Imagine you're a recruiter and it's your job to convince the next generation they should work for your client. It's not a simple task, even if the company is well-known. That is especially true if you're vying for college students' attention at a career fair, where dozens of other recruiters are also attempting to entice fresh, young minds.
For IBM, annual university career fairs are important events. Successful recruiting means more than having a notable name and a smart sales pitch -- it means having technology to match. To add interest to its booth, IBM added a 3D-multimedia kiosk. The kiosk's main purpose was simple: to draw a crowd and attract graduating students in computer science, MIS and engineering fields for internships and entry-level positions.
The kiosk was developed by Holophile, a marketing communications company in Killingworth, Conn., that specializes in 3D imagery and had created two Spectral Imagery kiosks for IBM in 1996. Each 4-foot-wide by 8-foot-tall kiosk showcased a presentation featuring a digital Leonardo da Vinci. The presentation was run off a laserdisc and displayed on a 13-inch monitor on a 25-inch stage that depicted da Vinci's studio. Although these kiosks successfully pushed IBM's technology message, the displays were cumbersome and required extra Holophile staff to set up. When IBM decided to update the kiosks, Paul Barefoot, Holophile president, says the mandate was clear: Holophile had to develop a new presentation and address the size factor. "We had to reduce the size of the two kiosks so IBM [representatives] could handle the setup in the field," he says.
Squeezing onto DVD
To make the traveling kiosks smaller, Holophile switched the presentation medium from a 12-inch laserdisc to a DVD format. Replacing the outdated laserdisc player with a Pioneer 7400 DVD player made it possible to decrease the kiosk's size to a 3-foot cube.
With a smaller kiosk in place, Holophile turned its attention to developing a new presentation based on the Leonardo da Vinci theme. For the new story, Holophile used a stage depicting a museum gallery. Using a digital-video format, Holophile shot the footage needed from the stage using 3D characters. "The characters are a little more than 6 inches high on the set. It's not animation by any means, and they look real after filming," says Barefoot.
The story follows da Vinci as he enters the museum gallery in search of the Mona Lisa. Brenda Wagner, manager of the national recruiter organization for IBM, says the story progresses into the company's pitch. "The Leonardo character picks up a mop, uses it as a brush on one of the museum pictures, which turns it into a screen showing [IBM] technology, products and services," she explains.
An all-digital production
After shooting the presentation, Holophile gave its footage to Digital Video Dynamics of Seaford, N.Y., to edit and author the seven-minute presentation onto DVD. Using the DVD format made the kiosk more portable and made the presentation much more compelling, says Tony Liuzzi, Digital Video Dynamics president. "We're talking about 450 lines of resolution and great audio, and I could author two versions on one disk, compared to a laserdisc, which is analog and less flexible," he says.
The finished product made life easier for the IBM recruiters, who can set up the kiosks with little effort. "Since the machine is set to start the presentation loop, IBM doesn't need to do anything but put the disk into the machine," Liuzzi says. Plus, adds IBM recruiter Wagner, "The images look really cool and the script is fun, but it still informs students about what IBM is looking for, so they naturally gravitate toward the booth."