On this episode of [a]live, we’re joined by Will Maurer, VP of VR and VFX for Legend 3D—the studio behind some of the hottest VR, 3D and visual effects in entertainment today. Maurer and his company made waves at San Diego Comic Con 2016 with The Cosmic Crusaders by Stan Leea VR experience that brings a comic to life.

Maurer explained how quick turnaround and budget restraints forced creativity for the project. “Stan [Lee] hadn’t done VR yet, so his team was basically open to whatever we could put together in the time frame,” Maurer related. Since they weren’t able to recreate the entire comic in VR from the ground up, Legend decided to take the 2D motion comic and build a 360 environment from the series. Stan Lee “morphs in like only Stan Lee can” and provides an intro and outro to each motion comic. The story then plays on a big screen within the VR, 360 experience.

Behind the scenes of Stan Lee
Behind the scenes of Stan Lee’s Cosmic Crusaders VR experience

San Diego Comic Con has provided opportunities for Maurer and his team to create unique—and wildly popular—attractions in collaboration with brands. While the obvious choice for VR is entertainment, Maurer shared some insight into how his company has expanded into other industries.

“Entertainment, marketing and brands have driven content for the most part—the good quality content where there are real budgets behind them to produce,” said Maurer. “We had an opportunity to work on the Suicide Squad piece for Comic Con, we launched the Stan Lee piece for Comic Con, we worked on the Crimson Peak piece for last year’s Comic Con and a lot of marketing-driven, scripted content. [We also] worked with brands like Master Card and Patrón so that’s where the money’s been funneling in. We’re developing a real estate VR platform as well . . . so we’re working with a company called Rex on that technology and bringing the VR marketplace to the real estate sector.”

When it comes to adding VR to other areas of entertainment, Maurer found that many brands don’t know what they want, exactly—only that they want in on the action. As more people understand the process, it will help them to plan better VR stories from the ground up.

“We found an opening working with studios and filmmakers to educate them on what happens in post for VR,” Maurer said. “As that happens more often, you’re going to see stories being created in a way that look better or are shot better or directed better—camera choices and movements that are more thought out.”