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Blue Room NYC Created FX For Whale Wars Promos

On the heels of recent collaborations with Animal Planet on promotional packages for MEERKAT MANOR and the network's fall images spots, Blue Room NYC designed, produced, shot and created visual effects for one :30 and one :15 promo for the network series WHALE WARS.

The seven-part, series documents the battle to end whaling on the far side of the world between Japanese whalers and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and begins airing Friday Nov. 7 at 9 pm. ET/PT. The promos launched nationally on October 31.

Everything was shot in HD with a RED camera at 100 frames per second and that allowed Blue Room to add drama and urgency to the promos with slow-mo and hyper speed ramps. In addition, the quality and size of the images gave them a lot of detail to work with when creating their visual effects.

Shot from the perspective of the harpoon, the footage, lensed in HD on an industrial boat 19 miles off the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts, is intended to feel a bit viral, as though captured with a handheld camera in one take. Each promo opens on the deck of a whaling boat and follows the harpoon tip as it swivels, locks on its prey and fires. While in flight, time becomes suspended to heighten the drama of the moment. As we close in on the whale, a large, metallic object suddenly intercedes and as the camera pulls back from the action, it is revealed that the letters of the WHALE WARS title have acted as a protective shield.

"We were striving for a balance between the ultra-realism of our live-action footage and visual effects so finding the most accurate environment, and the right ship and weather conditions were crucial," explained Brian Aumueller, Blue Room Director/Creative Director. "In half the shots we used a harpoon prop attached to the lens of the camera. During one take, while pretending to load the harpoon onto the deck-mounted gun, we swung around to take aim at the imaginary target and a pod of whales actually surfaced. We got about 15 minutes of footage that we used for the composite work. It was an incredibly auspicious moment," he continued.

Blue Room Producer Lauren Muir added, "The weather turned out to be both a complication and a blessing. We had to postpone a few shoot dates because of a threatening nor'easter. However, we got a day that was stormy at sea, but not too dangerous to shoot. It provided a really spectacular sky, periods of rain, some choppy seas and dramatic footage that looked as though we could have been on a shoot in the Antarctic Ocean."

Animal Planet Executive Producer Jamie Dugger added, "We recently worked with Blue Room on a high-profile image spot and, after seeing their excellent work for the NFL Fantasy Files, it was a natural fit to have them create and execute this unique spot. Barry Gliner, our supervising editor, and I wanted to create a spot wherein we, the viewer, were given a different perspective on the rather surreal act of whaling by having our POV tethered to the tip of a harpoon. The final product is terrific."

The Blue Room NYC creative team included CEO/Executive Producer Chris Gargani, Creative Director/Director Brian Aumueller, Dir of Photography Steven Moyer; Editorial Director David Gargani; Editor Shaun Sindelman; Executive Producer Lauren Muir; Senior Designer Steven Harper; Designer Chieh Yen; Senior Composite Artist Alejandro Monzon and VFX Artists Steven Harper and Chieh Yen. Brian Aumueller completed the audio post in-house.

Blue Room utilized ADOBE After Effects, Final Cut, Maya, Mocha in the execution of this project.

In addition to Dugger and Gliner, Animal Planet was represented by Marketing Director Michael Eisenbaum.


Airdate: National launch on October 31, 2008Title: WHALE WARSClient: Animal PlanetGraphic elements: One :30 and one :15 promo

Production Company: Blue Room NYCCEO/Executive Producer: Chris GarganiDirector/Creative Director: Brian AumuellerDir of Photography: Steven MoyerEditorial Director: David GarganiEditor: Shaun SindelmanExecutive Producer: Lauren MuirSenior Designer: Steven HarperDesigner: Chieh YenSenior Composite Artist: Alejandro MonzonVFX Artists: Steven Harper and Chieh YenMixer: Brian Aumueller

Hardware/Software: ADOBE After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Maya, Mocha

Client: Animal PlanetMarketing Director: Michael EisenbaumExecutive Producer: Jamie DuggerSupervising Editor: Barry Gliner