Fredrik Edström’s Nordic VR Company Fueled By A Passion For Gaming
The three co-founders of IVAR Stockholm, Fredrik Edström, Alfred Runow and Martin Edström (left to right) celebrating the Holi Festival in India during a 360 shoot
Fredrik Edström has been enchanted by great storytelling ever since his game-playing youth. Into adulthood, he began producing 360/VR content full-time since 2015, making forays into 360 photography and 360 tours. He also started IVAR with his brother Martin Edström and their childhood friend Alfred Runow in Stockholm. The title IVAR came from the middle name that Fredrik and his brother Martin share, which is also an abbreviation for “Immersive Virtual Augmented Reality”.
To be a part of defining storytelling for a new format is a once in a lifetime thing. We don’t take it lightly.
Fredrik setting up the GoPro Omni in Sarek, a national park in Sweden
IVAR’s first upload to VeeR, Enjoy fishing from the wavy waters off Norway’s coast; Skrei 360°!, was shot in January in northern Norway. One important geological fact that some of us might not realize, is that the sun only comes up for about 1.5 hours a day during this time of the year. This left the production team with minimal daylight to work with. The situation was further complicated by the local fishermen’s habit of going out and working before the sun comes up. The team ended up having to convince the fishermen that they worked with to go out later on an uncharacteristically serene day where they had a full hour of sufficient lighting, which they made most of their content out of.
Fredrik setting up a GoPro Omni during the Skrei 360 shoot
During our interview, Fredrik fondly recalls the extended planning for the Lions 360 video IVAR co-produced with National Geographic. The project was led by his brother Martin Edström, who’s a National Geographic Explorer and photographer.
Their team of creatives spent over 30 days of planning and working out solutions to predictable problems, before embarking on their month-long expedition in the Zambian wilderness with wildlife researchers of the Zambia Carnivore Programme. They spent 17 hours every day in the back of an old 1970s Landrover following a pride of lions and shooting an intimate story about a cub and his mother.
Sneaking in a few shots between downpours while shooting in Ghana during the rainy season
IVAR has a wide collection of different cameras: Freedom 360-rigs, GoPro Omni, Z-cam S1 and a handful of Samsung Gear 360, which Frederik always keeps one in his backpack to shoot whenever feels inspired.
IVAR is currently in pre-production of creating a big VR-production for an upcoming feature film, as well as moving in on producing documentaries and interactive media. For Fredrik this is particularly exciting as shifting toward more scripted filmmaking has always been his dream, and he chomps at the bit at the thought of employing all sorts of different techniques of storytelling in creating a story world.
Personally for Fredrik, he’s been able to play with perspective changes in VR. He explains this interest as attributable to his passion for gaming: “Since I have always been a gamer I am very much looking forward to the possibilities that volumetric filmmaking will give us, the chance to create fully immersive VR where you get to interact with the scene seamlessly and erasing the boundary of just being a viewer and being the protagonist (or at least an integral part) of the story.”
Fredrik flying a DJI Mavic in the Faroe Islands
Our interview with IVAR rounds up on a very hopeful note as Fredrik comments: “VR is here to stay.” Granted it might not grow exponentially like smartphones, it’s nevertheless, as we both agree, here to stay. This new way of observing the world, Fredrik says, will “continue to develop until it impacts (almost) all our senses”.