For this month’s In Focus Interview, we’re excited to feature Telly Award Winner Nice Shoes. Founded 25 years ago as a post-production studio, they have since expanded into providing creative, production, and post-production services to some of the world’s top brands, such as Pepsi, Target, Crest, and the NFL.

We talked to Ninaad Kulkarni, Creative Director of Nice Shoes, about the company’s creative ethos and inspirations, their work on a promo for Abbot Elementary, and their Telly Award-winning immersive content. 

Read our interview with Nice Shoes below! 

The Nice Shoes team works on an impressively diverse range of work. What is the overall creative mission of Nice Shoes, and how do you define creative success?

Nice Shoes has always been about creating stories and experiences that move people.  WIth the onslaught of media being consumed in many new ways, it’s a challenging but exciting time for creatives to make engaging content.  How do you get an emotional response from a participant?  If someone can come to you and say that the experience moved them, that’s success.

    What is one of the biggest creative risks you took recently? What was the outcome? 

    Finding ways to implement AI as a brainstorming and visioning tool.  There will always be a human eye and creative mind behind these processes, and that’s the key to these platforms becoming a widely adopted approach.  We’ve found they’re a great starting point for creative teams to get behind, and wrap their heads around, complex visual ideas.

    What is your favorite piece of work you created in the past year? Tell us the story behind it.

    We had the opportunity to work on a promo for the Emmy award winning tv show Abbott Elementary.  This project was packed with creative and technical challenges and stood out as one of my favorite projects of the year. Through the use of Advanced Production Techniques (APT) and game-engine based workflows, we were able to build a CG interactive street in Philadelphia.  This became the center stage for the live-action filmed cast from the show to augment into. We adopted a combination of techniques which we like to call hybrid virtual production.  This is where the live-action shoot takes place on a green screen stage, and the interactive CG background is compiled in a Game Engine such as Unreal.


    Check out Nice Shoes’ promo for Abbot Elementary! 

    Whose work inspires you the most? Shout out some work that you feel deserves more attention. 

    William Faucher – he’s a YouTuber/ Artist/ Educator who specializes in working in CG Game engine workflows. As part of his tireless service to the larger community of artists and explorers, he manages to capture all of the good – as well as the bad – of the various challenges that he tackles in the production process.  He is building a community of people who work in complex technical worlds, inspiring them to be fearless and share their successes and failures in an ever-changing creative industry.

    You work on a lot of immersive content, including the Telly Award-winning “Audi E-Tron Showroom,” what excites you about the future possibilities of immersive video?

    The future looks extremely promising as we expect the big tech giants start joining the races and create a large marketplace for immersive activations. As more devices and platforms continue to improve and build products that can deeply immerse the viewer, I believe there will be an exponential increase in the need for exploration in creative production in the immersive industry. This will necessitate the creation of novel solutions that venture into the space of trial and error, resulting in exciting outputs. I look forward to the constantly changing immersive landscape and embrace the endless creative possibilities afforded by the open spatial boundaries.

    What does winning a Telly Award mean to you?

    It is an honor to be recognized by the Telly Awards for our innovative work for the Audi E-Tron Virtual Showroom project. I am happy to see more and more Immersive work being recognized at the top level and getting a stage like the Telly Awards to showcase our work is a humbling experience.