LA, NY, SF -- As the 2012 season wrapped up this week for American Idol, television viewers worldwide had their last chance to see the results of an extraordinary collaboration between production company Wild Plum and the visual effects artists at Ntropic. This was the fourth year in a row that the visual effects team at Ntropic partnered with Venice, CA-based Wild Plum on a highly integrated and interactive campaign for Ford via Team Detroit. The fast-paced Ford Music Video campaign debuted one new music video a week for 12 weeks, featuring the Ford Escape, Focus EV and the cast of American Idol. Directed by P.R. Brown and Ethan Lader of Wild Plum, the Ntropic visual effects team was spearheaded by Senior Lead Flame Artist MB Emigh with the help of Creative Director Andrew Sinagra.
For Ntropic Senior Lead Flame Artist MB Emigh, the American Idol project is exceptionally challenging due to the pace of the schedule. The team shoots on Sunday, they edit on Monday, all visual effects are created on Tuesday and Wednesday, with delivery late Wednesday night for airing Thursday. “Come rain or shine, or concept, we shoot on Sunday, and we have very limited time with the Idols because they are scheduled by the minute,” explains Emigh. “Additionally, many of them are new to shooting, so you are working with very young and sometimes inexperienced talents.”
Emigh notes that not only is the production and post schedule lightning fast. Additionally, as the collaboration has now marked its fourth year for Ntropic, the bar has been raised in terms of concepts and expectations. “Now, it’s clear how many people are seeing these spots and how important they are in terms of impact,” she says. “It’s quite a challenge. Afterwards, you ask yourself, ‘How did we do that?’ In the end, we feel proud as a team that we were able to pull it off, and up the level of the creativity as well.”
Eric McClellan, EVP, ECD of Branded Content at Team Detroit agrees that the bar of excellence was set very high for this season, and that the team at Ntropic was able to push the creative even further than before. He notes enthusiastically, “Everyone at Ntropic including MB, Andrew, Marshall, they are incredibly collaborative and creative. They continuously over-deliver. I sat in awe this season seeing what they were able to create on such a short timeline, and was literally stunned on several occasions when they really went beyond anything imaginable. I trust their taste and their instincts so much, that I just found myself silently grinning approval."
McClellan notes that the visual effects techniques the Ntropic team relied on were incredibly diverse from the creation of a silent movie themed piece to visual effects-intensive alternate realities, to even a traditional matte painting. Again, and again, he notes the Ntropic team led by MB Emigh went above and beyond in terms of creative collaboration, artistry, and sheer management of such an enormous project with multiple levels of approvals on a very tight timetable.