Backwater is a narrative Virtual Reality short film about a dirty cop’s last heist.

BMW / Mini and KKLD approached director Gevorg Karensky in search of a cinema quality narrative short film, viewable in stereoscopic 360°. This project was the first of its kind. It demanded that the best cameras available on the market be utilized to deliver the desired dynamic range. The final film had to be flawless, devoid of any stitching artifacts, even when characters crossed from camera to camera in close proximity.

The project was extremely complex. Before the script was finalized by director Gevorg Karensky, the Bipolar Id team had already begun researching how to build a camera rig capable of such a gargantuan task. After three months of R&D they had built a proprietary VR stitching pipeline nicknamed ‘Bipolar Stitch’.

The final project was filmed with 9 Red Dragon cameras, each filming at 6K with a combined resolution of 30K . By the time the project reached postproduction, the cameras had collected a whopping 200TB of data. To process such a large volume of information, Bipolar Id built a custom supercomputer network — 200 cores, 200 GB of RAM, and 96GB of GPU all optimized for Virtual Reality.

By the time the project was color graded and finalized, it had generated over 1,000,000 unique frames.

The final film became the highest quality live action VR experience in the industry.


Client: BMW/Mini
Creative Supervision: KKLD Berlin
Director: Gevorg Karensky
Writers: Gevorg Karensky, Nate Eggert
Producers: Nick Sutherland Dodd, Aurelien Simon, Cathy Peng, Christian Grandi
Executive Producers: Michelle Craig, Robert Bader, Stephan Bader, Rafa Montilla
Director of Photography: Pancho Alcaine
Editor: Gevorg Karensky
Cast: Andrew Koji, Courtney Kuroyama, Florin Opritescu
Line Producer: Anahi Puig
Production Manager: Yolanda Gata, Marketa Hrusecka
1st Assistant Director: Carles Valero
Production Coordinator: Jone Muniz
Production Designer: Ana Alvargonzales
Wardrobe Stylist: Miriam Ibanez
Makeup & Hairdresser: Nataliya Montoya
Casting Director UK: Sasha Robertson
Casting Director Spain: Luci Lenox Red Dragon
VR Rig: Luis Flores Jr, Blair Stratton Paulsen, Dominic Perreira, Nick Lantz, George Ortega, Tonaci Tran
Custom VR Car Rig: David Crone
Gaffer: Jose Luis Rodriguez
Post Producers: Rory Mathieson, Sean Chung
Sound Design & Music: Box of Toys
Production: Unit9
Service Production: Omicron
VR Post Production & CGI: Bipolar Id
VR Colour Grade: Bipolar Id