The First World War Centenary Programme Office – WW100 originally invited us to concept for a 20-second animation for a different project they were working on. After seeing our idea, they realised that it did not fit in completely with their brand. They were interested in our concept however, and later approached us about doing a video series for Ngā Tapuwae New Zealand First World War Trails. They liked our pitch and we were awarded a contract for a series of five short videos.
In 2015, the WW100 Programme launched legacy project Ngā Tapuwae New Zealand First World War trails. Ngā Tapuwae explores the experiences and stories of New Zealand soldiers in Gallipoli and on the Western Front. WW100 wanted to create a video series to increase awareness of Ngā Tapuwae Trails and in particular the Western Front Trails and history. Their concept was for a five-part video package with each video telling different stories of those involved in the First World War.
What's the Word?
Initially, the plan was to have each video be 15 seconds. Our team felt that stories as important as the ones that were going to be featured needed a little more time to breathe. WW100 agreed and we extended each run time to around 30 seconds. Furthermore, upon receiving long passages of transcriptions we picked out several excerpts and determined which phrases should be written out across the screen, and from that completed a script. This composition of the dialogue helped create more of an emotional impact to the audience by making a story out of the words spoken by the people that lived at that time. After getting the go-ahead, we went straight to work.
Don't Get Too Moody
Oftentimes when there’s a completely new project at hand, we will have the most influence over the generation of the piece’s overall aesthetic. This was most definitely the case with this project because the product associated with it was so new. We knew it would be a moody piece with lots of parallax and sketched out feel. To organise our thoughts, we’ll typically take to Pinterest and create mood boards that consist of art we feel parallels what we’re going for.
Never Bored With A Storyboard
Being visually minded people, we approach storyboarding through pictures. In our proposal to WW100 we presented sketches that plotted out how each shot would look. This project demanded a more cinematic look, so as we sketched out the story we noted to our client how many seconds each “scene” would have and what sort of camera movements would be associated at each segment. We did the 2.5D approach parallax (animation style) which essentially allowed us to capture a single moment but also allowed us to have a “camera”. They liked what we had so far, so we put our thinking caps on and kept brainstorming!
Time to Work
One advantage that we had with this project was our ability to sit with it for a long time and determine what did and did not work. We had approximately 7 months from start of concept until final video delivery. We used this time to converse with WW100 in a continuous creative communication loop. Through trial and error, we eliminated what didn’t work and added things that made these videos even more moving. For example, one story we absolutely loved didn’t fit in with the cohesive narrative we were looking into creating. Despite being attached to the idea of that video concept, we valued first and foremost the overall feel of the narrative.
Conclusion: Mapping Out The Future
As kiwis, we can’t help but notice the legacy the First World War has had on our nation. This is why we feel so honoured to have had this opportunity to help educate people about this time period. Design tells stories, and we hope that through our videos this narrative will both stay intact and be shared all over the world.