day I interviewed 14 different people and heard their stories, listen to their stories of discrimination and eventually had those transcribed and had been reenacting them, usually with those actual people on camera along with actors in it. And, and so from just a personal perspective, what I learned from that about discrimination. And you know, one of the most blatant things I've learned, and unless you're a white male, you have a story of discrimination. I shouldn't say a white, straight male. You have a story of discrimination. You can talk to any coworker who's a female or non straight or whatever that is minority. They all have stories. I don't have a story. You have a story, but. No, no, no. We don't have stories. They have tons of stories and so I'm just from the get go. That was obvious to me and then as I'm sort of exploring what stories I'm going to cover, I was talking to a friend of mine, his name's Joe and I'm. I was sharing with him. Out of the 14 people that I interviewed, two of them had stories of racial profiling by the police and that sort of struck me because it was disproportionate to, out of those 14 people that two of those people are wanting seven had a police interaction and it caused me to pause, but I wanted to recreate those stories and my friend Joe said to me, he said, why don't you do a story too from a police perspective? Oh, okay. That seems worthwhile. So let me start exploring that. So it was just a couple of days ago, I was talking to a sheriff's deputy who's, who's been really helpful with training modules for police officers and he said, you know, I've got this, uh, a friend of mine is a black police officer and he's been in situations before surrounded by white people like he's treated as a second class citizen as opposed. Yeah. And um, that never occurred to me and, and so that's just another, you know, that's sort of on a personal level where I become enlightened as to what other people in our world deal with as far as discrimination goes, but on a different level then, um, you know, as far as telling that story and the tools that I create or the narrative structures that I create are all gamed. And so I gained personally, I gained professionally. And then when I get out into the next project, I take all of that with me. And um, I, I find that to be extremely satisfying.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:36:15 Yeah. I mean that, that's part of what happens for me with this show. I mean, that's, I scratch is just like this, but I also attained such knowledge that I'm not expecting. Um, and that's, that's part of what I'm hoping to share with, with others, whether that be younger creatives or entrepreneurs or inventors or whoever that be just people in general. Um, you know, because I'm also having, you know, coaches and um, you know, a wide breadth of types of people out there that are doing great work and so there's all kinds of things you can, you can take from these experiences that we all have, which is part of what I love about podcasting and being able to have these, these types of connections. It's just like what you're talking about with say, facebook venue. You know, where you can, if you could just be you and a buddy watching a game or a concert or having a dialogue just like this. Just in a different experience, a different visual experience as well. I guess complete experience really. And so yeah, that's one of the things that I really love about these is when we get to tap into these stories in, in, in I love hearing these kinds of things happened. I was actually just reading that article about the discrimination and the hr work you know, and how and where that's going and absolutely wonderful to, to read that, you know, and see that that's another application for this and I love that was what I loved about the fact that where the crown separates that from other things is that you are embodied in that person. So you get to live in that experience in a whole new way as opposed to just seeing it in a two day, two d storytelling venue or platform that we're so used to for 100 years. You know, now it's this whole new way for you to not only really connect to that story, but you're actually the person it's happening to, you know, you're not just seeing it in a new way. You're the person that's happening to you. I mean, that's just mindblowing that, that is now kind of a jumping off point for us too. That's sort of what I was thinking about when I was thinking when I was pondering that question around how this changes storytelling because I feel like that is a game changer. When I read that article and was thinking about, Gosh, what does that, when I was, you know, some of the other pieces that I've watched of yours where I'm seeing that from that perspective through being captured by the crown. I was like, man, that is, that is mind blowing to me that that's where we are now able to go and, and you can actually sit in the shoes of someone else. You can actually walk in those shoes and the applications you can have for that. And like, I mean, gosh, I mean say for Ptsd for veterans, you know? And, and, and being able to see what that's like for someone who's going through these things and what that could look like and all the different applications that can happen. I, I'm actually really interested in personally how that can, um, evolve education for say photography, right? Like if you're in that kind of a space where you can actually be with an educator or an instructor teacher, what have you, and be in that kind of space as someone who wants to learn, you know, say landscape photography, how can that evolve how we teach creative acts, you know, painting, you know, when you're actually sitting there with someone or you know, could it be Picasso, you know, could it actually