Andrew McGovern got his first taste of working in virtual reality in 2007 when he spent a summer driving around and capturing 360-degree footage in Toronto for Google’s Street View project.
Now, he works as vp of virtual reality and augmented reality productions at Digital Domain—the visual effects company founded by James Cameron—and helps create interactive projects and campaigns for studios, agencies and brands like Deutsche Telekom, Sunkist and UFC.
“It’s a very new technology and format so a lot of it is educating clients on what the possibility is, especially on the brand side—it’s an evolution, not a revolution,” he said. “A lot of what we do is offer everything from creative and strategy all the way through production, postproduction and distribution.”
For American Express, McGovern helped build a mobile app that housed a 360-degree version of Taylor Swift’s Blank Space music video as well as a soundtrack. The work won an Emmy Award for Original Interactive Program.
McGovern’s passion for VR and AR comes from working at video imaging company Immersive Media while in college, where he shot the Google Street View footage using full-frame cameras.
“I actually became Google Street View driver No. 6 and I was responsible for the launch of capturing all of Eastern Canada in terms of all the cities and all the roadways,” McGovern said.
After the summer job ended, he kept in touch with Immersive Media and interned at the firm, eventually nabbing a position as director of media and entertainment. In 2015, Immersive Media and Digital Domain formed a joint venture to create a company called IM360 that was squarely focused on emerging video technologies like VR and AR. A year later, Digital Domain acquired Immersive Media and McGovern was tasked with integrating the firm’s VR technology into Digital Domain’s work.
“A lot of my role is finding ways [that] we can blend a lot of our capabilities,” he said.
Vp of VR and AR productions, Digital Domain
Investor, ProSmart Sports Development
Vp of media and entertainment, IM360, Immersive Media
Director, media and entertainment, Immersive Media
Leads all live action, visual effect and broadcast work for the AR and VR department.
How He Got the Gig
While working at Immersive Media, McGovern became fascinated with new video cameras and shooting techniques, which helped him gain an edge in his current role.
“One of the things that sparked my interest was the cameras weren’t just taking pictures—they were actually capturing full-frame, 360 degrees at 30 frames per second,” he said.
From there, it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
From staying current on new devices and techniques, McGovern’s interest in technology—as well as an ability to learn quickly—was a natural fit with VR and AR.
“As new headsets come out or ways of distributing AR, we have to do that very quickly,” he said.