Bicoastal U.S. creative production company Stardust Studios recently produced a dynamic :15 video installation piece for a Zune account creative team from newly established shop, T.A.G., San Francisco, which included group creative directors Scott Duchon and Geoff Edwards, art director Rey Andrade, copywriter Joe Rose, director of broadcast production Jan O'Malley and agency producer Lee Anne Weldon. The finished piece entitled "Zune Tron" ran on the famous 20-foot LED "Geoffreytron" video billboard located above Toys"R"Us in New York City's Times Square throughout the recent holiday season, and Stardust's artwork created for the project has also been used in the agency's campaign print and online banner ads.
Stardust's project team consisted of creative director Jake Banks, art director Jonathan Wu, producer Lisa Pierce, designer/2D animator Bill Bak, designer Emie Lee, 3D animators James Anderson and Brian Broussard, and 3D modeler Chris Eckardt.
"The agency let us know they were interested in producing a video piece for the Zune player on the 'Geoffreytron,'" Wu explained. "The brief essentially called for us to express all the things the Zune artistically. In our approach, we came up with 20 different styles using abstract ways of representing the Zune player's capabilities using sound waves and other designs. The creatives asked us to mix and match a few of the boards, representing different artists' work."
Wu also confirmed that one of the styleboards created by Stardust's artist Ling Feng was selected for a print ad which has run in recent issues of Rolling Stone, Wired and many other high-circulation consumer magazines. That artwork has also been used in some online components of the campaign.
After getting the green light to proceed, Stardust assembled their team of 3D designers and modelers, relying on Bak for design, animation and 2D compositing. As the artwork was completed in Maya, Bak artfully composited the elements together in After Effects.
"The biggest challenge of producing this project was that we had to visually show music without using sound," Wu continued. "Key parts of the solution were adding a lot of color to make it vibrant and lively, and also getting this nice slow musical rhythm to it. In the different animated sequences, there were a lot of dynamics involved in Maya in creating how things fell; a lot of those effects were a mix of Maya elements with 2D After Effects elements. The After Effects elements typically were created with Trapcode plugins like 3D Stroke and Particular. Another big trick was how we handled the lava in the background. Using a three-step process, we were able to make the lava morph from one object to another."
"Stardust was really able to bring out the most from a silent medium," said Scott Duhon, Creative Director/ Partner, T.A.G. "This campaign is all about music, and bringing it to life without sound was not an easy task. However, they were able to continue the story we began from TV and execute it in an incredibly fresh and iconic way."
For T.A.G., a unit of McCann Worldgroup San Francisco, campaign credits also include account director Michael Zlatoper and account executive Lyndsey Corona.