(July 13, 2009) House of Imagination, 4Creative’s eagerly awaited new brand film for Syfy, will be premiered in the US today as part of SCI FI’s brand evolution to Syfy on Tuesday, July 7. Visual Effects and the interactive web campaign were carried out at MPC.
The two minute brand film was conceived, directed and produced by 4Creative, Channel 4’s creative resource, who in the last month have picked up a Bafta, a D&AD pencil and two Cannes Lions.
The film features a mysterious house on a hill where a huge party is going on. We follow a couple as they tour the party, and at every turn catch glimpses of amazing things taking place. Goldfrapp’s “Happiness” provides the soundtrack for the trip through the never-ending house where anything can and does happen in each one-of-a-kind room. Magical sights in the beautifully produced film range from giant origami unicorns, 3-D grafitti, an exploding and reforming games room and a Tyrannosaurus Rex which turns out to be giant remote controlled toy.
The house acts as a metaphor for SCI FI and a number of the rooms relate to popular SCI FI programmes. Key SCI FI personalities are featured including Tracy Morgan from Scare Tactics and Lou Diamond Phillips from Stargate Universe.
The brand film concludes with the couple leaving the house into a suburban setting – unsure of whether their experience was real or the house was in fact a figment of their imagination. The Syfy logo and the strap line “Imagine Greater” come up.
As well as the two minute brand film, 4Creative has produced a 30 second teaser trail which will drive viewers to the film online as well an extended 2 minute 40 second version and 60 second cutdowns. In addition, 4Creative has produced eleven idents, which will be broadcast between programming also featuring the tagline “Imagine Greater”.
The experience will extend digitally into Syfy.com/Imagine Greater, where visitors will have a rich, fully interactive and immersive experience as guests at the house party. Visitors will be able to explore parallax rooms and to discover exclusive content including games, behind-the-scenes and making-of footage, cast interviews, and much more.
The campaign made use of MPC’s range of services, tapping into their world class VFX expertise and also taking the assets created for the TV side and re-purposing them to fit into today’s digital interactive world on the Syfy website. The team collaborated closely with Brett Foraker and Tom Tagholm to complete the job. Talking about the collaboration, Brett Foraker explains; “Here's what's great about MPC: as a director, if you imagine a shot, any shot, they have the ability to make it a reality. I have worked with them since the launch of E4, through the Channel 4 idents and on numerous commercials. On each project, they have delivered the goods and then some. Syfy was our largest collaboration yet. Jay, Marcus, Steve, Paula and the entire team were a pleasure to work with and provided invaluable advice and support at every stage of production. I really can't complement them enough.”
The process started with 2D VFX Supervisor Marcus Wood and 3D VFX Supervisor Steve Moncur attending the 6 day shoot with 2 camera units on 3 sound stages at Culver City Studios and 2 exterior locations. Actors schedules lead to an additional studio shoot in Los Angeles and Moco shoot in New York to wrap the 73 storyboarded shots. Back at MPC London, effects work commenced immediately with cleanup and prep, matting and roto-scoping and prelim compositing of early 3d renders. Once Brett had approved the creative direction the team pressed forward to meet a challenging deadline.
On the 3D side, each sequence or ident the team had to expand on the idea, carry out look development and generate 3D assets that were unique to that sequence. In a 3 month period MPC created over 2 minutes of 3D intensive HD imagery with a core team of 10 artists. Luckily, access to high-end tools from the film side of the business meant that 3D production was speeded up. These tools included PAPI for the physical simulation in the shattering "Sanctuary" sequence and Furtility for the animals in the "Balloon" sequence.
MPC Digital, were involved from the initial discussions regarding the trailer, which was to be an extremely ambitious creative and technical piece. Their role involved extending the on-air concept into the online sphere and to create a rich, fully interactive and immersive experience. This creative took the form of re-creating selected rooms from the trailer using Papervison 3D to create 2.5D parallax environments. This allows the user to move from the linear world of the trailer into 2.5D parallax rooms of Syfy’s key shows.
House of Imagination was produced and directed by the award-winning 4Creative team led by director Brett Foraker, who was joined, specifically for this project, by Director of Photography, Larry Fong (Watchmen, 300) and Production designer, Tino Schaedler (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, V For Vendetta, The Golden Compass) with visual effects by MPC (Watchmen, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix).
SCI FI, owned by NBC Universal, appointed 4Creative earlier this year to handle their brand campaign as part of a brand evolution. Proud Creative are handling the on and off-air graphic identity work.
Michael Engleman, Vice President, Creative, SCI FI, said: “From the outset 4Creative has been an impressive, wildly imaginative and collaborative partner. They’ve applied extremely high standards without exception to every phase of our project. What has been particularly impressive is their ability to keep an eye on our strategic goals while always innovating and pushing creative boundaries.”