Already sick of holiday shopping, the endless garage of spam emails trying to get you to buy more crap, pumpkin spiced this and that, and holiday commercials? I know I am. I did all my shopping online a month ago, and am hiding out in a warm place until January 4th.
If you’re looking for a break from the Christmas Consumer Crush, look no further. Below is a short film from Tony Zhou on Buster Keaton, and how his silent film work from a century ago continues to influence film makers today.
Do yourself a favor, put the plastic back in your wallet and take a few minutes to watch this. Better yet, watch this, then jump over to Vimeo to see all of Tony’s films.
“Before Edgar Wright and Wes Anderson, before Chuck Jones and Jackie Chan, there was Buster Keaton, one of the founding fathers of visual comedy. And nearly 100 years after he first appeared onscreen, we’re still learning from him. Today, i’d like to talk about the artistry (and the thinking) behind his gags. Press the CC button to see the names of the films.”
Kinetic Type animations are one of those things that just keeping popping back into play on the old TV set. Just about the time you think it’s died and gone away, here comes another regional ad but with a kinetic type template bought on Video Hive and repurposed. One spot though that has been making the rounds is for CMT Music from Superestudio. I like it because the crew that put it together pushed the style to a higher level. They introduce animated grids and blocks that frame the type as well as the video subject matter, instead of the typical flipping and rotating text timed to a voice over. The whole look is spot on with a bold color pallet, nice visuals, solid editing, and great timing. Next time someone asks you to create a piece and they show you a typical kinetic type spot, point them to this and tell them you’d like to try something that looks a little different.
Creating something with a minimalist style is harder than you think. It’s more than just stripping away superfluous decoration, pattern, and color. It requires that keen ability to create something visually balanced, visually appealing, stripped down to bare geometry and form.
Earlier today I had an email from a friend pointing me to this stunning table from Jay-Design. The Chiuet table is a masterpiece of balance, line, and form, abstracted from the shape of a pond or perhaps a water lily floating in it. The table top becomes both the shape of the pond and the lily, while the thin steel legs become the roots.
Executed in a high grade steel the table is at times almost invisible, especially in profile. The legs disappear beneath, creating a floating surface that appears to hover. Chiuet is realization of minimalist finesse, that is representative of his Asian aesthetic mixing nature and minimalism, in a deep black. No word on where to get this, or if it was ever produced. If I find out more, I’ll post an update.
The purpose of advertising is to get you to do something. Buy it, click on it, engage with it, remember it etc. The video below form NVIDIA got me to do a couple of those things. I’m going to remember the brand, I clicked through to find out more about the product, and the ad kept me engaged all the way to the end when I got the pay off. With that said I have to admit I was confused for most of this spot. Intrigued, but confused. I saw product placement throughout, but I actually thought this was for a new Xbox. Why? because this was sent to me, and I took it out of context from the NVIDIA YouTube Channel.
For a company that has built it’s brand on building video cards for gaming computers, and CGI workstations I am now left wondering how much of this is real, and how much is CGI. I know the cat didn’t actually go with him. I know it looks like the real deal, except I kept wondering how they kept the platform level for so much of the free fall. It doesn’t matter I guess. I clicked through to the NVIDIA Shield site to check things out and find out more about the product, which by the way, doesn’t offer anything so unique that I would switch from using my Apple TV and Airplay to sling content from my iPad and Macbook to the TV screen.
It’s still a fun add and website though. And for the record, the more I watch this, the more I think it’s real footage.
Just under a week ago, Paris was rocked for the second time in less than year by senseless terrorist attacks. Over the last 6 days the news has been filled with more information about the attacks, and the possibility of more. In times like these it is often hard to imagine how much good is going on in the world, but occasionally we get reminded of it. Today I was looking around for visual inspiration for a new project I am starting when I came across this animated short by Hue&Cry for CARE. The animation is fantastic, the script and narration filled with hope, as it tells the story of how CARE started and evolved over the last 70 years.
It’s always tough to tell a brand’s story. It’s even tougher when the story spans 70 years of evolution and progress. But the toughest part about telling this story was truly honoring one of the oldest and greatest humanitarian foundations on the globe.’Power of a Box’ touches on the history, the evolution and the sheer scope of the work that the CARE Foundation has been delivering since the first half of last century, an effort that has improved the lives of a billion people in 90 countries around the world.
Then we took it another step. The core message and visuals of ’Power of a Box’ have been translated to an additional :30 and :15, as well as print, digital and social medias to create a new campaign for CARE. Our hope is that an organization that was at one point the ‘go to’ for humanitarian contribution will again become a house hold name that people know and trust, and we look forward to continuing to push their message and help them deliver lasting change.
Written and Directed by Hue&Cry Original Music and Sound Design by Antfood Narrated by Matt Dillon
Since June I have been working as a contract designer and freelance designer. While the work I am producing is some of the most fulfilling I’ve done in years, there is this one annoying thing that keeps dogging me. Actually, it’s been dogging me my entire career, and I hate it. “Spec Work”. Working on spec is pure bullshit, and it seems as though the design, and advertising industry is one of the only spaces where you are basically asked to work for free to prove yourself. I quit doing spec along time ago. If a potential client asks for it, I tell them they need to go elsewhere. I’ve been called arrogant, a prima donna, stubborn, naive, ignorant, and host of other names because I refuse to do spec.
The video below from Zulu Alpha Kilo nails the absurdity of spec work. If you are in the creative field and you are being asked to do spec, I say tell them no. If we all say, no, then maybe this will stop. By the way, my favorite is the restaurant owner. He’s like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld.
If you are old enough, you might remember when MTV and VH1 actually played music videos. You might remember a time when all of the reality TV crap they show now didn’t exist. Some of us even remember seeing The Buggles, “Video Killed the Radio Star” on MTV and realizing that MTV was going to change how we looked at music forever.
Fast forward 30 years, and MTV is nothing like it used to be. Neither is the way we all take in music. From satellite radio, to iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, eMusic, Vimeo, YouTube, on every device, anywhere we want to listen or watch. I watch a lot of music on YouTube. From vintage 1950’s TV programs on Jazz with live performances by people like John Coltrane, to new release music videos.
A few days ago, YouTube launched the YouTube Music app, and in many ways it felt like MTV during its golden era. The comments section for the video is filled with a boat load of people bashing it and not understanding the point. The way I see it, YouTube is trying to remain relevant at a point where Facebook is getting ready to launch it’s own dedicated video service. The advantage YouTube has is the vast size of it’s catalog, and the fact that it is tied to Google. Content is king in the streaming business, and YouTube has it in spades.