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Lonestar Cinema Ad - From Concept to Creation

October 19, 2010 - Lonestar Community College approached epic software to produce a creative and engaging commercial for their new campus opening in Conroe,TX. We eagerly accepted the challenge with a goal of not only giving them what they want but in true epic fashion going beyond their expectations. What's to follow is a step-by-step accounting of the production process into this commercial. 

The original concept for the commercial involved filming a paper airplane as it travels through a campus setting, eventually landing at a students desk. We at epic felt this ordinary video commercial could offer more to the viewer then the standard video commercial, we wanted to add another dimension to the process. The commercial needed to be :15 seconds long so trying to convey that message in such a short time was challenging.

Inspired by commercials recently airing on TV we set out to reproduce this great effect. The effect in essence takes a 2D world, such as photographs, and throws them into a 3D world giving the images a 3D perspective and layering effect. Adding CGI (computer generated image) elements helps to sell the illusion. It technically is not difficult to achieve but gives great results. You can see an example produced by below the production company King and Country based out of Santa Monica,CA.


Here is the Step-By-Step Process For This Ad-

1. Storyboard

A strong storyboard is key, it lays the groundwork for future production.


2. Animatic

Next is to take the storyboard created and create what is called in "animatic". An animatic gives a better idea of how the scene will look and feel with motion and timing. At its simplest, an animatic is a series of still images edited together and displayed in sequence, with music and dialogue added for further timing. Video below.

3.Photographing Elements

On location (or on set), elements are photographed keeping in my mind perspective, lighting and layout.


4. Element Extraction

In Photoshop, important elements that will be used in the composition are cut out from the photographed images and saved as separate images.


5. Stacking Layers in 3D Space

The extracted elements saved from the previous step are place in stacking order in 3D space. They are 2D images placed in 3D space so they are arranged so that certain elements will be visible above other others.


6. Animate Elements

The elements are animated to the storyboard but not so much that the 2D property of them is exaggerated.

7. CGI Elements

Any CGI(computer generated image)elements are added into the composition and placed in proper relation to the other elements.


8. Camera Movement

Any camera movement needed is added and animated.

9. Color Correction/Visual Elements

Colors are manipulated to better suite the composition, along with any other visual elements needed.


10. Render Video

Composition is rendered out at specs needed. See final video below.


As you can see the process is not complicated but does require lots of planning. Getting to a good start with the storyboard and animatic help immensely when it comes to the production process.  After the spot was delivered to the client, they came back and asked that we shoot a second ending so that it could be used in their 2012 ad campaign.

Posted by Andrew on October 19, 2010

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Initial storyboard

Capture the reactions

Last scene where the airplane lands on the students desk.