In 2015 Dubai UAE based Les Follies Design Haus, commissioned Frame to create eight over the top idents for the re-launch of the Abu Dhabi sports channel AD Sports TV. This is a series that I somehow missed when it dropped. The look is absolutely outstanding. The first video below is the behind the scenes recap explaining how Frame pulled this off. The second is the directors cut of the indents.
In a collaboration with Obeida Sidani, Executive Creative Director at Les Folies, Director and Creative Director Anders Schroder at Frame came up with the idea of having top athletes of various sports performing in the streets with the iconic buildings of night-time Abu Dhabi as the backdrop. As they are performing the surroundings would transform into their respective playing fields.
The team at Frame creative directed, conceptualized and animated the transforming floors under the athlete and the particle systems around them.
Anders wanted a still photography HDR look that would be the polar opposite of the popular organic film look with shallow depth of field and handheld camera shake. He wanted to achieve a look that was almost synthetic and videogame-like with extreme angles and razor sharp infinite focus but all achieved in-camera. A look that would be synonymous with high performance rather than the performers themselves.
To take its a step further Anders suggested to recreating this look in live action. The technique is based on the idea of shooting with multiple exposures and then combine them in post. Furthermore, Anders wanted to shoot high-speed with zero motion blur and considering this was a night shoot which added tremendously to the difficulty.
Together with DP Zubin Mistry they asked themselves: How do we shoot fast paced action high-speed, everything in focus, no motion blur, at night, with both the buildings and the sky and athlete fully exposed?
The answer was motion control, an insane lighting package, Master Primes wide angles, Phantom Flex 4K, and lots of compositing. Using the motion control rig they filmed each shot in several passes moving the massive light rigs out of the shot each time background and buildings were being shot. The motion control rig enables the team to be able to squeeze in another cool gimmick; slow motion athletes in the foreground and time lapse cityscapes in the backgrounds – in the same shot!
The result is a spectacular and hyper-real look that feels almost CG-like even though most of it was shot in camera.
I’m probably going to be the odd man out here, but I’m not a fan of Chick-Fil-A. Not for politically correct reasons. I simply don’t like their fast food. Now, with that said it doesn’t mean the don’t have some great advertising. Marie Hyon, of Psyop has pulled out all the stops in her latest work for the chicken chain crafting “The Time Shop” which extends the message of “Together Time” that McCann put together for Chick-Fil-A this holiday season.
This is such a great example of excellent copy/script writing, high production value animation, and a well thought out concept being brought to fruition for the holiday season. The video below is the full two minute online version of the piece. I haven’t seen the 60, 30, and 15 edits. It’ll be interesting to see how they maintain the storyline through the broadcast versions, especially the 15 second cut.
Director: Marie Hyon Executive Producer: Justin Booth-Clibborn Senior Producer: Suzie Cimato Assistant Producer: Simone Miller Designer: Victorior Wanchana Intrasombat, Pedro Lavin, Samantha Ballardini, Felipe Hansen, Robin Joseph, Andrew Serkin, Dionisius Bangun, Marie Hyon Storyboard Artist: Ben Chan Lead Technical Director: Briana Franceschini Previz Artist: Pat Porter, Nick Dubois, Doug Litos, Modeler: Eric Cunha, David Soto,Anne Yang, Ieva Callender, Briana Franceschini, Brian Kim, Chris Santoianni, Pedro Conti, Kevin Ferrara, Ryan Kirkwood, Casey Reuter, Krista Albert Additional Modeling: Aldrich Torres, Nitesh Nagda, Leonstudio, Basilic Fly Look Dev/Lighter: Ieva Callender, Briana Franceschini, Matthias Bauerle, Eric Cunha, Brian Kim, Thao Dan Nguyen Phan, Anne Yang, Kwan Au, Susie Hong Lead Animator: Pat Porter 3D Animator: Nick Dubois, Doug Litos Lead Rigger: Zed Bennett Rigger: Ohad Bracha, Daishi Takishima Groom FX: Eric Cunha, Ieva Callender, Briana Franceschini, Chris Santoianni VFX: Eban Byrne Cloth/Hair Sim: Jordan Harvey, Scott Hubbard, Daishi Takishima 2D Lead: Matthias Bauerle Compositor: Aaron Baker, Matthias Bauerle, Herculano Fernandes, Manu Gaulot, Lane Jolly, Tingting Li, Carl Mok Compositor Assistant: Keigo Tanaka Matte Painter: Felipe Hansen, Pedro Lavin, Marie Hyon Editor: Loren Christiansen
Every once in a while, I purchase a book based on the reviews I’ve read and fully expect the actual product to not live up to the hype. Usually, it’s that thing where my expectations were inflated due to glowing reviews that tout the quality of the layouts, the editorial, photography and more. With my recent purchase of “Herman Miller: A Way of Living” I have to say the reviews were spot on. (Amazon has this for about $20.00 less)
book chronicles more than 100 years of Herman Miller’s history and the key
events that have made it a cultural icon. Broken out into 10 chapters, the book
creates a timeline that highlights key achievements, people, and events that
have made the Herman Miller company the powerhouse that it is today.
