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Telly Awards & Upcity Excellence Award!

Bottle Rocket Media Wins Telly and UpCity Awards

Season 40 Telly Award Winners were announced this week, and we’re super excited to announce that we took home SIX! Clients include Dyson, Kenmore, Centro, The Peninsula, and The Chicago Cubs! View the winning videos below.

We also received UpCity’s 2019 Excellence Award and were named Top 20 Marketing Service Providers in Chicago – Thanks Upcity! Check out our listing here.

Thank you to all of our stellar clients for allowing us to do what we do all day long. Thanks also needs to go out to our incredible team – the BRM gang and every crew member, cast member or freelancer that continues to support these endeavors.

Client Spotlight | American Girl

Encouraging thousands of kids each day to let their individuality shine through play, no brand is more focused on empowerment than American Girl. After collaborating with their creative team to develop a series of traditional promotional videos, the perfect opportunity to incorporate cutting-edge 360 Video sprouted when they reached out to Bottle Rocket media to create guided tours of its New York and Chicago locations.

Since its start in 1986, American Girl has developed into one of the most popular doll purveyors in the country, with roughly 20 major retail stores that also serve as restaurants, party hosts, and play centers. With so much going on at each spot – including stations where kids AND their dolls can receive makeovers and ear piercings –it was the perfect opportunity to utilize 360 video to create a fully immersive experience for viewers.

According to Bottle Rocket Media co-founder, Brett Singer, a successful run with American Girl on past productions was enough to set the stage for the use of 360 video: “We had worked with [American Girl] on many other promo videos, and fortified a wonderful working relationship,” he says. “As a result, the brand’s creative team approached us to produce 360 VR store tours with accompanying motion graphics to help guide the viewer throughout the experience.”

Not every client Bottle Rocket Media comes across can expertly dialogue about the latest in media techniques – however, as Singer implies, it certainly helps. “It should come as no surprise that American Girl is a very forward-thinking company, and early to embrace new technologies – including both 360 video and AR (augmented reality). Loaded with creative talent, including an in-house design team, we were seamlessly provided with brand-specific graphics, and new ones created just for the videos. Working with them is always a pleasure, as they come to each project as a partner. No one knows the subject matter better, so it’s a no-brainer for us to welcome them into the process.”

From the Director’s Chair: Cubs Virtual Reality ‘Gameday Experience’

Brett Singer Talks Entertaining Troops Overseas with a Virtual Reality Chicago Cubs ‘Gameday Experience’

360-video production turns the lyric “Take me out to the ballgame” on its head in this spotlight on one of Bottle Rocket Media’s most meaningful project of 2018. Working with the Chicago Cubs, and with sponsorship support from Boeing and the U.S.O., they were challenged to create a one-of-a-kind 360 Immersive Gameday Experience at Wrigley Field, designed to take the ballgame out to thousands of wildly deserving overseas military personnel.

Thanks to the advent of VR gear, troops stationed in Germany were given exclusive access to every corner of Wrigley Field during this custom 360 experience. Viewers get to sit in Cubs dugout, stand in the batter’s box during batting practice, be right on the field during the national anthem, and even a sing-along with Cubs Hall of Famer, Ryne Sandberg, – all accompanied by eye-popping, graphics that tell the story about Wrigley’s history and some other fun facts along the way.

Creating an immersive Wrigley Field experience for the nation’s armed forces was both a dream-come-true for many at Bottle Rocket, and an extremely worthy use of a technology that is “still in its infancy”.

How did this project with the Cubs come about? Also, go Cubs!

Just before the start of the 2018 season, the Cubs reached out to us about the possibility of creating a 360 experience during Spring Training. It was an exciting email to get. We had some great conversations but, unfortunately, that project never came to light. A few months later, they reached back out with an opportunity to create an experience, specifically for the men and women serving in the US Military overseas. Boeing and the USO were the sponsors.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time at Wrigley myself and I’ve seen first hand what a close relationship the Cubs have with military personnel. A few times a month they have military appreciation days. I knew this was an important project to them. We were one of several firms vying for the job and we were over-the-moon when we were awarded the job.

Can you briefly describe the ‘experience?’

