American multinational retail corporation Walmart relied on the disguise extended reality (xR) workflow to host two of its most important corporate meetings virtually for the first time earlier this year.
Walmart needed to address a global audience of investors in its annual Investor Community Meeting (ICM), as well as key management personnel in its Year Beginning Meeting (YBM), remotely. Partnering with experiential event company LEO Events, Walmart invited Xite Labs, a long-time disguise creative and workflow partner, to deliver a custom-built stage powered by disguise xR at Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, to host the two virtual events.
Using the extended reality set-up, speakers could present information, showcase statistics and accent the meetings with augmented reality elements to add layers of visual interest and engage viewers in a compelling way.
“Xite was proud to deliver a near-perfect xR production for one of the biggest companies in the world on an event that moves markets,” notes Xite Labs Creative Director Greg Russell.
Russell and his team spent one month pre-programming, testing cameras, AR functionality and pixel mapping content at Xite Labs’ office in Los Angeles, ahead of their trip to Arkansas. Once on site, they were able to build the xR stage from the ground up in just one week, ready for the three days of shooting.
Instrumental to meeting this tight timeframe for Walmart’s two xR productions was Xite’s careful equipment planning and the ability to have its own studio get all the gear and the workflow pipeline even before placing equipment orders.
The nature of a corporate environment and a high profile investment meeting meant Xite had to be prepared for last-minute script changes close to the launch day.
“We anticipated some last-minute changes, so we had parameters in disguise for all the 3D text elements, which allowed us to change the values of the text quickly,” explains Creative Director Greg Russell. “All the AR content updates were done remotely through the disguise interface. This enabled Xite to work flexibly and handle last minute script changes.”
Walmart executives embraced xR production. They were able to get a sense of their environment and position on stage, including the appearance of AR graphics, while keeping the audience engaged by interacting with AR elements.
“This represented a pretty significant step up for Walmart in the virtual space, and now they are interested in doing more,” explains Russell. “The president of Walmart’s phone lit up with positive responses to the approach, appearance, as well as the overall polish of the presentation experience.”
Editorial was performed on-site for each of the shoot days, eliminating the burden of clean-up and rendering. The only live components of the two meetings were Q&As that ran at the end of each event when Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon responded to callers seen on the screen.
Creative/xR Directors: Vello Virkhaus, Greg Russell
Emile Wolsky – Executive Producer, Content Producer
Technical Directors: Jeremy Vannix, Simon Anaya
Production Partners: Evolve Media Group, Lightswitch, Robe, ANC
Media Server Operator: Simon Anaya
Producer: Anders Rahm
Notch Artists: Travis Poe, Simon Anaya, Mike Estacio
Lighting Director: Mike Robertson, Lightswitch
DP/Jib Operator: Pierce Cook