Video and Motion Graphics

“The Finish Line”. Honda’s Amazing Formula One Racing Promotion.

Four things I like. Good Design, auto racing, animation/motion graphics, and high-quality video production. When these elements combine into something that epically leverages all of them it’s hard to contain myself. 

I love this video. I’m not sure who the production company was behind it, or if Honda did this in house but the end result is spectacular. The video showcases Honda’s involvement in Formula One racing opening with racing legend Richie Ginther at the wheel of the Honda RA272, which won Honda’s first F1 race at the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix. The car then morphs into Ayrton Senna’s iconic MP4/4 from 1988 making its way around the narrow corners of the Monaco Grand Prix. Then the animation jumps all the way to 2006 when Jenson Button won the Hungarian Grand Prix at the wheel of Honda’s own F1 car and team. From there we cut to Max Verstappen and his heroic win at the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix, and then again at the German Grand Prix.

The piece is interlaced with live-action footage from the races, highly stylized animation, nice use of typography, all built on a limited color pallet of red, black, yellow, blue and white. The style of the animation has a nice graphic novel look, that is matched perfectly to the driving music and soundtrack of engine sounds, crowd, and announcer overlays that help pull the whole thing together. The small details like the speed lines that emanate from the bold titles and the insertion of the Japanese text is a really nice visual design touch that is carried throughout the entire video.

Well done Honda. This is one of the better promotional pieces I’ve seen for Formula One. I’m not sure where this is going to run but I have a feeling during broadcast F1 races. It has a run length of 60 seconds and could be edited down to a 30, or even a 15-second spot if needed.

The high production value on this is sure to pay off. So a solid spot.

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BETC Rebuilds The World With Lego and Some Help from Traktor

For the first time since the 1980s, Lego has unveiled its first brand campaign. Produced by the French agency BETC in conjunction with multi-award winning collective Traktor the project titled Rebuild the World features a live-action film and micro-site designed to send a positive political message about the power of creativity to enable change.

BETC met Lego 18 months ago and worked with the brand’s internal agency to develop the concept, Rebuild the World. “We thought about what would be important for Lego to say today,” said BETC founder Rémi Babinet. “They are one of the most loved brands in the world, no one argues with Lego! It’s like Apple in the beginning; innovation and creativity are both brand and philosophy. That’s rare in the commercial world. The problem it has is that while it is known for the educational aspect of Lego, that perception is a problem for all the parents who don’t have an affinity with the brand. They think it’s about following instructions. But it’s more than play or education – it’s about creativity. To be creative today is the way to achieve something, to navigate the new world. Mathematics and rationality used to be the most important skills, but now creativity is the most valuable skill, and Lego can enable that.”

The tagline “Rebuild the World” resonates beyond Lego itself, to chime with the issues of the contemporary world. 

It is a tag line that everyone can relate to when associating it with the Lego brand.

In keeping with the campaign message, the video goes against expectations by not featuring a single Lego brick. Instead, it is a live-action and CGI adventure caper that sees a rabbit chased by a hunter with a bow and arrow, overcoming every challenge thrown at him with increasingly creative solutions. This was inspired by Lego’s ethos for problem-solving. BETC chose to go down the live-action route because, as Rémi states, “When you are in the head of a child, the bricks become the real world, the world they create with Lego is a real story for them.”

Rebuild the World Micro-Site

Every tiny detail of the film has been considered to reflect the Lego universe and its billions of fans. In the town of Valparaíso in Chile, buildings were repainted to match Lego brick colors. Clothes worn by all the characters in the video are 2D printed like Lego characters. If you look at the bad guy, his shirt, tie, jacket, and binoculars are all printed onto one T-shirt. 

The cars and trees match the cars and trees of a Lego kit. The people bend backward at the hip or turn their head around just like Lego people do. Every scene features a builder to reference the iconic Lego figurine. At one point, a line of ducks crosses the road, which references Lego’s first-ever product. Even the props, such as the camera, cups and the bow and arrow, are made to scale, oversized like Lego accessories.