to exhaustive research done by Herman Miller archivist Amy Auscherman, Sam Grawe
and Leon Ransmeier the book is 614 pages of history, illustrations,
photography, and essays that add up to a comprehensive history that in my
opinion is the best book on Herman Miller to date.
Auscherman, Grawe and Ransmeier, spent the better part of four years combing the design collections at the Vitra Design Museum, UCLA Libraries, the Eames Office, Museum of Modern Art, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation included for Herman Miller-related documents, photographs, archives, and illustrations for the new book and it paid off. They have gone into historic detail that not only delves into the company history but the influence that the products, architecture, and people brought to Herman Miller culture over the last 100 years.
The 10 chapters that go in-depth on everything
from key figures in the company’s history (Nelson, Eames, Girard, Frykolm) to
pivotal moments in popular culture that shaped Herman Miller’s trajectory, this
book is the summation of Herman Miller’s existence thus far—the most expansive
one to date.
“Even the nerdiest nerds and Herman Miller fans and people who have spent their whole working life at the company will have something to learn from this book,” she says. “I sit in this interesting position at the company where I kind of know the genesis of ideas that have proliferated and made the company what it is today. These ideas have been revisited and refined over and over again—not in a bad way. Usually, people aren’t coming up with something totally new, but they’re new iterations on something that’s already existed and making it better.”
The book covers everything from furniture design, advertising materials, design research, human factors company culture, textile development and more. Each section or chapter is prefaced with an in-depth essay on the influence that this portion had on the company as it grew from a small Michigan based furniture manufacturer into an international powerhouse.
According to Stash, this is IKEA’s first Christmas TV spot. Somehow that doesn’t seem right to me. I swear I’ve seen holiday-themed ads for IKEA in the past. Maybe this is the first one for IKEA UK.
The spot was put together by the UK VFX powerhouse Electric Theatre Collective. A cast of toys and tchotchkes come to life revealing the hard truth about a family’s home with a bit of rapping and “home shaming”.
Mother has put together something with rock-solid production value that was directed by Tim Kuntz. The 3D animation and live-action footage work really well together and that rabbit cookie jar absolutely creeps me out.
The original track was overseen by Dave Bass and Arnold Hattingh at “Wake the Town”, and the rap was voiced by the legendary MC D Double E.
It’s a fun piece that clocks in at a minute thirty so it’ll be interesting to see how they do the 15/30 edits for broadcast.
Production: MJZ Director: Tom Kuntz Producer: Emma Butterworth Production Manager: Daniel Gay Production Designer: Chris Oddy
VFX/post: Electric Theatre Collective VXF Producer: Magda Krimitsou VXF Coordinator: Larisa Covaciu VXF Creative Director: James Sindle 2D Lead: James Belch 3D Lead: Patrick Krafft 2D Artists: Chris Fraser, Tomer Epsthein 3D Artists: Jordan Dunstall, Ryan Maddox, Mark Bailey, Remy Herisse, Edwin Leeds, Gregory Martin, Nikolai Maderthoner, Will Preston, Stefan Brown, Adrian Lan Sun Luk, Piers Limberg, Zach Pindolia, Olivia Grimmer, Romain Thirion, Richard Fry Colorist: Luke Morrison
I was out on Vimeo checking out the latest work by Eoin Duffy for TedEd and decided to share this animation for a couple of reasons. First, the quality of the work is just outstanding. The quality of the animation and illustration is really well done. The sound design enhances the mood and works so well with the visual style of the piece, and the writing/narration leads the viewer through the story so well.