The point of the virtual/360-video technology is to immerse the viewer in an alternate reality, so to speak. When you put on a 360 headset you feel like you’re standing in that experience. Our viewers would get to feel what a day at Wrigley feels like. From walking into the gate at Clark and Addison, walking by the concession stands and coming up to the field. We put them in the dugout, on the field, in the bleachers, and they even get to be in the press booth during the Seventh Inning Stretch and be just feet away from Ryne Sandberg as he sings ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ in full view of the entire stadium. We even got to go into the Cubs clubhouse and hi-five a player!

Thanks to funding from the project’s sponsors, 2,500 Google Cardboard headsets were handed out to overseas soldiers and their family. With those headsets they all will be able to receive an experience that most attendees don’t usually get.

As we filmed, every viewer was able to see exactly what we were seeing as if they were right at Wrigley with us.

What does this experience mean to you and what does it say about the future of VR/360?

The idea of combining our passion for video production with our philanthropic model – and all at Wrigley Field – was an opportunity of a lifetime. We had no choice but to knock this one out of the park. I couldn’t be more proud of our team. We all are honored to have been a part of this project. In fact, it was such a success that the Cubs made their own video tribute to the event (see below). Maybe, they’ll let us back to do a spring training video… 🙂

We’re always looking for opportunities to continue working at the forefront of 360 video, an area that is still evolving. It’s not every day that the technology can be applied so perfectly and for such a good cause! Ultimately, however, I do think the future of 360 video will continue to involve immersive virtual reality experiences more and more—and our invitation to help the Cubs last year just highlights a demand already on the rise.

What was the best part of filming at Wrigley Field?

After we filmed the batting practice, which they had setup just for us to film, they asked if we’d help them collect the balls. So our whole crew got to run around the outfield at Wrigley, picking up the balls. IT WAS AMAZING!! We took lots of photos. What aday. Really proud of how it turned. We all are.

Thanks, Brett!

Ready to share your reality with the world? Click here and go virtual.

A Year in Virtual Insanity: Gear Rises

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Jamiroquai’s 1996 hit song recently echoed through our Chicago office and the hair on the back of our collective, nostalgic neck stood up. We all felt the relevance.

Now more than ever, we are living in “Virtual Insanity.” Immersed in new technology. A portal to another world is most likely in your hand or your pocket right now—we mean your smartphone.

Perhaps the most “insane” example of the digital explosion is the recent rise of VR gear. With a just a headset and an Internet connection, users are learning valuable career skills, traveling to far off locales, and experiencing new products like never before. As Bottle Media’s co-founder, Dan Fisher, recently remarked so astutely, “This sh*t ain’t slowing down any time soon!”

As a video agency, we have been embracing 360 video production in our own work for a few years now. While we like to think we have gotten pretty good at creating a virtual experience, we are not too proud to take cues from the creative examples that have emerged in just the last year alone:

Training: Why tell someone how to do their job when you can literally SHOW them? Eliminating the need for additional training staff, businesses are finally waking up to the benefits of immersive video technology, a cost-effective solution to introduce a wide range of challenging scenarios for employees learn from. Heard of Oculus Go? Only two years old, the leading industry brand has already been tapped by giant, Wal-Mart, for 17 thousand of its wireless standalone units to help train one million workers in customer service and new technologies beginning this fall. Less hassles at Wal-Mart? Count us in!

Meanwhile… it was only a matter of time before the gung-ho military and police forces would have their way with VR gear. And why not? Taking simulations to the next level, VR is helping to keep our bravest sharp and abreast of the latest assault and defense tactics. According to a piece in Forbes, an emerging name in VR gear, Virtra – currently being used at the L.A. county Sheriff’s Department – is “much more realistic than range training,” and less expensive than hiring actors to play both criminals and innocent civilians.

Education: Teachers across the country are learning the incredible educational benefits of bringing gear into elementary schools. Thanks to Google Earth VR and Google Expeditions, for example, students can virtually explore parts of the world in 3D—without ever leaving the classroom. And, for the more advanced STEM scholar, there are now solutions out from companies like Unity Technologies and Labster VR that create immersive experiences in virtual laboratories and medical settings to help prepare our future doctors and scientists.

