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HOAX Films Executive Producer Alexis Nelson to Speak at The World Animation and VFX Summit

  • October 29, 2013

AlexisNelson_02Culver City, Calif.—October 29, 2013— Alexis Nelson, Co-Founder and Executive Producer of HOAX Films will participate in a panel discussion entitled Creating CG and VFX in Commercials as part of The World Animation and VFX Summit on November 5th.  Nelson will discuss HOAX Films’ recent work for Guess, NBC, Chevrolet, Absolut and other brands, and how a boutique visual effects house can thrive in the fiercely competitive world of advertising.

The panel discussion will be chaired by freelancer writer Thomas J. McLean. Other panelists will include Robert Sethi, Creative Director of The Mill, and Ludovico Marenzi, Managing Director of Mackevision. The panel is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m., November 5th, at the California Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, California.

“Despite rising time and budget pressures, advertising continues to offer talented visual effects providers opportunities to do high quality, creative work,” says Nelson. “We believe that boutique providers, like HOAX Films, are the source of some of the best new work because of their flexibility, lower overhead and the creative freedom that give their artists.”

Nelson co-founded HOAX Films, with VFX Director Rick Sander, in 2010. The company provides visual effects and post production services for commercials, feature films, television, music videos, branded content and digital media. Its credits include music videos for Britney Spears, Katie Perry and Willow Smith, broadcast campaigns for The Smurfs and Game of Thrones, and the Spike TV series Deadliest Warrior.

Not yet 30, Nelson has been recognized industry-wide as an emerging and innovative leader. She began her career at Motion Theory, where she was involved in projects for Buick, Heineken, Tanqueray and John Hancock. She served as Visual Effects Producer for Deadliest Warrior, Spike TV’s most popular series, supervising a team of 30 artists. She also managed graphics, animation and visual effects departments for the Discovery series Bad Universe.

At Warner Bros., Nelson led CG production on short films for the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). She is currently producing environmental films for SustainUS, a civil society group of United States delegates who are participating in the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Meeting of the 19th Conference of Parties. She holds a degree in Design Media Arts from UCLA and is a member of Women in Film.

Sponsored by Animation Magazine, The World Animation and VFX Summit includes three days of panels, screenings, discussions and networking with a global array of high-level animation and visual effects professionals. The event aims to help shape the future of worldwide animation and VFX with like-minded Industry leaders, and to connect studio executives, producers, agents, distributors and talent, face-to-face in a warm and intimate club environment.

About HOAX Films
HOAX Films is a Culver City-based digital production studio specializing in visual effects and design for feature films, broadcast, commercials and web content. The studio’s credits include the music videos 21st Century Girl (Willow Smith), Laser Beams (Talib Kweli), Sunshine (Little Dragon) and Raw (Dan Black), as well as ad campaigns for Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Absolut Vodka. Upcoming projects include Zombeavers! http://www.hoaxfilms.com/

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HOAX Films Delivers VFX for Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch”

  • October 4, 2013

hoaxLogo_orig_200x2001Culver City, Calif.—October 4, 2013—Award-winning digital production studio HOAX Films provided visual effects services for Work Bitch, the new Britney Spears video, directed by Ben Mor. The song is the first single from Spears’ upcoming eighth studio album which drops December 1st.

Work Bitch marks the second collaboration between the visionary Mor and HOAX Films. The design studio previously delivered visual effects for Part of Me, directed by Mor for Katy Perry in 2012.  For Work Bitch, HOAX Films completed sky replacements shots, set extensions and cleanup.

WorkBitch03After making its world debut on The CW, Work Bitch hit the internet where it caused a huge sensation. The video opens on Spears posing against a white wall, flanked by back-up dancers in black leather. The same dancers later join the singer in the desert for more sizzling choreography. The Daily Beast called Work Bitch “ridiculous, weird, sexy, and fierce—and the best thing (Spears has) done in almost a decade.”

“Ben’s innovative music videos work like films, each with its own unique visual narrative,” says HOAX Films executive producer Alexis Nelson. “We are excited to collaborate on such a stunning music video.

