Bryn Hewko is a local entrepreneur who wanted to take his virtual reality dreams to the next level. He began Output media, a VR (virtual reality) video post-production company, in 2014. His company has thrived in Lethbridge, and is an inspiration to others wanting to try their hand at a startup.
When Bryn started, VR cameras were not in common circulation. While today we can walk into any electronic store and walk out with a VR setup, Bryn says “when I was doing it, I was putting stuff together myself with 3D printed rigs and cameras.” In America, 14 million Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) devices are expected to be sold in 2019, while VR gaming job postings increased by 93% between 2015 and 2018.*
Bryn made the move from Vancouver to Lethbridge. He finished a degree at Simon Fraser University and worked in freelance, then started his master’s in New Media at the University of Lethbridge. He was inspired by his work in video and VR and his startup came to life. When asked about the differences between running a startup in Lethbridge versus a larger city hub, Bryn explained the lower cost of living was one of the benefits of Southern Alberta. Besides that, “in today’s day and age, it doesn’t really matter where you are. Especially in my line of work. We deal with clients digitally.”
Over time Bryn has seen a slight change in the direction of his startup company into digital marketing. Initially, he had seen VR taking over video, but now, he says, “there are odd niche project done in VR, but they’re very small.” Instead, he sees more growth in Augmented Reality, or AR. AR adds another layer to the viewer’s visual world, and Bryn thinks it can be a powerful tool for content, not just for things like Snapchat filters or online product exploration, but also to show directors what a visual effects shot will look like before they’ve actually shot it.
Bryn’s company now takes students from the University of Lethbridge. “It’s a great learning opportunity for the interns,” Bryn says. The program allows students to have hands-on experience with video production, and shows our Lethbridge graduates the opportunities available in our city.