“There were no limits,” Rémi says. “Lego was a cool brand to work with. It was an opportunity to find things you can never do with other brands. So this film is about what your imagination can do with Lego.”

For all the out-of-home imagery and animated vignettes, which will roll out globally on billboards from London to Los Angeles, BETC did use Lego bricks, shot by photographers who are used to working on luxury brand campaigns – “We wanted to capture the incredible beauty of the bricks. These images subvert stereotypes, challenge expectations, and at times send political messages. They are simple ideas, but often at a societal level. Rebuild the world could be just for fun, or it could address issues in the world today. You can transform the world as you want. It’s not a political campaign. You could go far with these messages, we tried lots of things… but this is a balance between meaningful and fun. It’s conscious, but in the end, it’s only about kids.” – Rémi Babinet.

The entire campaign is reinforced with a solid micro-site, social media, print, and outdoor campaigns. As we roll into the holiday season, it’ll be interesting to see the shorter 30-second broadcast versions of the ad plus any additional online vignette videos that are produced to bolster the entire campaign.

Gestalten and Monocle Bring You Travel Guides, and Some Videos.

As we roll up to Labor day, people are getting ready for that last summer vacation, taking advantage of the long weekend. I’ve burned all my vacation days for the year so I’ll just be taking one extra day off. That doesn’t mean you can’t take a week or two and go somewhere fun though. And to help find all the cool stuff you’ll want to see and do in the exotic destination of your choice Gestalten has released a whole series of guide books from Monocle.

That isn’t what this is about though. This post is about the way Gestalten has truly learned to use video on the internet to promote its product line. If you pop over to their Vimeo page, there are at least seven videos like the one below. They have them cross posted via their social media channels and if you receive the Gestalten newsletter via email, you would have probably seen links pointing back to all of these which, point back to the Gestalten online store where you can buy the product.

The videos are always well crafted, with a high-quality production value, and because they live on the internet, the media buy is cheap and the reach is far.

Now I have to figure out how to get more vacation time because I want to go to Stockholm.

Hyundai (Brand Vision) from Trizz Studio

Back in the early 1990’s I attended a lecture on automotive advertising that made a comparison to the way cars are, or were advertised in Japan at the time versus the United States. In Japan, it was less about the car and more about the mood or feeling. Here in America, little has changed. Most car ads talk about how fast you can go, how much you can haul, will this vehicle help you compensate for something missing in your life, etc. It was and still is an interesting comparison as to how different cultures perceive product relationships and branding. For example the video below, not for a Japanese car, but for Korean Hyundai. The video is an abstraction on relating to the automobile Hyundai’s design sensibilities. It is a short film that combines natural senses and emotions with visual abstractions that relate to what the product stands for; confidence, essentials, refinement, sensuality, effortlessness. It conveys all of this without ever showing a single Hyundai car, and not revealing the brand until the very end of the clip.

The video is an abstraction on relating to the automobile Hyundai’s design sensibilities. It is a short film that combines natural senses and emotions with visual abstractions that relate to what the product stands for; confidence, essentials, refinement, sensuality, effortlessness. It conveys all of this without ever showing a single Hyundai car, and not revealing the brand until the very end of the clip.  What a completely different approach to branding, and one that is the polar opposite of the way automotive branding and advertising is handled here in the good old US of A.

Produced by Trizz Studio for Innocean Worlwide and Hyundai, this is a fantastic blend of CG work, live action footage, and sound design. High production value, and the opportunity to create an abstract representation of what the Hyundai brand represents helps to sell this piece. I think it is wonderful, and frankly would like to see more car ads like this, but I know for a fact no agency in America is ever going to pitch this kind of concept to an automotive client, let alone have an automotive client actually buy in, here in America.

WAtch it full screen and turn up the volume.

