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yU + co Helps HBO Create Fun in the Summertime

Water Drops Provide the Theme for a Dynamic Promo for Blockbuster Movies (July 07, 2004)

yU + co recently collaborated with HBO Creative Services to create a promo for the networks summer movie line-up. Set to the driving rhythms of the Von Bondies anthem Cmon Cmon, the spot features clips from such films as The Matrix: Revolution, Underworld and Seabiscuit with the imagery knitted together by a series of mesmerizing, perspective-shifting visual effects centering on bubbling water.

Summer movie premieres are one of HBOs most significant programming features and the network wanted to promote the films with a spot that was emotionally charged and visually distinct. yU + co worked closely with the HBO in-house creative team to develop the concept.  ?HBO wanted the spot to be big, fun and summery?something that would drive people to tune in. Visually it had to be unlike anything anyone has seen before in a movie promo, explained yU + co producer Lane Jensen. ?The network encouraged our team to think boldly and they responded with the concept of the water visuals and the perspective shifts to create a look no one else had.

yU + co designed and produced the water effects as well as the typography used in the spot. The water is employed as a transitional device with bubbles appearing to form naturally out of the movie clips?in a scene from Seabiscuit, they appear like air bubbles escaping from Tobey Maguires mouth. Each time, as water fills the screen, the camera makes a radical shift of perspective to land in a scene from another movie.

The effect does more than provide a clever way to move from one movie clip to the next, it supports HBOs concept of a summer packed with movie blockbusters. ?Water is a good metaphor for summer, when everything is wet and hot, explained yU + co creative director Garson Yu.

The water elements were produced as computer animation. ?Like most organic elements, water is a challenge for animators, observed art director Yolanda Santosa. ?That was especially true in this case where they are featured prominently. Our artists worked hard to perfect the lighting and texture so that the water appears to be real. We also spent a lot of time finessing the animation so that the bubbles appear and move naturally?we wanted the water to flow rather than explode through the frame.

In the climax to the piece, clips from all of the featured films cycle through the frame in quick succession with water elements superimposed over the live action and appearing to distort it. ?The perspective shifts occur in different ways, sometimes it moves 180-degrees sideways, other times 90-degrees up or down. Its always meant to surprise, Santosa said. ?The way the orientation changes effects the way the audience reacts to the scene?they make it interesting.

?HBO challenged our team to avoid a conventional approach and develop a new visual vocabulary, concluded Yu. ?HBO offers the most original, daring programming on television and their promotional work adheres to that same high standard. It was a joy to work with a team that puts a premium on creativity.

Credits for yU + co go to Garson Yu, creative director; Lane Jensen, producer; Yolanda Santosa, art director; Etsuko Uji and David Yan, 2D animators; Michael Fisher, Nate Homan and Chris Vincola, 3D animators;  Ryan Miller, assistant editor.

Credits for HBO go to the HBO On-Air Creative Department.

yU + co is located at 941 N. Mansfield Ave., Hollywood, CA 90038. For more information, call (323) 606-5050. 

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