Oh—and ever wish you could take a bus to Mars? Well, now kids from K-12 can, thanks to the brains behind Lockheed Martin and Framestore VR studio. Complete with virtual windows to the red planet and motion sensitive technologies, students are experiencing what it would feel like to ride through 250 square miles of a landscape millions of miles away from Earth. What’s next? Venus? Saturn? New Jersey? The possibilities are endless!

Product Introduction and Promotion: VR gear now represents the most intimate pathway for consumers to get up close and personal with products and services of all kinds. One need only look at the success of the Ikea Virtual Store to understand just how far virtual shopping has come. From the comfort of any home or office, VR gear users can “stroll” through actual store aisles and showrooms without the worry of pedestrian foot traffic, long checkout lines, or hunting down employees for assistance. If only Toys ‘R’ Us had thought of that!

Finally, Macy’s has truly jumped on the VR bandwagon by supplying 70 of its stores with headsets to make it possible for customers to explore out of-stock items and actually visualize them in their own offices and dwellings!!  According to, “In the beauty department, Macy’s is in the process of adding virtual mirrors to some of its U.S. stores where shoppers can ‘try on’ lipsticks and eye shadows.”  Mind blown, yet?

Whether connecting with students, employees, or consumers, VR-gear has become the most personalized vehicle yet—bringing a 3D world of knowledge directly to the user, without the need to take a single step.

And the “insanity” continues…

Been a while since you listened to Jamiroqaui’s “Virtual Insanity?” Check the official music video here (you’re welcome!).

Looking for a well-branded video solution? Click here to share in our groove.

How VR Video Production Is Changing Video Marketing

While the exact origins of virtual reality (VR) are up for debate, there is no denying that VR has left the world of science-fiction and taken a stronghold over the real world. Remember a little game by the name of Pokémon Go?

But it’s not just mobile gaming that has been impacted by the VR phenomenon. Several of the world’s largest technology companies have invested millions—some even billions—of dollars in VR research and development to make VR accessible to the general public.

And now, VR has infiltrated the business world. More and more companies are beginning to integrate virtual and augmented reality in their video and content marketing strategies.

So why all the hype? Let’s take a look at the impact of VR video production on video marketing.

Boosts Emotional Engagement

Humans are emotional creatures—that’s just one of the facts of life. We have a tendency to have strong reactions to things that pull at our heart strings or ignite some type of emotional response.

According to research by YuMe, Inc. and Nielsen, VR video content resulted in 27% higher emotional engagement than 2D content. On top of which, viewers remained emotionally engaged 34% longer than when viewing the same content in 2D.

Now the question is: how does this affect your business? The ability to connect with your audience on an emotional level helps build brand trust and establish brand loyalty.

VR video production allows viewers to step into the experience—almost literally. They become part of your story rather than just observers on the other side of the fourth wall.

This level of engagement is very powerful as it creates unique and personal experiences. And it allows you to connect with your audience in ways that aren’t possible with traditional video content.

Increases Conversions

Imagine you’re in the tourism industry and your goal is to increase visits to your resort. While traditional video does an amazing job of showcasing what your resort has to offer, it doesn’t really provide a personal or necessarily engaging experience.

And while people may click on your video due to your amazing thumbnail graphic, they may not stick around long enough for your call to action. Enter VR video production.

According to the study by YuMe, Inc. and Nielsen, viewers of virtual reality content were in a highly engaged state for 50% of the experience. If your video is two minutes long that means you have their attention for an entire minute.

That might not seem like very much time but remember, six second Vine videos became too long for some people.

While all of that sounds good, the question is: can it really drive results? Back to the tourism example.

In 2016, Tourism Australia launched its “There’s Nothing Like Australia” campaign. They developed 18 different VR film sequences and brought Australia’s aquatic and coastal environment to life on an international scale.

The campaign helped increase visits to Australia by nine percent and helped boost engagement on by 64 percent. Most impressively, Australia tourism industry leads grew by 104 percent as a result of the campaign.