The subject matter is one of those great “wrap your noodle around these concepts”. What if everything you think is real is just a giant simulation that some supreme set of beings is controlling? What if its all fake and were just too complacent to realize this? Take a few minutes to watch the video and then spend the rest of your day contemplating all of this.
This afternoon while looking at a number of video sites for inspiration on a freelance project, I came across the video below. It led me down a deep rabbit hole, (or would that be a chicken hole?) of advertising and marketing material that has been produced for KFC by Weiden & Kennedy and Psyop.
The game, “I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator” was created by entertainment/advertising company Psyop for the fried-chicken brand taking the player through a three-day culinary school adventure. As the main character, your storyline involves earning your degree, supporting your best friend, and improving your culinary chops. But more than anything else, this is a dating simulator game, so the ultimate objective is to land the svelte Kentucky-fried colonel that is looking just as hipster as KFC’s CGI Instagram influencer version of the man.
The game was released on September 24th through Steam and is available to play for free. While this might seem like an odd marketing play by KFC it actually ties in with a number of other efforts they have produced in the past. Including a virtual reality nightmare of an employee training program and an 8-bit Atari-style game also starring the Colonel.
The graphics are really well done. The game is flush with lush backgrounds, which frankly would into any high production shoujo anime like Special A. The characters, too, are appropriately well-rendered, blinking and pouting in a dynamic enough way to suggest some two-dimensional humanity. Not only that, the food illustrations actually look appetizing as well.
The dialogue trends toward slightly juvenile and cheesy, but with enough self-awareness that many of the lines can definitely be read as ironic. Just look at the culinary school’s deliberate mouthful of a name: “University of Cooking School: Academy for Learning.” That reads like something auto-translated by Google from Japanese to English.
Like most Choose Your Own Adventure games, this is fairly standard click ‘n’ go. But Psyop was smart enough to add some mini-challenges to switch it up, including a timed quiz and a turn-based battle against something called a “spork monster.” It’s definitely not dynamic enough to hold a person’s attention for, an extended amount of gameplay, but more than sufficient for the one or two playthroughs that a normal person is going to undertake.
Psyop introduces a whole host of characters to help flesh out the world-building of this game. There is best friend Miriam, a spectacles-wearing Professor Dog (head of the cooking school of course), villainous Ashleigh and Van Van, small-statured boy, you have sentient kitchen appliance Clank, the forgettable Student (yes, that’s his actual name), and, of course, the hot hipster Colonel.
Of course, all of these characters pale in comparison to the star of the game: Colonel Harland Sanders. The Colonel is the brand spokesperson and they have gone to lengths to present him in ways to help extend the reach of the KFC brand with a younger target audience.
This is such a solid way to use gamification to promote KFC, introduce a new line of products like the Mac n Cheese Bowls. It also ties in with their social media efforts and TV spots which have been leaning to more humor since the Colonel was reintroduced in 2015. KFC is promoting the game in all of their social channels while cross-promoting othe campaigns like “Rudy III KFC Wings”. The overall strategy put together by W+K for KFC just works. It’s offbeat enough to get your attention. The humor is memorable and reflective of the quality copywriting that has gone into every touchpoint. And more importantly, it works which is evident in how well the brand has done over the last four years. By taking risks and leveraging the Colonel’s off-beat personality and drive to sell chicken give them permission to do things like the Colonel Sanders bearskin rug stunt or a hot tub that looks like a bucket of chicken.
Anyone that knows me, knows I am a huge fan of the industrial design work that Deiter rams did for Braun. His influence and the work he did for Braun can still be felt today on so many product lines by other companies like Apple.
