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FLUID Helps Health Insurers Control Costs

FLUID contributed editorial and VFX work for a hilarious new ad campaign for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

Press release from FLUID:

An insurer and hospital working to save patients money and operate efficiently? That's crazy talk. Or at least that's the theme of a hilarious new Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina campaign featuring a comprehensive effort from FLUID that included editorial, VFX and sound design by Butter. The campaign, done in collaboration with long-time FLUID partners Capstrat and Moxie Pictures Director Tom Routson, stars flabbergasted customers who react with wild disbelief when they hear about new efforts by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to control costs.

In Mother, an elderly woman throws water in her son's face, thinking he is sleepwalking and babbling nonsense when he details an ambitious drive to bring doctors together in the same facility. Escape features a man fleeing from the upper floor of a medical building with tied-together bed sheets because the "crazy" doctors told him he didn't have to fill out any more paperwork. A disbelieving patient breaks into hysterics and searches madly for the hidden camera that he believes must be hiding nearby when his doctor tells him that there is one flat fee for knee replacements in Hidden Camera. And, a man tosses his wife's computer out the window in Hacking, when he thinks she's broken into various hospitals' computer systems to compare the prices of shoulder surgeries.

"This is the kind of campaign we love working on," said FLUID Senior Producer Leanne Diamond. "FLUID's editorial strengths are on display through the performance-driven and physical nature of the spots, as well as the talent of our in-house shops. Everything from the sound design to the VFX came together beautifully."

FLUID worked closely with Routson throughout the shoot to get an understanding of his vision, then handled rig removal, extensive retouching and tracking to enhance performance and maintain continuity. "The ultimate goal in any VFX job is to support the message and tone of the film and the vision of the filmmakers," noted FLUID VFX Artist Wes Waldron. "Sometimes those effects are visually stunning alterations of reality that are meant to actively tell a story, and sometimes they are subtle tweaks of reality that allow the story to come through more clearly on its own. If executed properly, those effects should never to be seen at all. This job was the latter."

FLUID's concern for their partner's vision extended to the edit room, in which they labored to strike the exact desired comedic tone, cutting certain outstanding scenes so as not to sacrifice the story's continuity or effect.

"The creative collaboration with Capstrat unfolded very naturally," explained FLUID Editor Zeke O'Donnell. "Our schedule allowed us to massage the cuts and really squeeze every ounce of humor out of the footage."

Butter Sound Designer Fred Szymanksi focused on each spot's punch line moment, which drew attention to the story's protagonist, creating a need to dramatize their reaction in a hyper-real way. By building up multiple tracks of Foleys and custom effects, the studio managed to create a realistic sound environment and to dramatize the action within the threshold of believability for this climax event. They also designed a transition between the main body of the spot and the campaign tagline, fashioning a sound design element with a musical feeling to support the message without overpowering it.

"These clients are very focused and thought long and hard about every detail that went into these spots," noted FLUID Editor Robin Burchill. "As a result, they played an active part during the offline, an enjoyable process for all given our longstanding rapport and creative similarities. I consider them all friends, which makes the interacting even easier and more fun."


Fluid, comprised of a team of award-winning editors, provides editorial services complemented by a family of in-house creative partners: graphics and CG from Piranha; VFX, retouching, and finish from Ride; and audio post from Mr. Bronx, and original composition and sound design from Butter. All located in their Soho loft studios, this wealth of creative and technical resources allows for a uniquely collaborative environment.


Client: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Spots Title: Hacking, Mother, Escape, and Hidden Camera Air Date: February 7, 2012 Agency: Capstrat Art Director: Scott Ballew Copywriter: Adam Cohen CD: Adam Cohen, Scott Ballew Agency Producer: Anson Burtch Prod Company: Moxie Pictures Director: Tom Routson EP: Lizzie Schwartz, Robert Fernandez EP/Head of Commercials: Head of Production: Roger Zorovich Editorial: FLUID Editor: Robin Burchill, Zeke O'Donnell Assistant Editor: Chris Angelidakis Producer: Leanne Diamond Post/Effects: FLUID Lead VFX/Inferno Artist: Wes Waldron Designer/Animator: Zeke O'Donnell, Wes Waldron Sound Design: Butter Sound Designer: Fred Szymanksi

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Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.