The bottom line is that VR video production has the potential to be a highly engaging and conversion driving channel for several industries. Let’s explore how your company can leverage this growing marketing tool—contact us today. Don’t forget to follow us on social media to join the conversation: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

How To Share 360 Video and VR on Social Media

In the era of never-ending feeds filled with photos and videos, discovering 360 Video & VR on social media is fresh and exciting. While there are portable VR headsets, most people aren’t lugging them around, so how do you get your audience to watch? Good news! Headsets are no longer a necessity when it comes to experiencing 360 video or VR. Fancy headsets certainly amplify the immersive experience, but a phone, a tablet, or a computer is all you need.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the tech side of 360 Video & VR, but as storytellers and creatives, we don’t make videos just to take advantage of the newest technology, we’re hoping to share a story, and ultimately, connect with viewers on a deeper level. That connection can only happen if the content makes its way to the viewers. That’s where social media comes in to play. While most social platforms don’t support 360 video uploads, with the exception of Facebook, you can easily share a link to your video on social media. There are tons of websites that can host your 360 Video and social VR content: Littlstar, Vimeo, Youtube, and Kuula, just to name a few.

Here’s a little breakdown of the big three social media platforms and their 360 and VR support:


Facebook allows you to upload 360 videos directly from your phone or desktop. It even auto-detects 360 content and transforms panoramas into an immersive experience. I won’t dive into too many details in this blog post, as we dedicated an entire post to it a few months ago, but in short, it’s pretty awesome! Check it out.


Twitter has yet to support 360 video and VR uploads. But I have a feeling it’s in the works. Especially since Twitter owns Periscope, which allows users to live-stream 360 videos — videos that once shared on Twitter, are embedded into the interface. So you can experience the video and all its 360 degreed glory straight from the comfort of your Twitter timeline.

The other workaround is to post an external link, such as YouTube or Vimeo, which embeds the video within the post. If you’d rather drive your viewers directly to the video on an external site, you can spice up the link by attaching an image to your link.


Instagram is the least 360/VR friendly platform of the ‘big three’, but you can use its extremely visual nature to your advantage. Post an eye-catching still, get clever with a tiled banner, or my personal favorite, share a Tiny Planet version of your video (see image below). Tiny planets can be videos or stills, and are a great example of ‘thumb-stopping’ content. Not only are they visually unique, but they provide a quirky preview into what the full 360 video or VR experience will look like.

BTS shot from our shoot with The Atlantic Re:Think

Do you use social media, but don’t have any 360 videos to share on it? Get in touch with us, and let’s talk!

The Reality of Virtual Reality

The current state of VR technology, as told by a video production company

The VR landscape and the hardware that goes with it are both constantly evolving, and like most things in the tech industry, the latest and greatest is always on the horizon. We’ve talked before about the buzz surrounding virtual reality, and after taking a closer look at the stats, we can confirm that the future of VR is looking brighter than ever. As one of the few video production companies that focuses on VR, here’s what we think you should know as of now.

A brief rundown of the current VR landscape

Facebook is leading the charge in virtual reality.

Facebook has long been considered the tech industry’s pioneer of virtual reality. It all started in 2014 when Mark Zuckerberg acquired Oculus for a cool $3 billion, a bold move by anyone’s standards. But so far this year, sales of the infamous Oculus Rift headset have fallen short. This could be due to a number of factors, like the spike in competition as more and more brands launch products. If there’s one thing we know about Facebook’s CEO, it’s that he’s not phased by a challenge, and he’s good at surrounding himself with very smart people. We’re looking at you, Michael Hillman and Hugo Bara.

Facebook becomes Meta

If you haven’t heard the news, the Facebook name has been changed to Meta. Mark Zuckerberg made an announcement in October 2021 letting the public know, Meta brings together all of the companies apps and technologies under one umbrella. It is said to be a metaverse, and provide a hybrid of online social experiences sometimes event projected into physical reality. We will see what this all means, but with Zuckerberg spearheading it coupled with the new age of virtual reality, we are heading toward a new way of thinking, engaging and immersing ourselves into technology.

More and more technology brands have skin in the game.

We’re no strangers to VR hardware, and we know first-hand what it’s like to lose an afternoon of productivity to test driving new gear. There has been an uptick in companies releasing virtual reality hardware this year, the big players being Oculus Rift (Facebook), Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive and Sony Playstation VR. We pulled some numbers from market research firm SuperData, and were surprised to see that Samsung smoked the competition with 782,000 headset sales worldwide during Q1 of 2017. That leaves a lot of room for increased market share.

