Wikipedia: In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.
This is a story about how we made a cutdown for a client, and how imperfection is actually pretty great.
We recently made a Facebook teaser video for MassMutual and their new Coverpath insurance product. It’s part of a longer-form financial services video production we did last month in New York. I’m posting it because this is a perfect example of a situation where a client hires us for a project and then asks us if it’s possible to create more than one deliverable for them.
In this case, the request came in after we’d already filmed. So, I sat down with Jessica (not really, I think she was on one coast and I was on the other) and we figured out a story that hits all the important points of Coverpath.
We’d already shot the running stuff, and the client approved the story. But I realized to tell this story best we needed to have a slow-motion shot that did not exist. So, into VFX-land I went. Simply slowing the footage looked terrible! After much experimentation, I decided to use Twixtor Pro and its ability to separate elements with alpha mattes. I went into a high-end rotoscoping program called Silhouette to create the rotoscoped matte, then spent a lot of time playing with the results in After Effects to create a pretty realistic slow motion shot.
The other part of the visual effects for this teaser was the MassMutual logo in 3D, sitting on the grassy knoll. For that, the workflow was After Effects- Cinema4D- After Effects, using 3D camera tracking and HDRI lighting for the logo plus some manual tweaks. It looked great! But after living with it for a day, I realized that the tripod panning shot I’d used was too sterile. Coverpath is all about people. So instead of our pristine tripod shot, I found a gimbal shot that had a lot of “mistakes” in it. It wasn’t totally smooth. It jumped around a bit. It didn’t “settle in”. It was profoundly “human”.
And it was glorious. That’s the shot we ended up using, and of course that meant redoing much of the work. But it was worth it.
When you’re investing money in a high-quality video or film, it just makes sense to also be able to provide (for a reasonable cost) additional versions and cutdowns to help create buzz for the product/service. Production is expensive. We like helping our clients get the most out of the investment.