be someone who existed, could it be po, you know, Paula, could it be, you know, whoever or are you that person you know and you're actually being able to kind of see how they work. The, the, I don't know, I just started kind of go off on my own imagination about the applications for this because of what that does as a viewer and as a person experiencing the story or whether it's education or training or something that's fictional per se. I mean, either way I just feel like, for me, this started to, it was kind of like you start peeling the layer and you just realize there's way more layers beneath it, you know, and applications for this that can, um, stuff we haven't even thought of yet, you know, so that, that was what got me really excited as I started to kind of unpack this, you know, I feel like you are really akin to me. I keep, I keep having this thought of you really remind me a lot of James Cameron in the way that he was quite a compliment. But I feel like that's something that, what I hear him say, right, just like with the abyss, with Avatar, with the, I'm sorry, with titanic. And then with Avatar, he's done those same things as he's worked on these projects where he and his team will create technologies to solve for the things he needs to do, to tell the story, you know, in Avatar took several more years to make because he had to invent what he needed to do it, you know. And so, um, that I just, I dunno, he just kept popping in my mind as you were, as you were speaking. I was like, Oh man, this is totally the same, you know, and I just feel like that really seems to be, I feel like such a magnificent element to be able to have as not only a storyteller but just to be in this industry to be able to let yourself also have that growth and expansion to be able to say I'm not just this and that change that I need to change to be able to continue to grow. And with that change I'm now able. I now in pushing these things and scratching these itches at the same time, you know, getting into APP development, getting into software, hardware, all of those things that come along with it. And I just, I just think I just wanted to say that because I feel like that deserves calling out because that really can be something that we in this industry get trapped in. You know, you're like, I'm waiting for the next technology to come out with my camera and then I'll get that new camera or, or I love my old camera because like I say, you have a hustle blot or, or what have you, and you're like, I love that. Or You, you know, the Alexa who needs anything else or a red, you know, you get these, these, um, beliefs and things that get said, you know, cemented in the industry where people are just like, yeah, this is what you got to use. And you can just kind of fall into that trap of like, this is what's out, this is what adobe has put out, or this is what resolve resolve is and this is what they're doing to Vinci and, you know, the computer, what does that limit have and you know, and all those things. But to then take the next step and say, no, I'm going to make my own thing and I'm going to solve this problem and scratch this itch I have. I think that really is just another level that is commendable. You know? And I think it's also just worth, that's part of what I want, why I wanted to share your story on the show because I love that initiative and that drive to keep growing in an industry where you could just be growing with the industry, you know, and, and, you know, and that's something that with hd that was a big shift going from analog cameras. I saw that when I got into the industry, I saw that shift as you did and that was a big shift for a lot of people, you know. But then as the cameras got lighter and they got better, people start going, oh wait, maybe this was a good way to go. Anyway, I just, I don't want to ramble, but I really did want to kind of call out where I was coming from with that.
John Bourbonais: 01:44:23 I just wanted to add that I think this was a realization that I had in 2014, 2015 when I was sort of reassessing, you know, sensing that the industry was shifting. And I talked about that a bit earlier. Um, there was sort of this realization that myself and a lot of other people, a lot of our self identity is wrapped up in our career, a lot of who we perceive ourselves as being and what we want other people to perceive us as being. There's a, it's complicated, but there's a lot of ego attached and there's, there's a lot to it. And it was during that time of just sort of reflection and like I said to a lot of playing a lot of mountain biking, a lot of skiing and snowboarding, a lot of different things that I started came the point where I realized, Oh, well, John Bourbonais has not just that John Bourbonais, he does a lot of different things. This is just what John Berman he has done for his work to make money. And that's not to say there's not a lot of enjoyment in things wrapped into that, but that's not who I am. That's not all of who I am. And so I think when I was looking to expand, um, from a technological perspective, um, that was a fairly easy transition to me because I had already sort of put aside this idea that I was strictly a producer, director, camera operator of video production. I was, I was more than that. And so now I can be into VR and it can be in the air and I can be in all this different technology and I don't have to be that. It can be something I can be whatever I want to be. And uh, that was extremely liberating and remains liberating. And I was talking to my wife about that last week that Leanne and I, you know, I never thought I would sort of be at this place, but it's a great place. And then there's that other part of taps that I don't have a boss and I can come to work when I want. I can leave when I want and I can make my mistakes. And fortunately I'm pretty self motivated guy. And you know, I'm usually at the office by seven or sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later. Um, and I feel like sort of this drive to, to continue and to continue to create, um, but, but I think ultimately there's, there's this great freedom not being, not just sort of say my self identity is just this and there's also this, this incredible flexibility that goes along with being self employed.