For once, a market that isn’t completely saturated.

A study released in early 2017 reported that only 8% of marketers are using VR as part of their advertising efforts currently. Considering that stat, while there is a lot of opportunity in the VR space, the truth is that it has yet to be widely adopted as part of a widespread marketing strategy for many businesses…yet. We view this as an enormous chance to standout in a new medium, without a lot of competition. Check out a few brands who are embracing virtual reality ahead of the curve: Mercedes, National Geographic, and Patron.

Keep in mind though, in 2020, there were more than 57 million VR users in the US; so interest is growing.

According to TechCrunch, the virtual reality market could be worth $25 billion by 2021, and KZero estimates that as many as 28 million people could be paying for VR hardware and content by 2018. That said, the forecast for people like you who are interested in getting in early is looking good.

Here we are, with Meta forging ahead with new ideas, and an expectation that twenty-five percentage of internet users will be using VR in the US by 2023, which amounts to about 70.2 million people. Are you ready to be ahead of the curve? Inching ahead with innovative marketing and storytelling tools?

From video production services, motion graphics services, or event video production, we love video and can talk about it all day long. Start your project and continue your company vision with creative storytelling.

Contact us for more info.

Video 101: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and 360-Degree Video Production

What is the difference between 360-Degree Video, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality?

Everywhere we look on social media, brands are touting 360-Degree and Virtual Reality Videos to help tell better stories. But we’ve found that those terms when describing video are thrown around a bit loosely, so we wanted to take a minute to break it down for y’all. To make sure you have a leg up on what’s trending in the video world, here is what you need to know about the differences between virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and 360-degree video production.

Setting the record straight on Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and 360-degree video

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation or recreation of a real life environment or situation. The goal of VR is to be immersive and engaging and to give viewers the opportunity to experience something they wouldn’t normally get to, like riding shotgun for a NASCAR race. All you need in order to get the full VR experience is a headset like the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, or Google Daydream.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality is where real life and virtual enhancements collide. Think of it more as a supplemented reality where the viewer sees what is going on around them in the real world, but with superimposed, computer-generated add-ons like graphics and sounds. Augmented reality has its own hardware too, like Microsoft’s HoloLens and Sony SmartEyeglass. If you’ve ever played Pokemon GO, you’ve had a taste of AR’s capabilities.

What is 360-Degree Video?

360-degree video is an immersive, spherical video that captures all angles and puts the audience in the driver’s seat when it comes to what they see and when they see it. It can be viewed on a desktop, mobile device, or with VR headgear. We’ve talked before about why 360 video production rules, and why every brand should be using it.

Are 360 video and VR the same thing?

Honestly, it depends on who you ask. Some people say absolutely not, because while 360 video puts the audience smack dab in the middle of an all-encompassing scene, it is not interactive and the footage is real life instead of a simulation. Others reject this claim and counter it with the idea that there are two types of VR: Computer-generated and “real VR”. Computer-generated VR is exactly what we discussed above, and “real VR” is made up of real footage, which is where they say 360-degree video fits in.

What about AR and VR?

Other than the fact that both of these formats have the word “reality” in them, AR and VR are pretty different. Remember, virtual reality is an interactive simulation that mimics real life, while augmented reality is real life, but with the addition of computer-generated elements.

Fun fact: Even though we hear way more buzz around virtual reality, it is actually augmented reality that is on pace to reach $120 billion in revenue by 2020 compared to VR’s projected $30 billion.

Understanding the similarities and differences between these three types of video technology can be tricky, which is why knowing a few guys who happen to be experts in the field is helpful. If you want to learn more about how virtual reality, augmented reality, and 360-degree video production can bolster your marketing strategy, give us a call. We would love to show you their potential first hand.

Bottle Rocket Media’s Success at The 38th Annual Telly Awards

A look at our awards for 360, political commentary, biography, and marketing videos

Time for a quick brag session. Bottle Rocket Media is now the proud owner of not one, not two, but five awards from the 38th annual Telly Awards. That’s three more than last year, and we are so honored and PROUD of our team for all the amazing, creative work they’ve produced over the last 365. Here’s a look at the projects that won big for us this year.

