Case Study - Vitamins@Work
A video for a company active in HR… but without any real humans in it???
Yes, it is possible to produce a video for an HR company without any real humans in it and can even be an effective way to connect emotions to your activities, resulting in better outcomes because people feel more engaged!
This article will guide you through the production of a fully 3D animated video created for Vitamins@Work. It will showcase the production process, starting from script and preview renders, up to the final result. Let the white Rabbit of Lapino Albino show you around.
Stage 1: Getting to know our client
Just a PowerPoint presentation with some stock images… A very traditional (if not boring) approach to communication. They collaborated with a graphic design agency to achieve this result. Fortunately, they were not entirely satisfied and were open to new suggestions.
To be honest, because their platform has very specific and technical assets it was quite a challenge to decide how to communicate this message. There weren’t any texts written by copywriters or a website where the explanation was easily understandable for an average person.
There were no clear brand guidelines or established communication directives, which is not surprising for a startup. However, this meant that we had the freedom to propose whatever we wanted… Carte Blanche.
Stage 2: Script and Visual intentions.
We initially proposed a script that would condense the information gathered from previous meetings into a clear and understandable message. This text would serve as the foundation for the voice-over in the video, which tells the story of Vitamins@Work. However, it took several rounds of email exchanges to get it right. 😉 This is no surprise because their platform is very sector specific and it is a challenge to understand the details if you are not an HR professional.
When the content of the video, and consequently the text for the voice over, was more or less determined, we also provided a new document outlining our visual intentions. Typically, this pre-production phase is accompanied by a storyboard, but in this specific project (where we had a lot of creative freedom), a document with visual intentions was deemed sufficient. Additionally, we were already in the process of creating characters.
Once all of this was validated, we could finally proceed with the actual work: the production itself!
Stage 3: Production
1. Character Design
The video is about Human Resources, but we don’t depict any actual humans. This means that the design of the characters is crucial. Despite the limitations of time and budget, we have managed to find a fun and attractive style to work with. Here are the initial drafts:
Inspired by an old campaign called ‘Dumb Ways To Die,’ we have proposed simplified characters that mostly consist of abstract forms and colors. These abstract features evoke connotations in the viewer’s mind, adding an interesting dimension to the video. It allows us to convey underlying messages and implications, the HR specific details, in a creative way.
To avoid oversimplifying the characters, we decided to incorporate hair and fur into some of them, making the characters even more unique.
And it was successful!
The characters have now been exported as still frames and are being utilized in various communication tools, including presentations, social media posts, brochures, and quotes. Additionally, there are plans to integrate the characters into the platform itself.
The creation of these characters has greatly enhanced the visual identity of the entire company
2. Animation of the Characters and composing
We are now entering the most technical parts of the video production. While it is interesting to see the progression from early models to moving, talking, and dancing characters, this work requires a lot of patience and attention to detail. Unfortunately, there isn’t much more we can say about it. For the experts, we work with Blender.
There were several stages of validation. We started with previews using still frame renders to assess the non-moving result. This allowed us to make further progress towards a full preview. However, even in the full preview, there are often small things that need to be changed. For example, in this case, we added more color to create edges and a wall as a background instead of an infinite white void. Initially, the idea was to keep it as abstract as possible.
3. Sound Design and Finalisation
A well-produced animation is distinguished by the quality of its sound design. After all, it is called AUDIOvisual arts for a reason. The thing with sound is that it can easily ruin the overall look and feel of a video in an instant. However, creating added value with sound goes beyond simply adding some music to it. So, we began searching for SFX and sounds, and if necessary, we recorded our own.
We also selected music from our extensive library and created an initial mix of sound and music. The only thing missing was the voice over.
To ensure progress in the visuals and animations, we already recorded a voice over with one of our Lapinos to have an idea of timing and rhythm. This allowed us to sync it with the content of the voice over text.
When it comes to recording voice overs, we only work with professional voice over artists. For this project, we had a specific comedian in mind. However, as a service to our clients, we proposed several voice artists, knowing there was still a chance our desired voice actor would be chosen… and he was!
Mark Irons is a Belgian-based native English speaker, and we have collaborated with him on several projects before. Check out his imdb page. He is a talented comedian who brings great versatility.
This phase resulted in the first full preview, with both the visual and audio parts of the video completed and ready to be shown to the world. However, as usual, there were a few minor details to be adjusted before its final release. Soon after, we were proud to present this animation to the world!
Stage 4: The Result
Here is your chance to look at the full video:
(and our video description as well to be complete…)
Vitamins@work is a platform to measure employee well being through state of the art technology based on academic research. It is a Belgian tech start-up with ambition to improve workspaces everywhere. Contributing to human well being by helping employers recognise challenges their employees face. The system is based on questionnaires and the higher the participation rate, the more accurate the insights become.
They are also just starting up so there weren’t any brand guidelines or even a website at the start of this project. The video had a specific goal: to convince employees to participate once the Vitamins@Work platform is installed in a company. But as it is the first video for Vitamins@Work themselves, it also needed to explain what it did so employers would sign into their work method.
Stage 5: The Aftermath
The video that was produced generated even more excitement among the team at Vitamins@Work. The visual style and overall presentation of the video inspired them to create their own branding centered around the characters.
As a result, we exported a variety of visuals featuring the characters. These visuals are now being used in other communication tools such as presentations, social media posts, brochures, and even within quotes on the platform itself!
On their request, we even created a new character who had to be a professor and share some visual features with the real-life professor they work with.
And the desire to use these characters extends even further with imaginative ideas such as creating plush toy versions or 3D printed versions to be given as awards or prizes for competitions.
We are proud that our visualizations serve as the foundation for a new visual identity. It brings us great satisfaction to meet our clients’ expectations and inspire them to push the boundaries further using the tools we have created for them.
Go check Vitamins@Work and see the progress they are making!
We hope this case will inspire others to take the same direction because let’s be honest: Do we really want to see classic, dull and sometimes even cringy videos filled with ‘forced’ testimonials or ‘fake’ and overly prepared speeches? Let’s stop producing these boring videos that only waste the precious time of your viewers… and start thinking outside the box!