Fresh off its VFX work for the feature UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS, Ntropic was commissioned by The Brooklyn Brothers to complete a comedic eight-spot campaign for kgb (Knowledge Generation Bureau), the world's largest provider of directory assistance and enhanced information services.
"When we began this project, kgb was only an idea for a service," said Guy Barnett, Founder/Creative Director of The Brooklyn Brothers. "There was no place, no headquarters, no people and no one knew what the technology they used could look like. Within a few short weeks, Ntropic had created a space befitting the world's smartest company. What I admired most about Ntropic's work -- and their greatest creative contribution -- is that they managed to walk the fine line between imagination and credibility. And they managed it magnificently -- on a tiny budget and under a near-impossible time frame, too."
Each commercial begins with a cinematic panorama of the Knowledge Generation Bureau headquarters, a shimmering steel marvel amid a dense green expanse on the outskirts of a metropolis, before cutting to its glass-walled interior perched between bookshelves towering stories high.
Offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse at kgb's hi-tech facilities, the witty spots follow a prospective agent and "knowledge" prodigy, from the grueling interview (steeped in pop trivia that must be answered at lightning speeds) to orientation, before concluding with her inaugural street assignment alongside her token chauvinistic partner and rival.
Working closely with Director Kinka Usher, Ntropic delivered sleek VFX of compelling intricacy, as well as futuristic interior and exterior settings, rendering an ambience instrumental in conveying kgb's uncanny omniscience and stylish identity.
"We were brought in to help create the world and building that these people operated in," explained Andrew Sinagra, Creative Director of Ntropic. "Kinka had defined ideas about the style of the building exteriors and the walls, which were created from books - and played on the idea of people surrounded by knowledge.
The challenge for Ntropic was determining where this "Knowledge Generation Bureau" was actually located. They experimented with different locales -before settling on a campus-like environment. CG Artist Dustin Zachary built out the model with Usher and the client weighing in on its final look.
"Kinka brings so much energy and so many ideas to a project," concluded Sinagra. "He's really open to suggestions -- and we threw some crazy ideas at him. The Brooklyn Brothers gave Kinka and us a lot of trust to deliver something this epic. It was a very collaborative environment."
For the exterior buildings, Ntropic used Maya. Compositing was done with Toxic, a new desktop compositing software in the studio's pipeline, and set extensions were a combination of Maya, After Effects and Flame.
Advertising Agency: The Brooklyn Brothers, New York, NYCreative Director/Copywriter/Exec Producer: Guy BarnettArt Director: Stephen Rutterford
Production Company: House of Usher Films, Santa Monica, CADirector: Kinka UsherExec Producer: Nancy HacohenProducer: Craig Repass
Editorial Company: Cosmo Street Editorial, Santa Monica, CAEditor: KatzExec Producer: Jerry SukysAssistant Editor: Sean Lagrange
VFX Company: Ntropic, San Francisco, CA and Los Angeles, CACG Supervisor/Creative Director/Maya and Toxik Artist: Andrew SinagraLead Inferno Artist/Creative Director: Nathan RobinsonMaya Artists: Deb Santosa, James McCarthy, Dustin Zachary, Mark WurtsInferno Artists: Maya Korenwasser-Bello, Matt TremaglioAfter Effects Artists: Hiroshi Endo, Martha SoehendraShake Artist: Ben MattressExec Producer: Dana TownsendProducers: Kara Holmstrom, Esther Gonzalez
Postproduction Facility: Company 3, Santa Monica, CAColorist: Stefan SonnenfeldExec Producer: Rhubie Jovanov
Music Company: Beacon Street Studios, Los Angeles, CAComposer: Andrew FeltensteinExec Producer: Adrea Lavezzoli
Sound Design & Audio Post Company: audioEngine, New York, NYSound Designer/Mixer: Carl Mandelbaum