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:47:00 Yeah. Agreed. Well, because, you know, for me, my story is I was corporate creative for years and years and uh, you know, several startups and I love that. I. What I didn't realize at the time is what I loved about startups is it was that young, nimble, virile, energetic, not old corporate or you know, large old corporation. It was, it was this young energetic environment. But what I really took from that when I left was an I, I chose to go this path of self employed was that, that was where I was really was. What I didn't realize I wanted was to, to not to be my own boss, captain, my own ship, blood, sweat and tears for my own dream. And you know, being able to figure out my own ways to give back and to serve others. And not continuing to give those blood, sweat and tears for somebody else's dream that they could always take away from me. And, and because of the, my last startup I was laid off, it was a huge layoff in the production department and you know, it was just months before the sale and totally understandable. We cranked out a ton of work. I did 150 feature film or feature shows, feature length shows and within what, three and a half years. So, I mean it was a lot of work and loved it, but I wasn't mine, you know, and, and I gave every bit of me to it, but once it was taken away and I had nothing I could do about it and there was no way for me to do anything about it. It was a big decision to make, you know. But that was one of the things that came out of it for me. It was stepping back, taking that time to do that self, um, you know, being more introspective and really, you know, trying to like assess where things were and what really was important to me. That was what came out of it, was recognizing that I really wanted to devote myself to something but not somebody else's, something I just needed to take, figure out my own something and then run with that and see where that goes. You know, and that's the beauty of it, just like you said, is that that can continue to evolve and I think that's what's beautiful about this path is that it can evolve and you're not just a technician, you're not just a DP, you're not just a producer, you're not just, you're all those things and they all add up to give you that insight as you continue to evolve to be able to solve those problems, to create the next thing that you need for that next project or from that project that you were like, oh, this could be even better. You know, I, I connect with that. I wanted to ask you about the crown. Is that gonna stay proprietary or is that something that you're also looking to get out into the market or how does that look?
John Bourbonais: 01:50:00 Well, it just point being through the fifth generation, we're, and now it's a number of components. It was originally like one cut out of a three d printer and then we would add our camera pieces to it. Now it's multiple pieces which makes it more flexible and uh, we're still just sort of tweaking some of the materials like last time we used it and that's why I was talking to the three p three d printer this morning was um, the um, the three d printing sort of gave way and a couple of thin areas. So we're using harder plastics or this time out and the thought is that, um, we'll probably run another couple days of testing on it and then it'll be ready for patent.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:50:50 Nice. Great. I imagine so, but I just wanted to kind of have this moment to ask and see if that was the case and where that stood. What is an xr experience? I know it's extended reality cross reality. I was reading about that, but I was wondering if you get it because this is new to me. I had not actually come across this in my research over the last year or two around VR. What, what is that?
John Bourbonais: 01:51:16 Xr is a brand new umbrella term that represents VR, ar and Mr. Mr is mixed reality. So to give an example of that, of what Mr is because most people know at ar and VR is Mr is if you were going to use a VR head gear, um, and the camera in that head gear so you can see the real world that you're seeing an electronic representation of the real world and then you're adding pieces to that that certain resemble augmented reality, like a graphics over, like that's an example of a mixed reality experience. So suddenly ar and VR and Mr in that context all become sort of jumbled. And so what has arisen is what people are just calling xr. Um, and that's a term that's just evolved over the past four to eight weeks or the first time I've seen it, but it's getting acceptance pretty quickly.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:52:26 I kind of figured we would be getting there at some point, you know, we're saying VR, Ar, Mr. and then, you know, when you're trying to have a conversation about it, it starts to get a little redundant when you're trying to just talk about this xr universe, you know, and what that looks like. So, okay, thanks for explaining that because I, I saw that and I was like, I think this is what that means. But when you read about it, it seems a little. Um, it seems a little vague because, but as you said, it's still so new. So that makes sense. So, um, what is your favorite documentary or movie and why?