WorkBitch07“Ben sets the creative bar very high,” adds HOAX Films creative director Rick Sander, “and raises it with each new video. It’s great to be part of the process.”

Mor says that he and HOAX Films have developed a productive rapport for visually-driven projects. “Alexis, Rick and the whole crew at HOAX are one of a kind,” he says. “They are great to work with and always go above and beyond. I really like working with local, creative people who deliver stunning visuals like the biggest studios.”

WorkBitch10Work Bitch is produced by Spears’ Scream & Shout partner-in-crime will.i.am and debuted last week at No. 12 on the Hot 100. The music video is produced for Black Dog Films/Little Minx, executive producer Coleen Haynes and producer Tony McGarry. Watch the video below.

About HOAX Films
HOAX Films is a Culver City-based digital production studio specializing in visual effects and design for feature films, broadcast, commercials and web content. The studio’s credits include  the music videos 21st Century Girl (Willow Smith), Laser Beams (Talib Kweli), Sunshine (Little Dragon) and Raw (Dan Black), as well as ad campaigns for Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Absolut Vodka. Upcoming projects include Zombeavers! http://www.hoaxfilms.com/

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Frankie 2.0 Helps Ingenuity Engine Create Virgin Holidays TVC

  • October 4, 2013

logoHollywood, CA: Oct. 4, 2013 … Hollywood-based production studio Ingenuity Engine recently relied on Cospective’s video review tool, Frankie, to help finish a three-part television commercial campaign for Virgin Holidays. Frankie allowed the team at Ingenuity Engine to review and discuss work-in-progress with the director, producers and the ad agency, even though they were in four separate locations. Synchronized, interactive video review enabled an efficient creative decision-making process.

Hired by M&C Saatchi in London to work with noted director Joseph Kahn, Ingenuity Engine was tasked with creating a series of three ads for Virgin Holidays. The campaign is aimed at British couples and families and features the humorous tagline Unleash your Mojo. One spot follows a very ordinary couple who land in Florida and are magically transformed into just the sort of adventurous, fun-loving people they weren’t being at home. The couple is shown on a romantic cruise ship and at a swanky resort. Another spot shows a family of four, “the Harlows,” looking drab in muted colors and searching for a parking spot. Again, the moment they arrive in Florida, the palette shifts to bright colors, the music picks up and the “Harlow Globetrotters” are suddenly all smiles.

“They’re fun commercials to watch,” said David Lebensfeld, VFX supervisor and creative director at Ingenuity Engine (IE). “As you might imagine, our creative team had a great time making them happen.”

It was director Kahn who suggested that the agency hire IE for on-set creative and postproduction work. Ingenuity Engine had worked with Kahn many times before, on videos for Britney Spears and Lady Gaga as well as TVCs for Old Navy, Jell-O, Fox Sports and many others.

“We have a long history of working with Joseph,” said Lebensfeld, who travelled from the IE office in Hollywood to South Africa for the one-week shoot. “There’s an unspoken trust and knowledge about what we collectively want to accomplish on set. What we bring to the table is good execution.”

On Set in South Africa
Lebensfeld worked closely with Kahn in preproduction meetings and on set in South Africa before heading to London to shoot FX plates and start editorial.

“My job was to help Joseph create the commercial he wanted to,” Lebensfeld said. Case in point: a challenging and innovative transition from the couple luxuriating in a hot tub to a new scene where the husband is swinging a sword and turning a tuna into sushi. “I know what Joseph wants the shots to look like. Understanding his ideas allowed us to find a way to execute that transition that we knew would work for him.”

In another sequence, the storyboard for the Unleash your Mojo spot shows a man’s face morphing into a lion’s face as seen through a glass of wine. “We could tell it wouldn’t work as drawn,” explained Lebensfeld. “Our conversation instantly became an idea session back and forth. We figured out together how to make it work, and had fun doing it.”

For the family spot, as the mother steps out of her car and her dingy London black-and-white life, her heavy clothes become a brilliant white one-piece swimsuit as she strides confidently into bright sunshine. Initially, there was a problem with the way her clothes fell away. This was solved by reimagining the transition, a quick solution that ended up being more elegant than originally planned. In short: carefully tweaking the ideas on the storyboard led to a strong and artistically compelling execution on the screen.

