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Sehsucht inspires on and off stage at OFFF 2012

We caught up with the film production company after their talk at OFFF 2012

Sehsucht is a pretty big deal. The film production company's big-break project – ‘Sounds of Summer’ for Mercedes-Benz – revolutionised the way post-production companies operated and how creatives in agencies thought about their creative options (and remains one of the most awarded commercials of the 2000s).

Here’s a quick taster of our interview with the ever-brilliant Sehschut at OFFF 2012 – you’ll be able to read the full interview in Computer Arts.

On how they work...
Mate Steinforth, creative director and director:
We are a film production company based in Germany in Hamburg and Berlin. We are a hyper-production company, which means we do everything in-house. The advantage for clients is that we have a team of staff where people know each other - and that’s where that synergy starts happening. If you staff your company only with freelancers, you don’t reach that point…

There’s a really interesting study. This guy did a study of Broadway plays in the 20th century. They looked at all the plays between a certain time period – they looked at their success, by sold tickets, and they compared it to how many people on the team knew each other. What they found is if people didn’t know each other on the team it was pretty unsuccessful. But the more they knew each other, the more successful it got – up to a certain level, and then it dropped off again.

If you always have only the same team it gets a little boring and you start repeating yourself. That’s why we have a really strong staff at the base, maybe 80 per cent, and then if necessary we hire freelancers.

On creativity…
Hans Schulthei, creative director and director
: We work with agencies who come to us with ideas and ask us to realise them. It sounds like a disadvantage but we turn it into an advantage and collaborate with them.

We present ourselves as a creative unit – the art department consists of designers with different approaches: we have illustrators, motion designers, graphic designers – and with this unit we try to visualise the idea together with the agency. This helps us be involved in finding the idea, not just in the creative process of visualising it, but developing the whole idea, which is happening more and more. The agencies like this approach. That’s why they come to us.

When hit by the ‘four 'o' clock problem’…
MS:
We have a box of candy and you just go there and get your sugar rush. Which is actually a really bad idea. There’s another study that shows this thing called neurocentricity. A few years ago people thought that your brain developed until you were about 20 – and then it stopped, and the neurons only die. But it’s not true. Actually your neurons keep regenerating. The study showed that if you exercise more frequently it’s better for you, so you should definitely take a walk. I take a walk.

HS: Actually for me the 4 'o' clock problem occurs at 8 'o' clock or later, so I'm usually at home anyway.

On pitching...
MS:
I think it’s a really bad thing for everyone involved. It’s bad for the compny, it’s bad for the client and it’s bad for the project. It's bad for the client because the company has to subsidise the pitches and when you think there are always three production companies pitching, it means you have a crazy amount of overhead. I think we need an awareness in our industry that pitching is a bad thing for everyone involved. The whole animation and 3D design is in pretty bad shape in that sense. I think we need to step up and unite and say we won’t do pitches.

On working with the best…
Stephan Wever, head of art department:
We found a way to work with really good people in LA. It’s important in shoots to work with the best people you can get. With Lamborghini [Sehsucht's latest "car porn" introduces Lamborghini's new super sports car, Aventador] we figured out why they only gave us six weeks – because usually they don’t finish the car in time, which came out on the shooting day...

Directed by Ole Peters, Sehsucht worked with Philipp & Keuntje to produce this latest piece for Lamborghini...

...We had the car on the road – and the traction control didn’t go off. So we had the guy from The Fast and the Furious trying to drift the car, but the car kept correcting it so he couldn’t actually slide it. At the end, for five minutes the technicians got it off and we managed to shoot all the helicopter shots. We had the helicopter pilot from Top Gun and he nailed every shot, it was really unbelievable. That’s why if you have problems and you have good people and work together as a team, it works really well.

We'll be bringing you the full interview in Computer Arts.

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