Ben Bridge

Bella Ponte

Ben Bridge

Bella Ponte

Seattle based agency, DNA approached The New Blank to create create a spot for the new Ben Bridge Engagement ring line of jewelry: Bella Ponte. The whole spot was spawned from the original agency idea of a young couple running together and exploding into a kaleidoscope of butterflies which were symbolic of the emotions you feel when in love as well as the variety in unique offerings from Bella Ponte. We jumped in and created a romantic, fun, and youthful treatment.

Design | Photography | Editorial | 3D | Animation | Compositing | Color Correction | Digital | Print

Butterflies, beautiful people and an amazing adventure in the woods!

Directed by: Bobby Hougham
Photography: Phil Chester, Sara Byrne
Editorial: John Jeffcoat
Animation team: Marcus Kulick, Jake Wegesin, Bryce Stines, Luke Shea, Ben Strickland
Simulations: Jake Wegesin, Phiphat Pinyosophon
Matte Painting: Jennifer Greb
Illustration: Rae Cook
Sound Design, Mix: John Buroker, Hearby Sound
Producers: SB Wood, Steiner Kierce
Executive Producer: Sevrin Daniels
Creative Director: Bobby Hougham

Agency: DNA
Executive Creative Director: Steve Williams
Creative Director: Jon Lazar
Senior Art Director: Tyler Jensen
Senior Copywriters: Shannon Stringer, Saedi Hitner
Chief Strategy Officer: Christine Wise
Senior Strategist: Becca Rubin
Director of Client Services: Caroline Ballaine
Account Director: Annie Richards
Account Supervisor: Kayla McLain
Director of Production: Gabe Hajiani
Senior Producers: Maddy Giordano, Dave Echenoz
Associate Producer: Kelsey Mendenhall
Director of Project Management: Erin Keely
Project Manager: Sydney Fullerton

Directed by: Bobby Hougham
Photography: Phil Chester, Sara Byrne
Editorial: John Jeffcoat
Animation team: Marcus Kulick, Jake Wegesin, Bryce Stines, Luke Shea, Ben Strickland
Simulations: Jake Wegesin, Phiphat Pinyosophon
Matte Painting: Jennifer Greb
Illustration: Rae Cook
Sound Design, Mix: John Buroker, Hearby Sound
Producers: SB Wood, Steiner Kierce
Executive Producer: Sevrin Daniels
Creative Director: Bobby Hougham

Agency: DNA
Executive Creative Director: Steve Williams
Creative Director: Jon Lazar
Senior Art Director: Tyler Jensen
Senior Copywriters: Shannon Stringer, Saedi Hitner
Chief Strategy Officer: Christine Wise
Senior Strategist: Becca Rubin
Director of Client Services: Caroline Ballaine
Account Director: Annie Richards
Account Supervisor: Kayla McLain
Director of Production: Gabe Hajiani
Senior Producers: Maddy Giordano, Dave Echenoz
Associate Producer: Kelsey Mendenhall
Director of Project Management: Erin Keely
Project Manager: Sydney Fullerton

The Process

The Process

Production

A significant challenge was developing creative involving a shoot in Washington in the middle of winter as well as in an extremely rushed time frame. The initial treatment we developed involved shooting a young couple on a romantic adventure through snowy mountains. We were proposing drone shots and Steadicam combined with a minor amount of handheld to give it a dreamy documentary stylization. Photography was also a part of this integrated campaign and would have a still crew chasing us and getting their semi candid shots between takes.

Due to timing and budget shifts we created a solution that was accomplishable while retaining the overarching messaging and creating a unique and ownable look. When we modified the creative treatment, we also needed to create a look and feel that would accommodate any weather thrown at us. Shooting in Western Washington can be particularly challenging, especially in the middle of winter.

Love Story: Butterflies as emotion

We had an idea after reading the agency script that was a bit broader in interpretation. We wanted to inject meaning and feeling and give the audience more to relate to and appreciate while addressing the story and themes the agency was trying to get across. The butterflies would be elevated to carry much more importance and symbolism than originally scripted.

We decided to shoot this in a remote and wild location, and the bluffs overlooking a beautiful beach and the Hoh rain forest on the Olympic peninsula checked all the boxes. It was to be magical, grand, symbolic of the highs and lows in the adventure of a life together.

On the surface, this is a simple story of a couple finding a beautiful place to profess their love for each other. The couple will be the first to walk through these environments. There are no roads, buildings, or any notion of civilization visible reinforcing the idea that this is their path that they are forging together.

We open on a medium shot of two people lightly running through a lush and dense magical forest. A mid-twenties woman turns and looks back at her mid-twenties fiancé/husband/boyfriend and laughing, reaches for his hand. Cut to a sweeping wide shot of the two of them coming to rest surrounded by old-growth trees covered in moss and sunlight bathing them in shimmering rays.

