Integrated production/post FX house Crash+Sues teamed with Indianapolis agency Young & Laramore to produce an impressive three-minute branding video, "Sensori by BRIZO." Showcasing Delta's upscale line of shower fixtures, the project tapped a wealth of in-house design, production and post services and is a tribute to Crash+Sues comprehensive creative capabilities - from helming the live-action shoot with the Phantom camera to crafting CG elements and performing editorial, color correction and finishing. Echo Boys, the company's sibling audio house, created the evocative original score and sound design. The end-result is a visually compelling piece that highlights BRIZO's latest products and features while affirming their role as a leading high-end retailer of shower fixtures.
Crash+Sues signed on veteran DP Jeff Stonehouse to shoot all the live-action on the Phantom because of his extensive expertise working with water as subject matter and with the revolutionary high-speed digital camera which raised the bar considerably for the production.
"During the pre-viz we had interactive 'powwows' with Jeff and the agency creatives to determine the choice of camera, style of moves and the editorial workflow required by a digital file-based camera like the Phantom," noted Crash+Sues executive producer Donna Drewick. "This process proved very helpful especially with our tight shooting schedule and quick turnaround on the deliverable."
Young & Laramore (Y&L) art director Uriaha Austin Foust said, "The team Donna assembled was extremely flexible and enthusiastic when it came to developing a strategy to make this project happen. A meager budget, a mountain of product to shoot and a super-tight timeline never made them flinch. I've never felt more welcome and inspired than when I've worked with Crash+Sues and Echo Boys."
Shower sets were built on stage to house BRIZO's customizable shower system and permit extreme close ups of the gleaming, high-design fixtures and the slow-motion play of water on skin. In the video, Stonehouse - shooting at 1000 fps - captures BRIZO's fashion-forward style and the sensuous effect of water jets, sprays and water droplets on skin as the voiceover observes that "Sensori not only spirits you away, it revives your spirits."
"Jeff and I were on the same page from the first phone call," notes Y&L's Foust. "When we got on set it was all an experiment, but his experience was evident. We knocked out stellar shots one right after the other. It was a fun couple of days."
Crash+Sues creative editor Carrie Shanahan was on set during production to maximize the efficiency of the shoot. "This was a great opportunity for me to get some intimate experience with the Phantom," she said. "Being on set was a major time-saver as we pared down the mammoth clips generated from the high- speed output. The team could immediately play back takes and ditch anything that didn't hit the mark, essentially pulling selects on set. Stonehouse and his team made a tricky shoot look easy, and Uriaha and Kurt from Y&L were innovative, efficient, and felt like a collaborative extension of the Crash+Sues family."
Shanahan cut the video on Final Cut Pro HD implementing a series of speed changes and further manipulating the footage to illustrate Sensori's unique water technology. "The extreme slow motion of the water was a perfect complement to the elegant and sensory tone of the piece, and the footage could make a speed-ramp fan of anyone," she reported.
"Carrie's eye and attention to detail transformed already spectacular footage into art," declared Foust.
Animators Sean Hall, Matt Sattler and Adam Celt were called upon to generate CG 'builds' of several shower systems to depict Sensori's customizable looks. Simple, elegant titles created by Celt highlight key copy points, such as "Beauty by design," "Smart luxury" and "Limitless possibilities." The video ends with the last droplets of water clinging to a showerhead, then slowly letting go and splashing on a naked shoulder before cutting to the title card, "Their Own Ultimate Sensory Experience," and dissolving into the BRIZO logo animation designed by Celt.
"The 'Shower Builds' as we call them are something that we've actually done for years in other videos. It's sort of a unifying element," explained Foust. "Let me say that we've worked with houses from both coasts and the boys at Crash+Sues brought a smoothness and elegance like no one else. And don't get me started on Adam. He knows how to effect and manipulate without taking things over the top. He always finds the right balance of technology and sophistication."
Sue Lakso color corrected on the da Vinci 2K system. She kept the cooler cast of the original Phantom footage, finessed bright and dark shots for a balance of contrast, and ensured that the water sequences stood out against the showers' neutral backgrounds. Online editor Mark Anderson finished the job on Autodesk's Discreet Smoke laying off to HDCAM-SR, then the media department rounded out Crash+Sues full array of capabilities authoring the beautiful program on Blu-ray disk.
"Mark is a pro. There were so many little imperfections given the super close-up nature of the shoot and Mark made them disappear like a magician," Foust reported. "And Sue is always a pleasure to work with."
Echo Boys' composer Alex Berglund post-scored the video creating music every bit as beautiful as the visuals. He crafted a track that is peaceful and meditative in spots and dramatic in others, indicative of the slow-motion water elements and the stylish Sensori fixtures. Berglund mixed acoustic and electronic instruments, including guitar, marimba, cello and synth to lend both organic and non-organic notes to the score. Tom Lecher created sound design that further enhanced the stunning imagery.
"Alex is a genius. As is Tom," said Foust. "I've worked with a number of studios and Echo Boys is truly something special. I think part of it is because their process is so organic and seamless when it comes to working with Crash+Sues. We brought them in at the first possible moment, and we cultivated the track together. Over time it became more and more refined and resulted in a piece that isn't music, but truly sound designed. I really value all of their individual talents at Echo Boys as well as those of the Crash+Sues family as a whole," Foust concluded.