John Bourbonais: 01:53:07 Favorite documentary? What comes to mind? Just first, I don't know if this is my favorite, but it's the one that came to mind is hearts of darkness and it's a story of an Eleanor Coppola, Francis, his wife. I'm shot a sort of a behind the scenes documentary when Francis was making apocalypse now. And uh, it was a great, uh, sort of behind the scenes of how a filmmaker of his stature takes risks and, and puts together a motion picture. So that one's sort of comes to mind. Um, but I also like eyes on the prize and I light a, you know, a lot of Ken Burns' work and that type of documentary too. I actually just was watching something on Netflix a two nights or three nights ago called film maker to words and it is the story of an actor who became Stanley Kubrick's assistant and made the move from in front of the camera where he was really widely recognized in the UK to someone entirely behind the camera working with Stanley Cooper. So that was my recent favorite.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:54:20 Wow. And what about movie
John Bourbonais: 01:54:26 Favorite all time movie?
Gabe Ratliff: 01:54:27 Yep. Well, I know that's a tough one for a lot of us. How about this? This is a new question we've been playing around with. What about the movie that most resonates with you? Maybe not your favorite movie. That's kind of a tough one, but what about the movie that most resonates with you?
John Bourbonais: 01:54:46 Um, well I just watched limitless last night and I don't know how many times I've watched Bradley Cooper and Lumens Bliss, but um, it's a fun trip. Yeah, individual style is incredible. And I was watching the behind the scenes and the making of last night and um, and actually the b camera operator of that, Kent Harvey, uh, is a Colorado native who moved out to la about 15 years ago and has gone on in his career to do amazing things. So I like the idea of limitless and just to keep going and be in charge of your destiny right now. My favorite all time movie, but it's up there.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:55:28 I just rewatched that again, myself. Actually That's a fun one.
John Bourbonais: 01:55:32 It is.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:55:33 Especially the idea of that, you know, being able to have that expansion of your abilities. Um, what is the best or worthwhile investment you've made? It could be an investment of money, time, energy, resource. And how did you decide to make that investment?
John Bourbonais: 01:55:54 Hmm. Well, um, when I was growing up, my mom worked in the prison system in Wisconsin as a counselor and um, it was really early on that, um, I can still remember being taken to a soup kitchen and serving when I was, um, I was probably, I was probably about nine or 10 years old. And um, and so those experiences and sort of what you get out of those experiences, um, how you feel like you're really serving a stayed with me. And so when I finished my undergraduate, I moved from Wisconsin to Colorado to volunteer and I was a full time volunteer at a house that was the hospitality house I mentioned earlier. Any eventually, you know, I got a job waiting tables at an old Chicago and I was and um, to this day, although Bizu house is really closed and it Mesa House now and every Sunday I cook for about three hours for anywhere from like eight to a dozen guys. And I go do the shopping and I buy everything myself. And you know, like this past week we had burritos, breakfast burritos with eggs and I made guacamole and salsa and then bacon and Tater tots. And, um, I still feel sometimes that's the best work I do all week. And so I think from an investment standpoint, I think you'll really giving of yourself. And I've done this now for, it's hard to believe, but you know, coming up on 30 years. But I find that, um, what you learned about yourself and you learn about other people, is it just sometimes it just takes my breath away. Like this past Sunday I was talking to this guy as a new resident at the house. We just did 25 years in jail in a federal penitentiary and I didn't get into the crimes or what that was. And he's very, he's very high end and communicative and I'm grateful for, you know, what I would, I cook on Sunday mornings, but it just sort of just sort of have to pause when you spent 25 years in jail. And if I wasn't volunteering at Mesa, I was, I would never have an opportunity to get to know people. And what I, what I tend to find is in those experiences, don't just sort of simplify them as a criminal who did 25 years. You learn about their background and their upbringing and oftentimes sort of the dysfunctionality attached to that upbringing. And then you can start, see, you can make a correlation between how they were brought up and then what that, what criminality led them to jail. And again, that's all just experienced, gained from volunteering.