BeVRR: Building Singapore into the Next Regional Creative Hub for VR by Ellie Ngim

About: BeVRR (pronounced as be-ver) is a 360° Virtual Reality company certified by Google / YouTube as the 1st and only Live-Streaming Producer in Asia. The Company was spun-off from Bert Pictures, an industry leader in Cinema Equipment leases around the region. Ms. Ellie Ngim, co-founder and director of BeVRR, is here today to share some stories about her visionary company. For more information please visit www.bevrr.com.

 Bert Pictures was founded in 2012 in support of the local film industry in Singapore, and has only produced/invested in feature films since. Its VR production solely started out of curiosity, utilizing its then-existing assets and 4K cameras to shoot 360/VR. Around the same time, the entire VR industry started picking up with various HMD’s (head-mounted display) being produced on the market. As the medium grows, the company decided to spin-off its 360/VR arm to better manage both sides of the business and prevent brand dilution. Our early focus was mostly on client projects that include brands and various training simulations. It is only later on that we started to leverage on our creative team to start producing our own bespoke/ exclusive contents.

BeVRR first started with a focus on client projects including brands and various training simulations. Later on, the leadership decided to leverage the creative team to start producing our their bespoke/exclusive content.

Less than a year ago, BeVRR successfully launched the first 360 VR lifestyle series, ‘Dining Stars’, during the Singapore Media Festival 2016 and managed Asia’s first nationwide live 360-degree telecast of the three-hour Singapore National Day Parade, in partnership with Google. The show was inspired by the interest in discovering and showcasing the less-known restaurants which were nonetheless just as exquisite as the high-profile restaurants. For that reason, the studio initiated the project to exhibit some of these hidden gems together with some better-known restaurants, using VR as a medium for the purpose of immersive experience. BeVRR quickly became one of the biggest VR series on VeeR.

A main vision of BeVRR is to promote and drive the adoption of VR technology, witness more amazing VR content being produced, in an environment where media and technology are fast converging. At the same time, the studio tries to focus on themes where they can include viewers with varying experiences and life stories.

Being a widely-experienced studio, BeVRR is fully aware of the importance of engaging its viewers. Realizing the challenges VR storytelling poses comparative to traditional videography, BeVRR highlights the usage of audio cues to direct the consumers’ sights while ensuring that the same story would unravel in different ways under individual contexts. 

Singapore Polytechnic (SP) and BeVRR signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on May 30, to launch CET programs for Virtual Reality (VR) 360 Filmmaking. The program enrolls adult learners in a 2-day workshop in VR 360 Filmmaking that equips them with the necessary know-how of VR production to jump-start their own VR careers through a technical and immersive learning experience. Starting from the vision that VR is transforming the landscape of social media, marketing and user engagement, BeVRR is taking yet another step toward building Singapore into a regional hub of creative talent.

Singaporean VR Giant BeVRR Opens VR Workshop To Educate The Public by Ellie Ngim

BeVRR (pronounced “beaver”), a 360/VR production company in Singapore aspiring to build the cultural center not only in southeastern Asia but in a global context, is taking actions toward their visions. The first step of the plan is a 2-day VR course (soon to open in October) they’re collaborating on with Singapore Polytechnic, a top-ranking polytechnic in the nation. Always inspired by the story behind BeVRR’s establishment and their continuous efforts to realize their ambition, VeeR is honored to be a part of the movement via sponsorship.

 The open course serves the purpose of educating filmmakers and vloggers interested in creating VR, or businesses ready to expand their operations by mobilizing VR marketing. The course examines cinematic VR through theoretical studies, hands-on project planning and shooting, as well as peer critique. Besides gaining a comprehensive understanding of VR cinema, participants of the course will also be able to work with affordable VR equipment and carry out their own projects.

The initiation of the project symbolizes the significant leap BeVRR has taken since when it was a fledgling pursuing a new technology trend. Upon this opportunity, VeeR interviewed Ellie Ngim——co-founder of BeVRR——once again on her company’s persistent journey of VR production.

Ellie herself took a winding course to a career in VR filmmaking. Though always identified films and media as her passion, she made compromises to pursue a path in finance for practical reasons. Behind her, she’s left a powerhouse-studded career trajectory, among which are Citibank, Deutsche Bank and PwC, to name a few. She never forgot her initial commitment to film production, and bowed out as the pressure of juggling a high-maintenance position and working part-time as a film producer became overwhelming. During this period, she managed to produce the award-winning “Lollypop Love” and “Will You Be My Valentine?”.

