Advanced Television

Loud Minds partners with White Spark Pictures

May 13, 2024

Loud Minds, the London-based indie founded by Tim Haines and best known for its specialist factual and natural history programming, has signed a partnership agreement with White Spark Pictures, the Australian factual indie behind the VR documentaries The Antarctica Experience and Beyond the Milky Way.

A first agreement of its kind for both indies, the relationship has been established to respond to and drive demand for next-generation VR and immersive experiences in the market. The Loud Minds team, known for developing global brands in ground-breaking TV entertainment, is especially interested in adding to its cross-platform capabilities with ancillary immersive screen experiences and live events for selected high-concept content and IP on its development slate.

The company is currently in production on Surviving Earth, a highly ambitious eight-part series for Universal Television Alternative Studio, which visits eight dramatic mass extinction moments throughout Earth’s history. Some of Loud Minds’ other programming in development similarly uses state-of-the-art CGI, high-end animation and jaw-dropping landscapes, which uniquely lend themselves to immersive experiences, designer VR companion entertainment and long-term content brand extensions.

White Spark Pictures, founded by pioneering filmmaker Briege Whitehead, has been at the forefront of driving VR/immersive experiences for several years. White Spark custom-built its own 360-degree cameras and post-production pipelines to create truly immersive experiences (most VR content is currently filmed in 180 degrees), and its two completed VR films – The Antarctica Experience and Beyond the Milky Way have successfully attracted audiences into a range of venues at home and overseas. Notably, The Antarctica Experience is Australia’s most commercially successful VR film and ranks within the top five theatrically released documentaries in Australia (by ticket receipts) of all time. Such has been both films’ success that three leading museums – the National Museum of Australia in Canberra, the Western Australian Museum in Perth and the Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand – have recently commissioned three new VR documentary films, the first of which is set in the extraordinary Kimberley wilderness and will be released in November this year.

In addition, White Spark Pictures has recently launched a new technology company, Surround Sync, which offers ‘plug and play’ patent-pending technology that, for the first time, can provide virtual reality cinematic shared experiences for mass audiences and venues around the world.

Tim Haines, Loud Minds’ founder, was at the forefront of delivering immersive TV brand extension experiences globally with Walking with Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular and Dinosaurs In The Wild. He comments: “So much of my earlier work, and that currently in development at Loud Minds, is the sort of high concept content with great storytelling that lends itself to a companion VR or themed immersive experience. Demand is increasing all the time, and as technology continues to develop, White Spark Pictures will help us extend our TV brands across a variety of new platforms”.

Mark Popkiewicz, director of Loud Minds, adds, “Loud Minds is delighted to be working with White Spark Pictures. Our shows, and the technical and creative pipelines used to create them, are a perfect fit for high-end immersive entertainment. This new capability allows us to generate a great deal more value around the IP we create and could ultimately prove a game-changer for this nascent sector of the content industry.”

Briege Whitehead, founder of White Spark Pictures adds: “Our passion for VR filmmaking comes from a desire to take audiences to places they would otherwise find difficult to visit. Now, working with the impressive creative minds of Tim and his talented team, we will be able to explore whole new worlds – developed with CGI, animation, and other cutting-edge techniques – to place audiences front and centre in some incredible new stories about our planet. White Spark Pictures is excited to be working with Loud Minds to share the crossover and commercial opportunities now available through VR. Given its visionary credentials, it feels right and fitting that Loud Minds is our first official producer partner, and we look forward to seeing where our combined thinking and expertise might take us. We hope this partnership is the first of many.”

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