To create a stunning promo for Discovery Channel’s new series, “Expedition Borneo,” film production and motion design company Mrs. K commissioned its creative partners at motion504, a design and animation studio.
“Expedition Borneo” features a team of jungle specialists – scientists, climbers and wildlife filmmakers – who explore the remote island of Borneo and track down its endangered species as part of a conservation effort.
The promo opens on a gentle floating ride through clouds before taking a violent dive into a remote island. As the camera pulls back out through the darkness of trees, motion graphics, set against a hazy moonlit night, introduce the show’s title, “Expedition Borneo.”
“This Discovery series is unique in that it is an extreme version of science research,” explains Mitch Monson, Creative Director of Mrs. K. “The scientists are survivalists who traverse the third largest island in the world via helicopter, canoes and climbing. The spots had to capture the intensity, danger and excitement of their wildlife experiences. motion504 created a rich and natural piece that felt more like a soft, surreal, live-action sequence than traditional CGI. They also did a great job of incorporating After Effects and 3D together between all of their artists, and maintaining an integrated 2D and 3D process.”
“Our goal in the animation was to show both sides of Borneo, the beautiful and the dangerous,” says Andy Reynolds, Founder & Creative Director of motion504. “Aside from the show clips, the promo is completely computer-generated imagery. Working collaboratively with Mrs. K, we were able to create a fantastic, photorealistic world.”
During initial discussions, Mrs. K presented an image of airplanes above clouds as visual reference. From there, motion504 created animatics of the clouds and master camera moves in Lightwave. These elements were then imported into Cinema 4D, Vue and After Effects to develop photorealistic clouds, water and vegetation, as well as lighting and movement on the island. The floating Discovery Channel logos also had to fit convincingly into the real-looking environment. Compositing, cloud layers and final color grading were done in After Effects while multi-pass rendering was achieved in Cinema 4D and Vue.
“We are really proud of the final product,” concludes Monson. “We have such a level of trust with Andy’s team, which is invaluable to our creative process. We always enjoy our collaboration with the talented team at motion504.”
motion504 is a broadcast design and animation studio, which specializes in the art of motion. Featuring the talents of senior-level creative directors, designers and animators, the company has done work for film, TV, advertising and music clients including Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Women’s Entertainment (We), and mega artist Beyonc?¬¨¬© Knowles. motion504, with its open studio space, is built upon the idea of collaboration through communication, critique and contribution amongst its artists and clients. This collective philosophy lends itself to the company’s talent contributing to each and every project, and drawing upon their creative skills and technical experience in design, animation, 3D modeling, illustration and visual effects.
Client: Discovery Channel
Film Production and Motion Design Company: Mrs. K, Denver/Minneapolis
Executive Producer: Peter Thron
Creative Director: Jeanne Kopeck
Creative Director: Mitch Monson
Producer: Donna Carver
Editorial: Joe Martin @ Splice Here/Minneapolis, MN
Creative Direction, Design & Animation Company: motion504/Minneapolis,MN
Creative Directors/Designer: Andy Reynolds, Amy Schmitt & Scott Wenner