Braun has been absent from the audio world for more than two decades, but original stereo systems from the 50s, 60s, and 70s are still in demand. Not because they offer a superior audio experience, but because of the design and visual aesthetic they present.
The hottest Braun stereo collectible is probably the SK5 “Snow White’s Coffin” record player and radio. It is sublimely minimal in its execution with white powder-coated steel sandwiched between wooden side panels under a plexiglass case. The design was a radical departure for stereo gear when this was introduced in the 1950s.
One of my personal favorites from the Braun stereo family has always been the Braun Audio 1 from 1962. To me, it feels timeless. You can feel where it came from (the SK5) and understand the visual direction Rams was taking Braun over the next decade.
In addition to the Audio 1, Braun introduced a set of minimalist speakers in 1959, the LE1. The LE1 is so simple in its design form. White rectangular slabs suspended on chrome tubular legs with a perforated black metal grill. The form is almost sculptural in quality and an even more radical departure from stereo systems of the day. You have to remember, in 1959 most stereo systems looked like a large wooden piece of furniture that would blend in with what was in your living room. The LE1 stands out. It’s meant to be seen as well as heard.
The LE1 was the first electrostatic speaker available on the German market, the LE 1 provided a new housing for internal electronics produced by English engineering company Quad, then trading as Acoustical Manufacturing Co. Ltd. The LE 1’s electronics were based on the Quad ESL-57, producing a distinctively detailed sound that still stands up well against the standards of contemporary hi-fi systems today. At the time of its introduction, the speaker was technically and aesthetically ground-breaking. Within the Braun audio program of the late ‘50s, the LE 1 was intended to accompany the first Braun component Hi-Fi system, the Braun Studio 2.
For the first time in 28 years, Braun is back in the audio business. Well sort of. Braun Audio is returning with a reinvention of the aforementioned LE speakers from 1959. A perfect reintroduction to the heritage of Braun Audio, the new LE Series focuses on the purity of design, purity of performance and the purity of sound Braun was known for in the past.
These beautifully minimalist speakers have been re-imagined by Precipice Design. The London-based design company developed all consumer and trade touchpoints including brand and product narratives, packaging, photography, iconography, digital assets (website, and mobile app), video content, and point of sale concepts, print catalogs, and advertising, helping to re-establish Braun in the premium audio sector.
When you look at the complete set of design materials that Precipice created for Braun you are immediately aware of the heritage of vintage Braun while positioning them squarely in the modern market place. The imagery that is used across all touchpoints echoes the minimalist aesthetic that Braun became known for, not simply in the products they produced but in the owner’s manuals, advertising, and packaging that was produced during their heyday.
As I looked at the new website that Precipice produced I was struck by how it so closely mirrored many of the Braun printed items I’ve seen from the 1960s an70s. The minimal color pallet, sparse layout, concise messaging. The same look and feel are carried over to the mobile app, and on to the packaging. With the packaging focusing on the purity of sound while focusing on the brand’s heritage. Only key information about the product shown on the packaging. The uncomplicated packaging is typical of Braun and reflects the aesthetics of the classic speaker through dark tones and a graphic of the speaker itself.
The speakers themselves are an homage to the original LE1 updated to reflect today’s taste and improved technologies. Where the original 1959 speaker would probably prove to be too large in today’s home environment, Precipice’s vision shows how the LE1 can be reimagined to fit more discreetly into one’s home.
The new speaker brings the same vision Ram’s had in 1959. A minimalist slab in white with a black grill floating above a chrome stand. The speaker is angled slightly backward, and the controls are almost invisible. Precipice also introduces a solid black version of the speaker and two additional sizes, all of which use the same visual language.
Floor stands have been designed as well, but I have to say I don’t think they work as well. They seem rather chunky except where they have been extended and used with the smallest of the speakers.
There is no word on availability yet. I’m betting these will be available this fall for the Christmas shopping season. The product was introduced around the first of September this year so you would think they would be ready for sale by mid-November at the latest. Pricing will range from $1200.00 for the largest of the 3 down to $380.00 for the smallest.
I don’t need these, but I wouldn’t mind having them. Full information and specs are available on the Braun Audio website.