The Skinny Made for international markets, the Nokia N96 launch video that aired worldwide in February 2008 to herald the debut of Nokia’s latest product was produced by FHQ Fluid in collaboration with the team at Upper Story Singapore, who conceptualized the idea. Having installed a spanking new plasma TV at home, the protagonist and his friend stood back expecting to enjoy the visual treat, only to see the panel promptly fall off the wall, filmed in almost surreal slow motion, and is damaged beyond repair. In disbelief the protagonist heads to his notebook and logs on to YouTube in the hope for some online video entertainment. Watching a clip of an ‘exploding’ bottle of fizzy drink, he turns around to see his friend imitating the stunt, and a fountain of fluid, also shot in slow motion, reduces his notebook to a smoking mess. Turning to music, he ups the volume and irritates his girlfriend for the umpteenth time, and she throws, also in slow-motion, his stack of music CDs out of the window into the street below. And just as he thinks the day can’t get any worse, he heads to the theatres expecting to see a movie only to have tickets sell out as he reaches the box office. Walking along the streets in disappointment, the protagonist looks up to see a video billboard featuring the latest Nokia N96 mobile handset which promises ‘Video online everywhere’ as the ultimate solution to his troubles. Getting hold of the N96 mobile handset, the protagonist returns home and watches TV shows in his palm sitting in front of his broken plasma TV, he catches online videos on the handset next to his still-smoking notebook, and watches music videos as he steps over his CDs on the street. The TVC then spotlights the new product and highlights key features including its video, online, storage and connectivity capabilities in a showcase segment. Ending the spot with a final humorous twist, the last part of the ad sees the protagonist seated on a bench along the sea enjoying a live basketball match on the N96. And as he jumps for joy at his favourite team’s victory on the buzzer, bands of white paint is seen on his jacket and a ‘Wet Paint’ sign behind the bench that had just been painted over. The Production “The spot needed to reflect the (character of the) phone and the end user. Being the ‘top of the range’ in the series (of Nokia mobile handsets), it was targeting the ‘creative and hip brigade’,” executive producer Ian Kenny explained. Needing to appeal to the younger demographic group, the production team deemed locations, style and feel of the spot to be of key importance. “Every location had to have an edge,” Kenny said, and revealed that the apartment was a warehouse in Brisbane where the production house’s art department emptied and refurnished. To further attract younger viewers, the production team cast a model in the protagonist’s role, whom Paul Giggle, the TVC’s director was on hand to guide, to ensure he could take on the performance-heavy script which relied on dialogue with a neutral accent. “You have to move (the talents) into a comfort zone where they will deliver being themselves,” advised Giggle. With the number of changes in locations across Brisbane required, Giggle was able to keep shoots light and fast with the use of the 16mm film format. “I still like film even though we could have shot (in) HD, as I felt the look could be better achieved with the former format,” he revealed. Recalling memorable production moments, Giggle shared the team’s experience shooting the opening segment, “We had only two TV sets for the scene, and the first one just hit the ground and stayed there when it was supposed to smash and the screen was supposed to fall. Luckily for us, the second TV set worked.” The Post Cutting Edge in Brisbane assumed key responsibilities for the four-week long post production process. Digitizing the footage using the Spirit 4K, Matt Benett, editor at Cutting Edge Brisbane worked with Giggle to select the shots. “The mood of this spot was really important, and we had a few elements such as flares that we could over lay. Inferno was used to tweak the night shots and make the scenes work as we replaced every window with lit rooms,” Giggle elaborated. In terms of visual effects, the key elements were the video billboard, and the segment spotlighting the mobile handset. 3D animation work for the video billboard was carried out by Chye Yong Hock, art director at the Upper Story in Singapore, while the part on the mobile handset was shot using green screen. “The billboard was built from scratch and we spent a great deal of time trying to make it look real,” revealed Giggle. As the handset had a blank screen, the relevant footage had to be placed in each scene that the handset appears in. “Shooting the handset with green screen, we added markers to track the footage. Reflections on the phone posed some challenges to us,” he elaborated. Opting for the minimal use of VFX, Giggle concluded, “I like to keep spots like this quite organic.”

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