After taking a headlong plunge into filmmaking, she joined forces with Singapore’s film veteran Bert Tan, whom she had worked with on previous projects, and deems as her mentor when she was new to media. It became an easy decision for Ellie to join Bert’s company, Bert Pictures, where she managed feature films.

One and a half year in, she’s spearheading a regional powerhouse of a VR company that has established a network of partners in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Vietnam and Europe; collaborated with Google on livestreaming the 2016 Singapore National Day Parade in 360; more recently partnered with Grey Group on streaming the South East Asian Games (SEA Games Kuala Lumpur 2017), first of its kind in Asia.

BeVRR is currently working on an international co-production with Hollywood and Europe of an international Network on VR science-fiction series. Its next steps constantly keep us on the tip of our toes.

Sign up for BeVRR’s collaborative course with Singapore Polytechnic here.

Follow VeeR on social media for more insights into the industry!

BeVRR - Making a Real Name from Virtual Reality by Ellie Ngim

Pursuing a successful career in banking didn’t stop Ellie Ngim from following her dream to make films on the side. When her plate eventually became too full, she took the plunge and decided to commit to her passion - a move that has paid off in more ways than one.

By Jeremy Torr

“Films and media have always been my passion,” said Ellie Ngim, driving force and director of innovative Singapore video production company BeVRR(pronounced beaver).

Ellie said that for practical reasons, she chose an initial career in finance, working for companies like Citibank, Deutsche Bank and PWC. But soon, partly due to the pressures of working part-time in film production and on her own films, including award-winning Lollypop Love and Will You Be My Valentine?, she decided to take the plunge and commit to a career in movies.

“Eventually it came to a point where something had to give, especially when I started directing,” she said. So Ellie left the business suit at home, and joined Singapore film icon Bert Tan, whom she had worked with on previous projects.

“It wasn't an easy decision but the people around me were really encouraging. And Bert [was] my mentor who started my career in media, so it was an easy decision to join [his company] Bert Pictures to help run the feature film business.

”Once immersed full-time in film, Ellie became increasingly interested in new technologies that were emerging in the sector, such as virtual reality and livecasting. “So I took the opportunity to expand into technology,” she explained.

That simple statement belies the astonishing progress she – and her new operation BeVRR – has made. Collaborations with global tech colossus Google, livecasting prestige events such as the 2016 NDP, and working with mm2 Asia and UnUsUaL Group to live-telecast a 360° concert have all marked out BeVRR as a company to watch.

But the journey was not easy. Some of the hurdles that the new business faced included “a continuous effort” on testing and figuring out how to handle the new technology, sourcing funding for the business, writing proposal after proposal, pitching new ideas, and R&D work. “The challenges will always be present no matter what ... just in different shapes and forms,” Ellie said with a smile. “I think the challenges [get bigger] as you grow.”

Those ongoing challenges are now just part of the job, but the rewards and recognition are starting to come due. BeVRR has announced a partnership with Singapore-based Infinite Studios, recently completed a feature on Zika infections, and is partnering with publishing company SPH on its first Lifestyle 360° VR series to be released in Q4 2016.

“We have also started talks with partners around Southeast Asia and will be executing some contents in Indonesia next month,” she added. It seems that BeVRR will be very busy.

Although the work is rolling in, the company is still looking to innovate and push Singapore to the forefront of media production in the region – which means more testing, research and learning. “Everything you know about filmmaking in the past breaks down,” explained Ellie. “From the process to ideation – everything [in VR production] is different. In a way it is exciting, for me at least!” she grinned.

And the challenges keep coming, too. To be a success in the new field of VR demands a combination of new technology and experienced people, coming together to create quality content. As Ellie said, the whole process of shooting VR has to be considered early on in the ideation stage; the right skills have to be complemented with the equipment to be able to execute content. Combine that with the fact that hardware is always advancing and improving, R&D becomes a key factor. “But that also opens up opportunities to get better at shooting and executing even more advanced content,” she added. “We will soon announce a top-secret project we are working on that will hopefully drive this to the next level.”

To Ellie, Singapore offers the perfect platform for that critical mixture of new technology and experienced innovators. “Singapore’s strong IP framework and various infocomm and media initiatives are [really] forward-looking,” she said. “In order to create amazing content in VR, you need creative people, crazy ones, innovative ones, programmers who all come together. If we have those, we will have a good chance in becoming a powerhouse in VR. And yes, I believe [we will]!”