05. Test before going on set
Always test before going on set. Once we had worked out the order, we had several rehearsals. The aim was to figure out the way Émilien needed to start and finish the movement of each object, so that it was hidden and could be subsequently revealed.
Everything was shot in live action, so it was a meticulous task of positioning the beginning and end of his movement between the object's substitution.
But a couple of shots were comped together at the end. For example, when he put his hand in the desk and reached for the notepad, this was shot in three different takes.
The first one to get objects behind his hand, the second one on green-screen for objects in front of his hand, and a last one of the hand reaching the notepad. We used Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects to make these tests.
06. Always share new ideas
When a better idea comes up in the process, share it with the client, even if you are past the established calendar. The creative process should always be part of each step, from conception and storyboard to shooting day and post-production.
07. Work with a video assistant
On set, we worked with a video assistant who provided us with a live image, played previous takes and roughly blended two takes together to make sure all the positions matched. This enabled us to have a skin of the previous shot and to match the arm positions so we could continue the movement in the sequence.
In total we used about 30 different objects including the ones on the desk. All of them were carefully chosen from different designers we like. The final shoot took two days of 16 hours in a row. That was pretty intense.
08. Get clint feedback
The entire process went extremely well. Heaven and Samsung had faith in our direction. We received helpful feedback on the different aspects that needed to be related to the features of the S-Pen, and they were open to the way we adapted them while retaining the spirit in the storytelling.
When everyone involved in such projects performs their role well, it's hard to fail at reaching the targeted audience. We are so happy with the audience reaction – it has been our most viral project so far, with more than three million views in two weeks.
The full version of this article first appeared inside Computer Arts issue 238.
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