Setting Sail on a Maritime Career with SMF and Vostok VR

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Background

Careers at sea are often shrouded in mystery. Operational challenges and logistics prevent visitors from physically boarding a ship to experience work and life onboard vessels. This leads to a general lack of awareness about sailing careers, which are key roles of the maritime industry given that 90% of world trade is carried by ships. Therefore, though sailing careers are good potential career choices for students and jobseekers, not many people know about it, hence recruitment in the industry is challenging.

Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) is a private sector-led organization which works with different partners in the maritime industry and government agencies to promote the varied careers the maritime industry has to offer. To heighten interest in seafaring careers, they are looking for a novel marketing approach. They asked virtual reality production company Vostok VR to conceptualize and produce three 360-degree videos that showcase work and life onboard ships with its immersive experience, the videos “brought” visitors on board the ship which featured the bridge, engine room and the amenities, including accommodation and recreational areas.

Innovation

The virtual reality movies crew drew on years of collective experience to navigate unique challenges like movement, mechanical noise and logistics.

The VR company filmed for 8 days as it sailed from Singapore to Shanghai, requiring clearance to film onboard and sail with a container ship. Ship schedules presented an additional problem as they are only confirmed two hours before actual arrival time. Shooting outdoors meant filming could not occur during rain and required the team to have flexibility in their schedule.

The nature of VR videos meant the crew had to hide completely during filming to avoid being caught in the shot. This prevented viewing of the actual filming. Instant playbacks were also unavailable as the videos required stitching together before screening. Any reshoots translated to additional filming arrangements.

Production

Vostok VR produced the script together with SMF and filmed the entire process on board.

The team collected footage within the ship’s bridge where deck officers work, the ship’s engine room used for marine engineers, the living quarters and recreational areas. Rather than play it safe with a mundane documentary style video, SMF engaged a social media professional to host the 360-degree tour. Elaine Rui Min’s minimal industry knowledge brought a fresh perspective to the video. Viewers learned the personal story of a deck cadet and an engine cadet alongside Min.

The post production crew stitched together the scenes and added custom animations for a more interactive experience.

Results

The videos debuted to a huge crowd of all ages during the Careers at Sea & Beyond Forum and Exhibition at Suntec Convention Centre in Singapore on 8 September 2018. The event was organized by SMF with support from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore in partnership with Singapore Maritime Academy and Wavelink Maritime Institute. Vostok VR provided Samsung Gear virtual reality headsets for the event. The presentation of the VR videos is one of the highlights of the event alongside interactive game stations and information panels.

The videos were published online for additional viewing. 300 SMF themed VR cardboards were also given out during the Forum event, allowing attendees to re-watch the videos on their own back at home.