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:58:56 Yeah, I hear that a lot. You know, that that can be the most fulfilling and sometimes even eye-opening as far as something you were maybe missing in life or, or, or just, you know, being able to have those connections with people. Um, I hear that a lot from people I volunteered here and there too. I'm a big advocate for uh, uh, it's Denver Comic Con, but it's pop culture classroom. They're now calling it Denver pop culture con, uh, to kind of unify the branding. But, you know, we take our niece and nephew and I volunteer every year, uh, and I, it's, um, it taps into my passions as I grew up as an artist and loving comics and graphic novels. But just the concept of storytelling and being able to be this thing bigger than and larger than yourself, you know, that those characters can instill in you and the morals that come out of it and that in the real world, the comradery of these events and being able to end the, the non-judgment and that kind of communal space that they create. But then the work that pop culture classroom is doing is it's helping teach people, prisoners, women, um, you know, people have, you know, lower class, have lower education. It's helping them learn to read through comics because it's an easier format. And so, you know, there's just a lot of things that they do that I think really hit a lot of notes for me, but then getting to also go there and, you know, give that experience to my niece and nephews, just so much fun and getting to get dressed up and we just have a blast, you know, but this knowing that it's also doing this really great work in several different ways. That's awesome. I thank you for, for doing that. That's, that's amazing. Thirty years. That's a lot of commitment. It goes fast. Yeah. Copy that. Um, do you have a quote that you live your life by or that you think of often?
John Bourbonais: 02:01:13 Well, one that comes to mind is what I learned in high school from a cross country coach that I had that life is lived forwards and learn backwards. And so, um, you know, that certainly resonates a, but, you know, oftentimes when I experiment and, uh, their shortcomings, that experiment, I never, I've, I've gone beyond the point is I look at those as failures. There was no one there to show me that, that was not going to succeed. So I really just look at those instances as ongoing education and so, um, it's a great sort of, once you come to peace with the fact that, hey, I'm not everything by nature, you're not going to get 100 percent out of the gates. It's a, it's easier to embark and just that first step, right? Yeah. What advice would you give to your 25 year old self? I've often thought in my twenties as um, and in one sense it was really true to myself and that I, I, uh, moved from Wisconsin to volunteer, which is crazy. My girlfriend and I had $800 between us. We move out to Colorado and just sort of start a life. Um, and so, you know, I was volunteering, I was trying to get a career in video production going, um, I got into d'you for Grad school and then eventually landed a job with the Olympic Committee. But during my twenties I'm like really felt like it was sort of this ongoing sort of struggled trying to get things together. Uh, but in hindsight, and I don't think I really realized this until the end of my thirties, early forties, I was doing exactly what I shouldn't have been doing because I was. What I was doing was I was just sort of following my passion and, you know, a lot of my friends were getting the typical job and you know, buying their first car and having a mortgage and getting married and doing all those things. And comparatively I was just sort of this craze, live wire who was John's out in Colorado and he's volunteering is turning in total hippie and whatever. Um, but I, but I think it ultimately goes back to you're not being seduced with money and comfort, but actually, you know, finding your own, finding your own way. And when I looked back, that was one of my early steps in just sort of divergent lifestyle where people said, Oh God, don't leave the Olympic Committee. That's the best job you're ever going to have. And they leave the Olympic Committee and dole out to la because it's going to take you forever to fit in there. And then I moved out to La and then don't get on this boat. You're going to die on this boat in the middle of the ocean and don't buy that Sony camera because high definition isn't going to stay and all by that grip truck and don't buy that building. And it just sort of goes on and on. And once you heard it from so many people over and over again about why the reasons you shouldn't do something, but you've proven to yourself that it's all manageable. You just become sort of empowered. You're like, oh, there's no first person VR head gear. Let's just make one. And it just sorta you just, you, you feel, um, like I said, empowered. And you look from a historical perspective what you've accomplished. And you realize that a lot of things that are within reach because of those steps that I made when I was in my twenties.
