Studio Delivers Eerie & Vivid Promo Using a Blend of Illustration & Animation
Broadcast design & animation studio motion504 recently teamed with NBC-owned network, Chiller, to create a comic-book-influenced promo for the upcoming movie, “Remains,” based on the graphic novel of the same name by Steven Niles. The movie premieres on Chiller on December 16th.
Niles’ “Remains,” Chiller’s first original film, journeys to Reno, Nevada where a horrific blast has turned the locals into the ravenous undead. A group of remaining humans takes refuge in a vacant casino and fights a losing battle against the undead, who grow steadily stronger, smarter and more aggressive by the minute.
To view the promo, please visit:
“We came to motion504 with a very rough edit and asked them to design a visual treatment for the trailer,” says Brian Everett, Chiller Design Director. “The goal was to connect to the story’s (graphic novel) origins, while at the same time capturing all the visceral action the film has to offer. On a rather tight timeline, they created an animation toolkit that’s slick, textural, and really helps elevate the footage. Being that ‘Remains’ is Chiller’s first original movie, it’s been great to collaborate with the team at motion504 and develop a piece of communication that’s both scary and stunning.”
To stay true to the movie interpretation, motion504 Creative Directors Scott Wenner and Amy Schmitt hand-sketched detailed frames from the film itself. As they were illustrating, motion504 President / Creative Director Andrew Reynolds began creating animatics and tests, building the sequence simultaneously to accommodate the short timeline. After refining the edit, the three then animated the scenes, giving life to the piece by adding movement and distortions to the environments and zombie characters.
“The client gave us a lot of flexibility and trust visually and animation-wise,” says Reynolds. “They knew that we understood what to do and how to establish the right tone for the narrative. Twelve seconds of animation is not a lot of time, especially with comic book cutouts, so it was important that we kept the feeling cinematic and dramatic, not frenetic.”
With the short turnaround time, motion504’s hands-on approach worked well, with Reynolds posing as a zombie for a number of the shots, and Schmitt and Wenner using their own hands for reference to create elements.
Dozens of pencil sketches were scanned and colored in Photoshop. Animation was executed in After Effects, using a wide variety of techniques to give life to each scene.
Project Title / Airdate: “Remains” promo / December 2011
VP Creative Director, Chiller/Syfy: James Spence
Creative Director, Chiller/Syfy: Shea Pepper
Design Director, Chiller/Syfy: Brian Everett
Writer/Producer/Editor, Chiller/Syfy: Dan Frome
Project Manager, Chiller/Syfy: Bill Ikin
Broadcast Design & Animation Company: motion504/Minneapolis, MN
Creative Directors: Andrew Reynolds & Scott Wenner
Illustrator: Scott Wenner
Animators: Andrew Reynolds, Amy Schmitt & Scott Wenner
Executive Producer: Eric Mueller
Tools: Photoshop (initial coloring), After Effects (animation)
motion504 is a broadcast design, effects and animation studio specializing in the art of motion. Featuring the talent of senior-level creative directors, designers and animators, the company works for TV, film, music and advertising clients.
With its open studio space, motion504 is built upon the idea of collaboration through communication, critique and contribution amongst its artists and clients.