The Artist/Director Takes Her Company To The Next Level, Redefining Its Business Model To Support The Integration Of Its Artistic Vision Into Every Phase Of Commercial Production
, the animation, production, and visual FX boutique, marked its eighth anniversary with the launch of a full-service live-action production division – and the expansion of its infrastructure, to create a seamless environment that guides each project from conceptual development through production, animation, and postproduction.
Launched by award-winning artist/director Beatriz Helena Ramos, the DUMBO-based studio has evolved
from its roots as a boutique known for its edgy, out-of-the-box animation, into a mature one-stop creative resource skilled at a wide range of styles – from traditional and classic to cutting-edge and experimental.
The full-scale production capabilities maximize both creativity and cost-effectiveness of projects that integrate live-action with animation, visual effects, analog and digital design, illustration, handmade props and fabricated elements.
“Dancing Diablo has come of age,” says Ramos. “In recent years agencies began calling upon us to produce
with increasing frequency. This year we decided to commit to this market in a big way – and took our company to the next level with a full-service approach to production.”
The expansion to a loft-like animation studio has doubled the company’s space, which houses a stop motion stage, a green screen, CGI services, design resources, a prop fabrication shop, client lounge and state-of-the-art production equipment, including the Canon 5D and 7D cameras.
Ramos attributes her company’s ability to provide U.S. agencies with a level of creativity that sets their spots apart from the crowd to Dancing Diablo/NY’s unique collaborative relationship with its sister company in Caracas.
The Latin American division’s bi-lingual staff of 30 world-class artists, directors, DPs, animators, modelers, CGI talent, editors and producers – and international pool of freelance talent – work as a team, freely exchanging ideas with its New York counterpart. Focused on the US market, 95% of the work it attracts is for general market.
Dancing Diablo/Caracas recently completed its own major expansion with a move to more spacious quarters that allow the Latin America-based company to expanded its capabilities and add new production talent, including directors, producers, assistant directors and cinematographers to its roster.
“While growing organically has always kept Dancing Diablo busy, this recent expansion into the live-action arena is a benchmark for the company, and presents an opportunity for us to bring the industry up to speed with the versatility of our work,” notes Ramos.
“Live-action and animation are two worlds that complement each other, but are very different,” she adds. “Our understanding of the technical requirements of complex visual FX and stop-motion is invaluable, and gives us the ability to maximize the effectiveness of spots that combine both elements.”
Art direction is one of Dancing Diablo’s strengths, and a great asset when working in the live-action area. Its team brings the same attention to detail that they apply to their stop-motion animation work to the production process – building handmade props, designing and creating wardrobe, and polishing and refining each production element.
Experienced working with 35mm film, on Red cameras and the Canon 5D, Dancing Diablo has produced a wide range of live-action projects – from a big live-action/animation production for Coca Cola with multiple cameras and seventy extras, to a location shoot for PNC Bank that incorporated numerous hand-made fabricated props and custom-designed costumes, to directing dozens of dancers and choreographers and working with an assortment of trained animals – from donkeys to pythons.
“Although we’ve enjoyed a reputation as an innovative animation boutique almost since our inception, the majority of the industry is not aware that Dancing Diablo brings that same level of skill to live-action production,” adds Ramos.
“We’ve evolved from a specialty boutique into a full service production company driven by a director who brings the aesthetic of an artist to the production process – guiding that artistic vision through every phase of their project – and that’s the message we want to get out there.”
A long roster of diverse work attests to the company’s success in the live-action arena.
Dancing Diablo created the highly successful online campaign for Deutsch, New York and their client PNC Bank, based on the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, which gave Ramos an opportunity to showcase her talents as a director of both live-action and animation. The 3-mniute long video features a group of children performing the holiday classic with all the charm and spontaneity of a school play – on a stage in front of a green screen. Ramos’ blocking of the action was critical to the integration of animated elements. Dancing Diablo created a papier mache menagerie of fanciful handmade animal costumes and whimsical props that interact with the live action to bring the lyrics of the classic holiday song to life.
Famed children’s music artist Dan Zanes tapped into Dancing Diablo’s production experience to raise the creative bar for his concert DVD, ‘The Fine Friends Are Here.’ Dancing Diablo added whimsy and charm to the live-action performance complete with a passionate audience of kiddy fans, by integrating the concert footage with animation, fabricated props and live puppetry.
For a campaign for Coca-Cola Venezuela, Dancing Diablo pioneered a stop motion technique combined with live action meant to resemble motion graphics in 3D.
“This is one instance where we really thought outside the box, says Ramos. “The agency wanted the typical
digital motion graphics look. But we expanded upon their concept with three-dimensional life-size sculptures in the style of motion graphics. We then animated them in stop motion and integrated them seamlessly into the live action of actual kids who play street baseball, and we integrated it all in postproduction. The sculptures created a highly authentic, organic and tridimensional style that symbolized the explosive energy of street baseball, which was the focus of the campaign.”
Dancing Diablo’s roster of advertising clients includes Deutsch New York (The Bronx Zoo, PNC Bank), JWT (Jet Blue, Schick, Wendy’s), Arnold (Tums), BBDO (Alka Seltzer), Ogilvy (Coca Cola), DDB (Toyota), Leo Burnett (Always / Whirlpool), FCB (Chip’s Ahoy!), Green Team Advertising (Smithsonian Institution, World Wildlife Fund), Steve Madden, and Saatchi & Saatchi (Crest, General Mills). Other clients include Sesame Street, Disney, Oxygen, Nickelodeon, MTV, PBS, Fuse, Noggin, and Razor and Tie Productions, among others.
For additional information, Dancing Diablo’s New York studio can be reached at 718.243.0103, or at
. Beatriz Ramos can be contacted at
. East Coast & Mid West Rep Laura Zinn, 212.741.0909,
Coast & Texas Rep, Kelley Class