Gabe Ratliff: 02:04:57 Well, that totally aligns completely with the tagline of the show, which is draw your life, don't trace it. I mean, that's, that's completely where I come from, of just I, not that that's the only way, but I really do appreciate that. And that was something that I honestly used to kind of bastardized myself about until I actually stepped back and looked and realize like that's actually what I was doing because, because you can feel that pull of societal need for following that path. But when I step back and look, I was like, man, I've been drawing my own path for years now. And I was holding it against myself instead of using it as a, as a, as a foundation. And once I step back and look at that, I mean it was really powerful and empowering just as you said, to, to actually realize that really helped cumulatively set me up to have all of these skills and, um, growth opportunities and in all of these things that have helped get me to where I am today, that I can then implement into how I work with clients or how I work with my team or how I work on my own creative projects or whatever that is. And uh, and it's, and it's been, you know, a really, um, great concept to come to terms with. When you look back and it comes full circle now, how about a failure, you mentioned this a minute ago, but how do you have maybe an example or a story about where there was a failure or an apparent failure that set you up for later success? Or do you just have a favorite one that is maybe just fun story?
John Bourbonais: 02:06:49 A failure that set me up for later success? First time to think about what I consider my failures to be. Failures, failures. Well, I think it goes back to, um, and I haven't done this for a long, I might've not done this in my career. Um, I don't look at projects that haven't gone the way I wanted them to as failures because in those situations I haven't, um, no one has provided me insight as to how to handle that situation or that type of interaction or whatever that was before or, um, and, and so how can I say like that was a failure. No one taught me how to do that. I had to figure that out for myself and now I figured it out and I know how to navigate that better. So I dunno, I, I, that's probably the answer you're looking for with this. What comes to mind?
Gabe Ratliff: 02:08:11 No, that's perfect. That's a perfect answer because I think that is a whole new lens to look at that kind of thing happening in a situation and a lot of people can get caught up in that, you know, especially if we've all been on those crazed sets. Uh, you know, all of us in this industry have been in those environments. You is, it's agency work, you know, commercial film. It's just crazy chaos constantly. Things are what could be considered going wrong, a tech issues, all kinds of things. Right.
John Bourbonais: 02:08:52 Well I have a story like that!
Gabe Ratliff: 02:08:52 Oh yeah?
John Bourbonais: 02:08:52 I have a funny story like that. I mean, I'm not sort of goes back to my volunteering and respect and different things, but I was on a shoot in the tech center and it was a big issue. There was about 75 extras and um, there was this big ballroom and I was brought in as a b camera operator, but just because of the nature of it, I was sort of equal with the a camera operator and we're having a lot of interaction with the dirt. Excuse me, what the director. Well, the first thing that happened was, um, we are starting to get to like five and a half, six hours and there was no food. Mm. Well, it's sort of at the top of the camera group. Um, I sort of looked upon it as myself that I should go to the producer and say, Hey, what are we doing for food? And that producer director said others just there's this, there's food outside, just do craft services, we'll do lunch and a bed. I went, okay. So I went out there and it was picked over food plate that had been sitting in the sauna and all the extras had been there. I mean it was nothing for the crew. And I came back in and I just, I talked to the producers that I'm going to just start ordering lunch I need to eat. And they're like. And he said, okay, you know, whatever you want. And so I told the whole crew to do the same and it was about six, six and a half hours at this point everyone was hungry and we were working in eating. Well the director said, where's all this food coming from? Because he's seeing hamburgers and all that stuff's coming from this hotel where we're working. It was at the Omni in the tech center and you know, I think that God his hair up a little bit, but it just, just sort of above basic, hey, if we're not on schedule, it's because you haven't organized your day properly. There's no excuse for going on six and a half, six and a half hours now feeding a crew, and so that was sort of strike one, strike two and this was only, I only had two strikes. I'm, we were shooting this ballroom scene and the director from about 100 feet away starts yelling at me to get a certain type of shot. Wasn't because I was doing something wrong. It was because I just wasn't getting the shop that he had envisioned. If we had walkie talkies and the intercom setup and proper was he taking the time say, hey, we really need this on our shoot day. That wouldn't have been an issue, but instead he's yelling at me, which is bad for morale and it's bad for my morale and it's distracting for the actors. It's just bad. But my camera down and I walked 100 feet and I got about this far away from it and then I just whispered, there's no yelling, there's no yelling. And then I turned around and I went back to said that was my last day. I wasn't invited back sort of about, you know, I don't want to be on your set because it's a shit show and you haven't done your job and so don't suck me into your vortex of dysfunction. I'll just not work with you anymore. And so that can happen on a number of occasions where you sort of realize that you're just not a good fit. Now conversely, I've been on sets that have been amazing with directors that have vision or agency people that had visioned and really understand, um, both in terms of what the message and the brand and all that supposed to be, but also understand that you can rely on a director of photography. You can rely on the director, you can rely on camera people and their areas of expertise and really sort of empower them to do their job instead of trying to control exactly what they're supposed to give you to say, hey man, I'm looking for something like that. And then there's this great collaboration that can, it can be born out of that.