Creatures of the Deep

When I first watched this video on Vimeo, I was drawn in by the fantastic cinematography, and the atmosphere that is created in Alan Williams studio. The visuals hooked me but as his story, and discussion about process unfolded, I knew I was here for the full 8-minute duration. After watching it with the sound on, I muted the audio and watched it again, full screen and really looked at the way this was shot, edited, and composed. Ben Cox does a really nice job of framing his shots and using shallow depth of field to focus the viewer on specific elements within the frame. Lighting and color grading come together to really help enhance the story and create a mood that captures Alan Williams personality and the artwork he creates. This short has such a solid look, and great story hooks as well, it’s definitely going in the visual reference library for inspiration at a later date.

Pulse, 3 Weeks Into Winter and I’m Longing For Spring.

Here we are 4 days into 2017, and officially 3 weeks into winter. Tomorrow, we are supposed to get 4 inches of snow, and the high temps are going to maybe hit 20 degrees, which frankly has me longing for my favorite time of the year, mid-May through early July. All of this got me to thinking about the powerful thunderstorms that roll through the midwest fueled by warm moist air blowing up from the Gulf of Mexico and colliding with a cold front rolling in off of the Northern Plains. That got me to searching the internet for some video footage to warm my chilled bones and remind there are just 84 more days until spring.

My discovery this afternoon was the video below by Mike Olbinski. Shot in 4K, color graded to black and white, timed out to just under 5 minutes, it’s absolutely breathtaking. The fact that he had the idea of taking this in a new direction with a black and white post production just makes it. The soundtrack adds to the ominous power of the visuals and makes me long for the opportunity to be able to sit on the sun porch and watch this happening live. (not the tornado part, I like my house). 

If you have the opportunity watch this in 4K on a larger TV. The visuals will knock your socks off. For more info on how Oblinski made it click through here.

This Panda is Dancing

Remember life before your smartphone, tablet, and social media? Yeah I know, it’s kind of hard to imagine not being constantly connected anymore. The video below from Max Stossel & Sander van Dijk is a poetic send up about how we have all become addicted to that piece of tech sitting in your hand right now, or waiting to be retrieved from your pocket as soon as you put down whatever tech you are looking at now.

The video itself is great. A nice live action short with really well thought out graphics that have been motion tracked to specific source points in the frame. Solid editing and post work really help to polish this, but the real meat is in the message. A message with a direct call to action at the timewellspent.io website. The blurb before the video pretty much sums up what they are about.

Today apps and media compete in a race to grab our attention. Join a movement to:

  • Live better with more empowering settings for our media and devices.
  • Change incentives so media competes to improve our lives, not get eyeballs.
  • Invent new interfaces that help us to make room for what matters.

A poetic short film by Max Stossel & Sander van Dijk:

In the Attention Economy, technology and media are designed to maximize our screen-time. But what if they were designed to help us live by our values? timewellspent.io

What if news & media companies were creating content that enriched our lives, vs. catering to our most base instincts for clicks?
What if social platforms were designed to help us create our ideal social lives, instead of to maximize time-on site and “likes”?
What if dating apps measured their success in how well they helped us find what we’re looking for instead of in # of swipes?

As technology gets more and more engaging, and as AI and VR become more and more prevalent in our day-to-day lives we need to take a look at how we’re structuring our future.

Time Well Spent is a movement to align technology with our humanity: timewellspent.io

Director, Co-producer, & Visual Effects: Sander van Dijk: sandervandijk.tv

Writer, Co-producer & Lead Actor: Max Stossel: maxstossel.com

Production Company: Yacht Club Films

Director of Photography: Conor Murphy

Color: RCO

Music & Sound Design: Wesley Slover –

Steadicam Operator: Kyle Fasanella

Graphic Artist: Aaron Kemnitzer

CG Artist: Joseph Pistono

Visual Effects Assistant: Chelsea Galen

Roto Assistant: Regina Morgan-Munoz

Lead Actress: Crystal Lee