At the recent National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Convention in Las Vegas, Microsoft¬¨¬®‚àö√ú made big news with the launch of its new software package SilverLight(TM). Key to the introduction of this new technology was the brand launch video, produced by Phoenix Designs, with the help of Venice-based concept/design studio Ember. Led by Co-Founders/Directors Shane Zucker and Jason Ett, Ember provided conceptualization, design, 2D and 3D elements to Phoenix for the 90-second, High-Definition piece.
In early 2007, Ember was called on by Phoenix Designs to help concept, design and provide elements for the 90-second launch visual teaser for the introduction announcement of Microsoft¬¨¬®‚àö√ú SilverLight(TM) at NAB. In consultation with Ember, Phoenix’ Creative Director Matt Silverman directed the live-action shoot at Kerner Optical Studios in San Raphael and on location in San Francisco. Ember compiled a team of 12 artists to complete design and animation in the company’s new Venice-based studio in early April, just in time for the industry’s largest technology conference.
“We were most excited to help tell the story of this new product through a 90-second High-Definition spot, without the use of voice-over or type,” explains Ember’s Shane Zucker. “We came up with a series of metaphors in order to communicate the aspects of the new technology that needed to be highlighted,” adds Jason Ett. “Our biggest challenge was to make sure the overall takeaway felt fluid and seamless, knowing we would be building 90% of our environment in 3D.”
The new software package, Microsoft¬¨¬®‚àö√ú SillverLight(TM), enables developers, designers and end users to take advantage of higher levels of interactivity, viewing media content, or utilizing complex web applications. Completely invisible to the end user, downloading of “plug-ins” or additional software is no longer necessary via Microsoft¬¨¬®‚àö√ú SilverLight(TM), which promises to ultimately revolutionize the way end users use the web. The 90-second spot, takes viewers through a series of short visual vignettes touching on a range of the products capabilities: Enhanced tools for design, ease of coding, increased web interactivity, access to a multitude of digital formats, rich internet application, use for personal networking websites, and PDA platform application.
Ember was launched in January of 2006 by Co-Founders/Directors Jason Ett and Shane Zucker. The duo had met while collaborating in Berlin, Germany on Volkswagen’s Vision World for the Glaserne Manufaktur. Inspired by the experience of a new world canvas for Design and Animation, the two began a friendship and creative partnership with a passion for moving design into a visionary future: design for multi-sensory experience that extends beyond the limitations of a television or film screen.
During Ember’s first year, the company completed a series of high-profile projects: including 4 minutes of High-Definition content for Madonna’s Confessions tour. Ember was asked to design, animate and composite the content for the song “Like It or Not” for Madonna’s 7 screen show experience during her 2006 live tour. Other projects included a print advertising campaign for Jeep; a holiday release DVD set for HBO’s most popular series, including “The Sopranos” and “Entourage”; a Nascar Hotpass logo animation for DirecTV’s Nascar promotional package; web spots for Adobe’s launch of Acrobat; and a video backdrop for musician Rain.
Starting 2007, its second year in business, off to a successful start, Ember moved into its new space in Venice, California, a long-time haven for artists. Ember’s new studio in Venice is surrounded by fine artists, architects and sculptors, as well as designers and animators. “We can creatively express ourselves in the new space and also build the company’s infrastructure from the ground up,” explains Ember’s Jason Ett. “We can also take our ideas from the design world and bring them into the real world in our own space, and give clients who come here a first-hand experience with our brand which is also reflected in our work,” adds Shane Zucker.
“When we first met in Berlin before launching Ember, we knew we had a different approach and aesthetic than other studios, and we wanted to be able to develop our own unique brand of design,” comments Zucker. “The project for Madonna was our first chance as Ember to push out of the TV res world and step into a new arena, one that is high-tech and experiential.”
“Our goals for 2007 are to continue moving in this direction,” concludes Ett. “It is the merging of design and technology that excites and inspires us at Ember. “We believe that any surface is an opportunity for visual advertising, entertainment and/or communication. So we hope to continue to take on projects that push beyond the traditional boundaries, to embrace the experimental and experiential future.”