It started with a child's wish...
Ben's interest in immersive technologies can be traced back to his childhood.
Virtual Reality first sparked his imagination back in the mid-1980s.
As a young child growing up in Nottingham, Ben's two main interests were acting (he first appeared on stage aged five) and computers.
At that time, one of his favourite TV programmes was the BBC's former flagship technology programme, Tomorrow's World (his other favourite shows were The A-Team, Air Wolf and the innovative visual effects-heavy kids gameshow Knightmare).
It was during an episode of Tomorrow's World that he first saw a prototype of the technology that we would come to know as 'Virtual Reality'.
Young Ben gazed in wonder at the screen as he realised what the new technology could mean; it would be an opportunity to finally explore the worlds that had so far only existed in his imagination and in the text-based Choose Your Own Adventure Book-inspired computer games he had painstakingly coded line by line to play on the family's Spectrum +3.
This technology was nothing short of a dream come true!
Fast forward thirty plus years and Ben felt the same childhood wonderment reignited with news of the resurgence of Virtual Reality technology and the unveiling of the early Oculus Rift.
That was it - Ben (now married with a son and living in Surrey) set out to learn as much as he could about the new immersive technologies and support others to access, understand and use these new technologies to unleash their creativity.
The timeline below reveals some of the highlights from Ben's story that led to the creation of bright immersive Ltd:
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Eager to share his delight with others, Ben runs a short training workshop for members of his theatre group (Quick Fix Theatre), other local actors and storytellers, all about the future of performance and immersive technologies.
The response and interest was overwhelming - particularly from artists without an IT background.
With calls to run more workshops and extend the range of topics covered, the seed of an idea for creating bright immersive was planted.
After decades of waiting and years of following the progress of immersive technology, Ben buys his first VR compatible computer complete with, Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch.
It’s everything he hoped for and so much more!
Ben joins DNEG, a global and multi Oscar-winning, Hollywood Visual Effects (VFX), feature animation and 3D conversion company, where he applied and enhanced his knowledge of the latest developments in Virtual Reality, Virtual Production for movies and the latest computer graphics technologies.
He also learnt from Hollywood filmmakers about professional VR video creation (360-video) and more generally about the power of immersive technologies to transform the future of film, TV and storytelling.
He wins a commission to research and write a piece of community theatre to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.
As well as being the Creative Director for and performing in the production, titled: "Four Families of the Fallen", Ben produced four accompanying short 360-video / VR videos of the live performance. This was his first opportunity to work with and direct live actors for immersive VR/ 360 video.
An intimate theatrical performance with the audience on three sides of the stage, 'Four Families of the Fallen' was an opportunity to experiment with taking community theatre into the digital immersive space.
As Chair and Creative Director of Quick Fix Theatre, Ben devises and leads his second community performance. This time focused on promoting the heritage of the Surrey borough of Elmbridge as home of the world's first ever movie recording of Alice in Wonderland, which was made by the pioneering filmmaker, Cecil Hepworth in 1908.
Ben heads up internal and external communications for two FTSE 250 financial services companies. His work included developing and rolling out new intranets and websites, promoting key FinTech projects and providing communications strategies for large organisational and regulatory changes.
He creates and publishes his first full Computer Graphics (CG) 360-degree VR experience: Q.R.A.
Inspired one of his first stage plays and real events, the experience puts the viewer into the body of a Royal Air Force fighter pilot who is forced to make the biggest decision of his life.
To date this has been experienced more than 1,500 times.
Created with Open Source and free 3D modelling, computer graphics (GG) and sound editing software, Q.R.A gave Ben a platform to discover what it takes to make an immersive experience.