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Bowstring innovates camerawork at Temple

Temple University recently launched a virtual reality (VR) experience unlike anything else in collegiate recruiting, concepted and brought to life by Philadelphia’s Bowstring Studios. Temple’s VR experience is not just a campus tour, but a visual narrative that shows current and prospective students the breadth of Temple opportunities through groundbreaking motion camerawork. You don’t meander through this experience – you blaze.

“At Bowstring Studios we have a passion for the craft of visual storytelling,” says Bowstring CEO Enrique Mendoza. “While most college VR tours are simply a 360-degree walking tour of a campus, our project with Temple is a combination of engaging narrative and brand new VR capture techniques that change the breadth and speed of the entire experience.

“This is a first not only in the higher education vertical, but across VR as a whole,” he continues.

The VR adventure allows the participant to experience both the physical campus and student activities with actual students in a range of environments. The episode starts outside Morgan Hall North. Quickly the participant is whisked beneath the Bell Tower, and then through classrooms, a theater, training gyms…and even launched off a rooftop for a bird’s-eye view of the campus.

The use of live actors and a scripted narrative is believed to be a first in the higher education space. Through this strategic approach, Temple is able to transcend the banal virtual tour and turn the experience into something that participants will want to engage again and again.

Bowstring also overcame the many technical hurdles associated with the camerawork needed for both aerial and terrestrial shots. Putting the camera, and thus the participant’s perspective, into running motion is groundbreaking production. VR camera arrays are normally cumbersome and too large/heavy to be used with a robotic stabilizer.

Bowstring’s solution was to use 360Fly cameras back-to-back. These small cameras have incredibly wide lenses on them that allow Bowstring to cover the 360 sphere with just two. The rig was light enough to cantilever out from the Movi system, which made it easier for the operator to run at will while ensuring a stable shot. Video captured from these cameras as well as skill put into image replacement for low-level drone camerawork opens up a new level of VR experiences.

“We are taking VR beyond the simple visual experience and into the storytelling arena in which few organizations have yet played,” Mendoza says. “That is how we approach all of our projects. We fearlessly embrace all kinds of technologies to produce innovative, cutting-edge content for our clients.”

About Bowstring

Bowstring Studios is a full-service production studio based in Philadelphia, but with a presence in Milwaukee. We partner with networks, agencies and brand clients to produce award-winning original content and branded entertainment. Since our founding in 2001, our creative palette has expanded fueled as much by early adoption of technologies as by the growth of our team. But our commitment to storytelling remains unchanged. Whether we’re producing a 30-second spot, a television series, branded entertainment or social media content, the story comes first. Learn more at or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as @BowstringStudios.

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