Video

Chuck Norris (and Aker) Are Saving the Planet

Oslo based agency ANTI has put together a web video for the Norwegian energy company Aker that take Chuck Norris to a whole new level. The two minute spot plays off all the Chuck Norris meme’s from the early 2000s and blends some really nice CGI with live action shots. Great writing and concept help take this to the next level.

Directed by Espen Sandberg (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) this high production value spot does a fantastic job of communicating what Aker does, and how they are benefiting the environment while keeping the viewer engaged.

I love the fact that Chuck Norris plays along and hams up the spot, and I especially like the fact that Aker was willing to go all in on the concept. Not bad for a company that operates in a sector that tends to be conservative when promoting what they do. When Chuck says “I eat Krill for breakfast”, I laughed out loud. Way to go ANTI

Motion graphics and CGI: prodco Motion Blur Agency ANTI

TRIPWIRE Daydream

I often step back when I see an ad and ask myself “What do you think the pitch was like when presenting to the client?” This ad for Tripwire is one of those ads. The 60-second spot takes the viewer on a trippy little adventure, and the payoff doesn’t arrive until the very end.


I’m not saying the ad is bad, in fact, the production value is top-notch, and once you get to the end of the piece and realize what is going on it works. I’m just wondering how the team sold this concept to the marketing department at an IT / Data Security software company, and what the pitch deck would have looked like.

Agency: PMG
ECD: Kyle Kelley
ECD: Andrew Harper
ACD: Lori Wittig – lori.wittig@pmg.com
ACD: Justin Prichard
Writer: Benjy Joung
AD: Kevin Yurasovich

Camp Lucky
Director: Adam Littke
EP: Brandon Tapp
Producer: Elizabeth Spiva
Editor: Logan Hefflefinger
Assistant Editor/Junior VFX: Jake Odgers
Graphic Artist: Seth Olson
Color: Neil Anderson
Audio: Scottie Richardson
Finish: Mark Sullivan
EP: Jessica Berry

Deep Fake This – Fashion

The whole “Deep Fake” thing is something I have been interested in for some time. Each year it gets better and better, and as AI / Machine learning and technology advances being able to discern what is real, and what isn’t is getting harder. Where will this be in 10 years is hard to say, but the implications are pretty obvious. What does a person do when they can no longer tell if a video of someone is the real thing or not?

OK, enough of what could lead down a long and disheartening rabbit hole of despair about the future and how technology wreaks havoc on humanity.

To showcase the 2022 Spring Balenciaga fashion collection, creative director Marcus Dryden and the talented crew at MDC combined AI/machine learning, a real-time game engine, and hands-on VFX work to create a deepfake of American artist Eliza Douglas wrapped in every look from Balenciaga’s Spring ’22 collection. There is some live-action footage blended with CG and some solid post-work. They don’t say what the game engine is that they used, but I bet it was probably something like “Unreal”, or “Unity”. Below the video is a statement from Dryden breaking down the production.

“In Pre-production, we were able to plan the whole show. We used a games engine to previsualize which looks could be body doubles vs. which one needed to be the real Eliza. Also, the pre-viz defined the scale of the set for the art department and allowed production to choose the best lens, angles, and positions needed to run the multiple cameras in sync whilst on location.

During the shoot, MPC on-set supervisors Carsten Keller and Damien Canameras captured photogrammetry of Eliza’s face and oversaw a variety of in-situ plates to extract her face and transpose it onto the body doubles shot on the catwalk.

We also used a CG scan of Eliza’s head and an on-set photo reference to build a proxy Eliza head to help visualize the face replacements. This allowed our compositing team to study and analyze each shot, each face to define the best process to achieve the highest-quality clone.

The team then applied the best technique to create the face replacements: Planar tracking, roto animation, Keen Tools (a 3D tracking and modeling tool inside Nuke), and Machine Learning (AI/deep fake).

Once we began attaching Eliza’s faces, we matched light, textures, and motion artifacts using compositing. Using the references and the scan of the head, we made sure each clone’s face was as pixel-accurate to Eliza’s face as possible while still retaining the nuance of the specific Balenciaga design aesthetic.

The final film shows all the clones with Eliza’s photogrammetry-captured and CG-scanned face as they march down a minimalist runway to a sci-fi-inspired soundtrack composed by BFRND, which includes an AI voice narrating the lyrics of La Vie En Rose.”

Zendesk Helpers

I always love it when a company decides to use a different marketing approach to subtly promote who they are. I recently discovered that CRM software manufacturer Zendesk has started producing a series of documentary shorts that have nothing to do with Zendesk. I came across the videos on Vimeo while actually looking for something related to their product and then discovered the link to Zendesk Helpers a microsite which has the purpose of being helpful and encouraging, and a little bit of software promotion.

One of the things that I love about the site and the videos, is the high quality production value that is presented. Especially the videos. These are not shoot it on your iPhone and edit in iMovie (although I have seen some videos done that way that look really amazing). All of these have a fairly large production crew and it shows.

Beyond the production however, is the quality of the content itself. Each video left me feeling good about humanity, something we all need these days. As of February there were a total of 5 video stories available on the microsite. I’m hoping they are in the process of producing even more, because these are great.

We set out to look for helpfulness in the world and were amazed at the stories we found. Because being helpful might sound simple, but it’s actually badass.

Zen Desk Helpers