We had the pleasure to speak with Arturo Casares, the CEO, Creative Director and Executive Producer at LR Studio, based in Shanghai. Arturo has produced in China more than 300 hours of TV dramas in Mandarin for the Chinese and Asian markets. His passion is to identify unique opportunities in Asia to produce high-quality audiovisual content. We spoke about his experience in the industry and using VR & AR technologies in photo and video.

Production Paradise: Can you tell us more about your experience as a creative director and executive producer through the years?

Arturo Casares: I have 25 years of experience in the content creation industry some in Mexico but most of them in China where I live now.

It’s been quite an interesting journey as we engage in the production of traditional and new media. I love working on traditional media as film and design, but new media has opened many different avenues of expression that are quite exciting.

The last five years we have created mobile games, interactive experiences, and VR experiences for our clients.

Creating VR experiences is quite fun, but it also allows us to tell stories differently, create worlds around products and concepts, and is highly immersive so highly memorable as well. We have received many international awards for this VR experience work which is quite rewarding.

What I most enjoy about the creation of these mobile interactive and VR experiences is that it requires the combination of different skills of storytelling from filmmaking to gaming, 3D art, and graphic design.

Virtual pop-up store “Clash” for mobile phone. Client: Cartier
Mobile game activation for Chinese Valentine’s Day (520). Client: Cartier

Production Paradise: The core value of your company is storytelling through video, photography, and other forms of digital media. Could you please tell us how you implement it in the creative process?

Arturo Casares: As we focus on storytelling, we normally first evaluate the needs of the project in terms of delivery, and then we propose the most suitable media. The choice of media already tells a story, especially new media. For example, we made one VR game where users could fly above the Paris in the early 20th Century in the first mass-produced aircraft. It is only in VR that users can have this kind of experience, and then you add a bit of a game dynamic where friends can compete, and you add the dimension of competition that was present in that era between the different teams wanting to fly and conquer the skies. In another VR experience, we created an interactive area where users can plant trees around them and feel the change and importance of the presence of trees on urban landscapes as the project’s underlying motivation was that the audience becomes more conscious about how human being future is interwind with that of trees.

So working together with our clients has allowed us not just to be creative in responding to a brief but from the choice of the most suitable media for a given story.

Santos de Cartier VR game. Client: Cartier

Production Paradise: LR Studio specializes in VR & AR, among others. How do these latest technologies expand and challenge your artistic work?

Arturo Casares: I think is not a challenge but an opportunity. AR has more and more real-life applications and addresses real-world needs where you can add layers of information to an existing real-world element while VR allows the user to live situations that are not possible in the real world. For example, we did a VR experience where you enter the world of a piece of art that has a story, but we recreated that story with an aesthetic direction inspired by the art piece in a 3D world where the actors of the story of the piece are come to live around us. It can be very poetic. Sometimes we have recreated art exhibitions and the mere fact to make those pieces in a very high quality and attractive scenography in the virtual world is a feat on its own and quite attractive for users.

The limitation that we have today is that if you want to have very high-quality graphics your VR headset must be tethered to a powerful computer and that makes the setup complicated and costly. But things are evolving on the side of the headset developers and I’m sure soon we will have big power computing inside small headsets without the need to attach a powerful computer.

Also, these real-time applications that are normally created in Unreal or Unity engines are finding their way on mobile applications for corporations with experiences that combine gaming logic and marketing, education, branding, etc. These experiences that have lived a couple of decades purely in the gaming realm are transitioning for the public, not necessarily interested in games, to experience the online world in a very different way.

Trees exhibition: VR experience. Client: Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain

Production Paradise: Do you consider using VR as the future of the video and photography industry?

Arturo Casares: We just finished our first short film inside Unreal Engine and believe that it offers many possibilities for the content creation industry but is just another tool. Reality will always be reality. Having said that we’re working on real-time mobile metaverse-like projects that offer very powerful new tools for people to interact and accomplish real-life tasks with a gamified 3D environment. It is the convergence of the gaming and every-day-life applications in one space that is not just promising but fascinating.

Highway No 5. Short film made in Unreal Engine written and directed by Arturo Casares

Production Paradise: LR Studio worked on campaigns and content for brands like Cartier, Uniqlo, Biotherm, KFC or Mindshare. How do you build and maintain long-lasting relationships with your clients?

Arturo Casares: I think is running that last mile to have not only ultimate client satisfaction but also deliver a great project.

Production Paradise: What in your opinion makes LR Studio stand out in the imagery industry?

Arturo Casares: Our sense of aesthetics, a very personalised relationship with our clients, our willingness to run that last mile on our client’s projects, and our 360 production capabilities.

Production Paradise: Can you tell us what are you working on right now?

Arturo Casares: We just finalised a VR experience for a local chain of hotels and are working on a couple of animation projects, some for clients and one of our own about the world of bats and their impact in our ecosystem for exhibitions and festivals.

We’re also working on a very big metaverse project for a big multinational company that is keeping us working long hours but we’re very satisfied with the progress.

Finally, we’re developing some concepts for documentaries of our own after the big success of our documentary Too High to Fall which has received more than 180 thousand views at the Chinese streaming platform Bilibili.

VR Experience of Naked Water Resort in Suzhou

We would like to thank Arturo for taking the time to speak with us. If you want to learn more about the work of LR Studio, make sure to check out their member page on Production Paradise and their website.