Allow us to take you back to the beginning of last week; Valentine's Day, just a few short days away. The challenge had been set and the Prodoto team, gallantly accepted. The brief; to create an engaging Valentine video to share across social media platforms.Various themes were offered into the mix and there were plenty of avenues we could have taken, but we made a decision. Inspired by the equipment we use everyday, we chose to pay homage and respect to our unsung room-set hero, the ARRI lamp.
Concept and planning
As a large commercial photography studio, we wouldn’t be able to provide our services without the aid of our professional photographic and lighting equipment. To honour the support we receive from our ‘tools of the trade’, we decided to make these elements our Valentines muse.
With the idea in place and the plan now set, our team set to work. For ease of movement and logistics, we shot the whole animation backwards. Constructing the final heart shaped ARRI lights first, we worked back from the end scene towards the opening shot. One of the biggest challenges was thinking about the backwards movement of the 14 ARRI lamps.
Julian H directed the story and photography. Julian B was our man on set; moving all the elements, little by little, bit by bit.With a lot of the characters moving at the same time and the different elements to coordinate, lamps, stands, cables and cameras, Julian had his hands full!The hardest section to animate was the smaller, child-like lamp and the Phase One ‘football’ camera.Stepping in and out of set, painstakingly moving each element one by one, over and over, again and again. With over 800 images in total, Julian B repeatedly walked back and forth, “stepping 6 meters in and out of the set, I must have walked 3 miles that day, just in the studio!”
Editing and sound
The success of the animation wasn’t going to be down to clever photography alone, bringing the images and soundtrack together in Post Production was key to making the concept work. As Head of Post Production, Steve stepped in.
Placing the images into the correct order, he used video software to animate the photography stills. Sections of the video were sped up or slowed down to create pace and tempo, reflecting the lamps characters and overall feel of the video. With the edit now finalised, Steve quickly turned his attention to the soundtrack.
Locating the right sound effects was important, each movement needed an appropriate sound. From marching footsteps to a cheering crowd, Steve located almost 30 different sound effects for the 44 second animation.
One last final flourish, the Happy Valentines message at the end. And something never seen before, a red Prodoto logo “going against our branding identity, turning the Prodoto logo from blue to red was a little strange at first” Steve admitted, but it was all in the name of Valentines and so our red themed logo was now in place.The final edit finished on time, ready for sharing on Valentines morning. Well done everyone, a great team effort by Julian H, Julian B and Steve - you might even say, It was a labour of love!
Stepping 6 meters in and out of the set, I must have walked 3 miles that day, just in the studio!