Welcome To Vapor95

By Lasha Mamulashvili

Welcome To Vapor95

An Interview With Creator Skycorp Home Video

The commercial you created for Vapor95 perfectly encapsulates the brand energy and vibe, how did you come up with the idea for the plotline / imagery? 

River actually blasted out an interesting idea over a voice message which acted as the foundation. We knew from the beginning it was about a 90s kid getting sucked into a "vapor95 themed world" via old website and having this surreal journey that showed off the clothes. After that it was up to me to get down to specifics - which honestly took me awhile. 

I knew finding the specifics to imagery / plot was related to the clothes he was going to wear. But Vapor95 has such a vast catalogue with different art styles that it was difficult to figure out. After some drafts that didn't quite hit the mark, I settled on this "3 worlds concept" where we would show off clothes that made sense for that world. After that it was about how we transition between them and tying in some kind of emotional arc. This was strange because with surrealism it's pretty much nonsense, but that nonsense has to at least feel like it builds to a climax. So it's both easy and hard to write. For a while I couldn’t seem to think of anything, but once we got Spencer and Chris involved, it all clicked. I had their characters have little moments of nonsense that moved the surreal plot forward.  

As for inspiration on the imagery itself, I'm a huge fan of vaporwave. Very in love with the aesthetic, this was the perfect project to finally do it. I have tons of mood boards from vaporwave themed IG accounts and pinterest stuff saved. Once the 3 world concept was out, I worked closely with my 3D artist Miguel to figure out what elements would fit best. We both had a solid grasp on vaporwave aesthetics so between the both of us the world's came out naturally.

Tell us a little bit about your process for shooting and editing the commercial, how did you bring the concept to life?

For shooting I try to do what I think will have the right psychological effect on the viewer for the moments in the script. So I think of all the camera angles that fit that beforehand, by typically referencing other pieces of media. I make powerpoints and visual boards of what I think the look and feel is. Usually a lot of the shots have to be thrown out and improvised because there’s so many unknown factors that present themselves on the shooting day itself; time being the largest factor. So I develop a plan and then branch off it in the moment. As for editing at this point I’ve spent 15 years doing it so I just let my brain go to town. It’s sorta like throwing paint at a wall, you just try stuff you like and eventually find what works, then focus on it. It’s definitely my best skillset and what I’m most known for.

You perfectly captured the nostalgia of the ‘90s as well as the various fashion worlds Timmy travels to! Are you a fan of the aesthetics? Did you look to old ‘90s commercials for inspiration?

Thank you thank you. Yes I’m a huge fan of 80s / 90s aesthetics. For this project in particular I did not look at a ton of 90’s ads but I’ve seen so many of them. For this it was more about studying the vaporwave world and doing my own version of it to fit this project. I do miss that old aesthetic though. I love the graphic design. The camera angles. THE ENERGY.  It was so artistic and fun. I often wonder why we don’t do it anymore. I feel like advertising has become too safe. Brands are afraid to take risks and do something out of the ordinary. But I believe being out of the ordinary in a particular way is what BRANDS something so it’s deeply ironic. Luckily with this project there weren’t any reservations on being “out there” and I think that was critical to how it turned out.

If you had to choose one of these worlds to live in, which one would you pick and why?

I wouldn’t live in any of them. I think they are fun windows to look into, but if I lived there I would probably develop a bad habit of having conversations with floating cubes.

The transitions and 3d modeling in this commercial are incredible! Did you do all of the editing and animation yourself?

The 3D Animation was all done by my friend Miguel! He doesn’t get enough credit. It was his first project of this magnitude and he delivered beautifully. He worked very hard and had an amazing attitude throughout the whole project. His IG handle is migrod.png, so check him out - he makes interesting stuff.

I handled all the editing and compositing. Compositing means taking out the green screen and placing the character over the 3D environment. I did all the cyberpunk world VFX and computer screen stuff as well. 

What was your favorite part about making the commercial? Any funny behind the scenes moments?

My favorite part was the cyberpunk world. Making Spencer scream “HIS POWER LEVELS ARE OFF THE CHARTS” as well as telling Merrick to vibrate his body repeatedly like a short circuiting robot without giving him much explanation why. I also got a kick out of when Spencer figured out he ate Solene’s food while she was describing what she ordered. Other than that, working with my friend Henry as producer and others is always really fun. I love getting all these people together to make something absurd. 

What was the most challenging part of the filming and editing process?

The most challenging overall was writing and nailing down the idea since it was so surreal. The shooting was difficult because it’s all green screen, and I didnt have a lot of experience shooting on that. The editing was challenging in figuring out the transitions to each world. Plus it was my first time working with a 3D artist. So not understanding how that worked was a minor headache, but that process was ultimately smooth. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to do something similar? 

Understand how much work it’s really going to take and then decide if you love it enough to learn. The process is intensely frustrating if you're aiming for true authenticity. Most people settle on VHS filters / boosting colors and simply speaking in that 80s / 90s tone. Because beyond that it takes a great deal of time and effort to pull off. I say really just look at what aspects of those old aesthetics you like and figure out a way to incorporate it into your work with your current skill set. Think of what you think is cool and funny and how those elements fit into an expression of yourself with what is feasible to achieve. 

Does Timmy’s mom give him her credit card to order Vapor95?

Her credit card, social security, and a strand of hair / vial of blood. This is the only way to ensure brand loyalty.

If there was a part 2 of the commercial, what aesthetic worlds would you have him visiting next?

I like the idea of visiting a Japanese aesthetic commercial. It would flow together but not make any sort of sense. Play on most American’s not being able to understand japanese and create all sorts of weird nonsense that eventually devolve into foreign chaos.

WATCH THE COMMERCIAL!