Gabe Ratliff: 02:12:42 Yeah. I'm a big proponent for that collaborative spirit, especially in that community. When you're in that space, because that's where the gold can come from, you know, and that's where you, you know, when you're not constrained by someone else's needs are, or even just their vision, but they say, hey, this is my vision, but what do you have to bring? That's where the creativity comes out and that's where that collaborative spirit that mean that's the whole point of having an entire film crew there is that they all give everything to make this thing come out. I think that's actually one of the most beautiful things about films is that there's that many people working together on a much shorter scale or a much shorter time table on such a grand scale where, you know, when you look at corporations, they're doing these long, you know, at least long projects, these long rollout. Some things you know, and a lot of stuff takes way longer. Whereas this stuff is a lot of snap decision. There's a lot of preplanning, lot of pre production as we know. But if you do that, then when you get to game time and you're actually on set and everybody's just there to like bring the rain, everybody can bring the rain and you're not distracted by all of this Bali who you can just get it done. And that's where that, those beautiful moments come out of that, you know, provide Oscars and Emmys is because those people were able to do what they do. And I just, I, I, I'm constantly moved by the fact that, that can happen with hundreds of people and, and you know, six months, you know, that something like that can be cranked out or you know, however long it takes. I've seen some films that took two weeks to shoot and you know, a month to cut and then they come out with something that is very solid. Um, and it just blows my mind because people want to give it every bit of what they have because they all believe in that common good, you know, and they're not hindered by somebody control issues or lack of pre-production or whatnot. So John, we're, we're at the end here, buddy. This is a thank you so much for your time. I'm sure I've been at, I let us go a little longer because, oh my gosh, because you were able to do it, but just such awesome conversation. Um, is there anything else that you'd like to say or any last kind of parting words?
John Bourbonais: 02:15:10 I think I covered it. I think, you know, what I talk about passion and following your path and what you mentioned is, you know, you draw your own, you're not tracing on that really resonates. Um, yeah. And I, you know, I just encourage that for people in their twenties to seek that path. There's a, it's, it's the road less traveled, but um, in my experience it's a more fruitful endeavor
Gabe Ratliff: 02:15:37 Hear! Hear! So where can people find you on the interwebs and, and, um, you know, socially or where can people find you?
John Bourbonais: 02:15:44 Well, uh, definitely linkedin. Um, I have a large presence there and you'll find me just by typing in my name. I'm in addition to that. I have two main websites right now, b, s, p, h d dot com, which stands for Bourbon Street Productions high definition.com. And you can see my video work there, um, and then lever VR, l e v e r v r.com is where you'll find a lot of my virtual reality training samples.
Gabe Ratliff: 02:16:13 Nice. Fantastic. Well, thanks again, John. Such a pleasure to have you on the show and, uh, just keep up the great work, brother
John Bourbonais: 02:16:21 Thanks Gabe. Take care.
Gabe Ratliff: 02:16:25 Hey gang, thanks so much for listening. If this is your first time checking out the show, then thank you so much for being here. I hope you enjoyed it. The Vitalic Project podcast comes out biweekly and is available every other Thursday for your enjoyment. The show notes for this episode can be found at vitalicproject.com/008. And all links from this episode will be in the show notes. If you haven't yet, please subscribe to the show and feel free to leave a rating or review on itunes. If you'd like to be a guest or know someone that would be a great fit, please go to vitalicproject.com/guest. Feel free to share this or any other episode with your friends and family. And thank you so much for listening. Until next time, keep being vitalic.