Season 38 Telly Awards Bronze for Branded Content & Entertainment in Craft-Virtual Reality / 360

What better excuse to use 360 than to show the world how WeWork is taking the concept of the shared workspace to a new level? If the beautiful space doesn’t hook you, the amazing people at the helm of WeWork will. The second best part about this project: Getting to spend time in one of the greatest cities in the world.

Season 38 Telly Awards Bronze for Video / Shows / Segments in Craft-Virtual Reality / 360

With 360 video, being courtside has never felt more, well, courtside. We got to go to the opposite coast for this one, and Venice Beach did not disappoint. Don’t take our word for it: Check out these 360-degree dunks.

Season 38 Telly Awards Bronze for Video / Shows / Segments in General-Political/Commentary

Given our country’s political landscape over the last year, we wanted to ensure this project was educational and drove home the importance of voting in the 2016 presidential election. Shout-out to Bryan for taking his motion graphics game to the next level. This video wouldn’t be

Season 38 Telly Awards Bronze for Commercials / Marketing in General-Not-for-profit

Every child deserves a toy, so we decided to let the kids explain why in this production for the Toy Industry Foundation. Nothing tops a young child’s honesty, which makes this video so genuine. This project will always be a favorite for the entire team at Bottle Rocket Media.

Season 38 Telly Awards Bronze for Non-Broadcast Productions in General-Biography

Nurses are very special people. Not only are they some of the most compassionate people around, they also radiate kindness. That is exactly what we wanted to portray in this piece for Horizon Pharma, and there was no better way to do that than with a series of one-on-one interviews to give the audience a first-hand account of just how inspiring these men and women are. We love this project and are so happy to know the Tellys did too.

Let us show you what it’s like to work with a Telly Award-winning production team. Contact Bottle Rocket Media today.

What’s This 360 Video Stuff?

An introduction to video’s newest muse

There’s no doubt that video is marketing’s current it girl. By the end of this year, video content is slated to represent 74% of all internet traffic, and one recent survey found that 76.5% of marketers and small business owners who have used video marketing say it had a direct impact on their business. Video is here to stay, but today, we’re discussing something that’s upping the visual storytelling to new levels. Introducing: 360-degree video.

360-degree video, also known as VR or virtual reality, is a spherical video that completely immerses its audience in every aspect of a story, and it’s blowing the marketing floodgates wide open by allowing brands to connect with their target audiences in a completely new, more personal way. Think IMAX theatre, only on a desktop or mobile device. We’re not the only ones jazzed about 360. According to TechCrunch, more than $1.2 billion was invested in VR tech during Q1 of 2016 alone, and we’re sure you’ve seen at least one 360 photo or video posted to your Facebook feed.

How 360-degree video will take your storytelling game to the next level

It tickles the senses.

360-degree video gives the audience the full sensory experience and the ability to navigate a scene however they choose. It’s no longer about one shot because viewers are no longer seeing things through the eyes of the storyteller – they’re experiencing it with them. So, instead of only seeing and hearing what is controlled and right in front of them, 360 video incorporates the sights, sounds, distractions, and perspectives from every direction. Take this Hamilton rehearsal. Where do your eyes go first? Where do you turn? Do you slowly pan through the entire scene or stop on a certain character? With 360, it’s up to the viewer to decide how they experience the scene in front of them.

It creates empathy.

The amazing thing about the film is its ability to create empathy. Whether it’s an Academy Award-nominated movie or a 60-second Super Bowl commercial for Budweiser, the goal is to create something that resonates with the target audience. When the audience is engaged with a brand’s story, they are more likely to seek more information about the company and its products and services. For example, This video from The North Face does an excellent job of grabbing viewers by showing a unique view of Nepal’s towns and beautiful scenery. The viewer is so immersed in the visual elements surrounding them that they forget this is an ad for mountain climbing gear and attire. But hey, maybe they connected with it so much they went out and bought a North Face jacket. Hook. Line. Sinker.

The opportunities with 360-degree video are endless, and filmmakers and marketers have only scratched the surface. Luckily, some of the most innovative brands in the business have trusted us to pave the way for them in this awesome new form of visual expression. Check out the work we did for  American Girl.

If you’re interested in using 360-degree video or want more information about our services, contact Bottle Rocket Media.