Post in LA – Frankie reviews every day
Ingenuity Engine completed all of the postproduction work at its studio in Hollywood. The commercials required complicated transitions between shots with overlapping VFX, clean up and set extensions. It was there, also, that the team began the video editing process, first using cineSync – Cospective’s review tool for feature film work – then switching to Frankie. IE completed the spots in less than six weeks and throughout that period held regular review sessions with their internal creative team, the director up the street in Los Angeles and the M&C Saatchi producers in London.

“We used Frankie each morning for our interactive reviews of the previous day’s work,” said Oliver Taylor, VFX producer at Ingenuity Engine. “By using the synced review option in Frankie while we talked to our client on the phone we were able to get much more out of those conversations. Using a tool like Frankie is the only way we can do this.”

Every morning Taylor would upload the current video for review, send a link to the director, who was in L.A., the producer in London and the M&C Saatchi producers, also in London, and begin the review. That means that six people, in four places were reviewing the same footage simultaneously. As they watched the footage, frame by frame, any one of them could hit play, pause, make notes or even sketch their ideas right onto the video – all in sync with everyone in the review.

“It worked like a charm,” Taylor said. “We’re long-time users of cineSync. With cineSync, our clients had to install the software. Then we’d send them the files, which they would have to download. It took time and a lot of handholding to get it right. With Frankie it’s so much easier. We just send a link and begin. This is the first job we used Frankie on and it made review so straightforward and so much faster.”

The whole cruise ship sequence was shot in studio in Cape Town, with set extensions to create the sea, the wake of the ship and the sky. Yet, even more than the visuals, it was the process that Lebensfeld is most proud of. “Initially, the ad agency was hesitant to work with a company that wasn’t local,” he said. “They had found communicating between London and L.A. difficult in the past.”

The producers at M&C Saatchi were very hands-on and particular about what they wanted. For example, there are scenes in one of the Virgin Holidays ads with Chinese lanterns hanging on strings. Usually, IE would have released balloons, shot them and used a Particle system to create the lanterns. The agency wanted to hand-place actual lanterns. Communicating how to do this at a distance over the phone would not be easy and the producers were wary of doing it that way.

“But once they saw how the work could be communicated so easily, clearly and quickly with Frankie, they were blown away,” Lebensfeld said.

“Our company is structured to work on shorter projects, where the turnover is quicker than for feature film work,” Taylor said. “It’s quicker for us to get work, quicker for us to complete it. Ingenuity Engine is built to adapt and to do that quickly. It’s one of the reasons we love Frankie. We’re using it again now for a major TV network promo. It’s one of the most important tools we have. There is no equivalent in the consumer world. Everyone knows you can look at the same image at the same time, but not video. Our clients are amazed by Frankie the first time they see it. They think it’s magic. It’s crucial for the work we do.”

Lebensfeld concurs. “Now I prefer doing a call on Frankie instead of having clients come into the office. When our clients are actively involved in the review process, drawing right on the screen and commenting about frames, they are way more engaged. They pay attention to what we’re doing and the process is more collaborative.”

Frankie plans start at $249 USD per month, which includes up to five concurrent projects, unlimited users, unlimited reviews, 10 GB of video storage and complete cross-platform compatibility. Monthly subscriptions can be cancelled at any time. Free seven-day trials are available at www.cospective.com/frankie.

About Cospective, Makers of Frankie
Originally founded as Rising Sun Research, Cospective is a leading provider of video review tools. Forged in the fires of feature film visual effects workflows, Cospective has more than a dozen years experience in helping directors, producers, CG artists and other visual professionals focus on their ideas instead of the technology. Cospective’s video review product line includes cineSync, the Academy Award™ winning synchronized review and approval tool for major film productions, and Frankie, for real-time video review right in your browser. Frankie is tailored for short form content produced by ad agencies, production companies and post houses. Cospective is a privately held company headquartered in Adelaide, Australia. For more information, visit www.cospective.com.

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