Cut to a tight shot of our woman hugging the arm of our man as they make their way through the forest, the light playing with them. A butterfly or two flits by. Shot by shot we follow the couple through the forest and out to the ocean where we find an otherworldly beach with sea stacks and cliffs.

It is getting close to sunset, and we see him reach his hand up and putting his hands on the side of her head, they draw together. As they embrace, it is warm, tender, and affectionate. The passion mounts, and we see the couple disintegrate into a kaleidoscope of butterflies.

Hoh to Coast: magical journey

As a metaphor for these characters’ life and love we want this to feel epic, grand and soaring while also providing a sense of discovery and the dangers that come from the wild. The terrain will be rough with obstacles to overcome; our heroes will be blazing their trail, which can be to their peril or a high reward. Only by working together and truly being partners do they make it out of the woods to the sunset.

We start in the Hoh rainforest surrounded by majestic old-growth trees and mossy understory. The couple wends their way through discovering beautiful scenes and a changing landscape eventually opening up to the exotic La Push / Ruby beach coastline.

Weather plays an active role

We are inspired by filmmakers who pull all aspects of production into telling their story and vision successfully. Whether as simple as the clothing the talent is wearing or the weather. Ridley Scott is one such director; we used to laugh that everything he shot had to have some atmospheric treatment. Ranging from dandelion fluff in Legend or rain in Blade Runner, every scene had something going on in the air.

This piece was designed to be made stronger by the weather. We weren’t wistfully hoping for the sun (though that would look good and is ironically, what we ended up with). We were hoping for a blanket of clouds; maybe some rain drips catching the light through the trees, and wind. We aimed to take advantage of the weather customarily found in a northwest rainforest in the middle of winter.

Rain, low clouds, greys, and wind would all create a lush, rich drama that we would otherwise not achieve with a basic sunny sky. These elements add to the scene by creating character and mood surrounding the couple. It can generate moments of levity (getting caught in a squall). It can be an instigator of risk for the couple to overcome, or it can simply be evocative of that blanket of emotion one feels with their soul mate.

At the end of it all, we will be rolling with what mother nature throws at us, and we will be ready to handle it.

Unique and Young

Like the butterflies emerging from their cocoons uniquely transformed, our talent has emerged from youth uniquely transformed as beautiful individuals. We aren’t simply looking for beautiful people but people who have that extra something that makes you stop in wonder that nature could throw together all the right bit of randomness to make someone look that way.

We are looking for unique, beautiful early to mid-20s from any racial background. Talent that has worked together and with our photographer is preferable as they will have a sense of trust and easy familiarity with each other to help really sell the relationship. Fashionable, whether vintage or modern is a must, we are not looking for jeans and t-shirts, khakis and button-downs need not apply.

Attitude:
warm, human, whimsical and passionate

Our characters are feeling the elation of love, and it isn’t so serious. The world is off their shoulders. They smile and laugh, feeling the giddiness and lightness of being with someone they trust deeply with their innermost secrets and share similarities in humor and joy.

We will see the passion of the moment combined with expressions of happiness. The couple walks through their journey, stealing glances at each other. They express their love for each other with tender touches, assisting the other over difficult terrain and laughing at each other’s jokes and silliness.

Camera as character: Love+Flight

Love is sweeping and soaring, it flutters and elevates, the butterfly metaphor can be applied here as well. Using this as inspiration, we will see camera movement that is never still nor does it feel earthbound. It becomes warm and intimate, capture details in movement whether a look or a touch. It will fly wide exposing the world around the two heroes.

In some shots we follow the heroes as they cross through terrain helping each other down paths, seeing what they see. In other shots, we lead them looking back as they laugh together.

While the heroes are always the central point of every shot, we catch opportunities to showcase the Bella Ponte rings or Ben Bridge jewelry on our talent. Whether an arm that is thrown over the shoulder towards camera revealing a ring on her finger or a close up of her hand in his displaying a wedding band or watch on him.

All images are shot as still plates and then split back apart into multiple planed layers and projected in 3D space giving our software camera the ability to float in every shot. The characters are animated as well, giving them a little life in each shot as though every scene is a captured moment in time. Parallax, puppetry, and particles will all be utilized to create a sense of wonder in this magical adventure of the characters.

Production

Once production was complete and edit had selected our hero images we set about matte painting and image extension. This gave us the real estate to move a digital camera. We split each shot into multiple layers to give us the capability to affect parallax.

After the scenes were projected and layered into 3D space with a camera, we animated the talent to achieve a bullet time look. Butterflies were animated and composited into the scenes and color correction was added.

In the final shots we used particle flow simulation to create the butterfly kaleidoscope animations. 8 different painted butterflies were created in 3D and then animated with a flight cycle. Each butterfly “sprite” was then inserted into the particle cloud. The simulation also dynamically added color randomness to aid the organic illusion.

Butterfly Development: Beautiful, approachable, infinitely varied

Originally, DNA suggested a photo-real approach for the butterflies, but in service of the creative treatment we went down an illustrative path. Playing with the idea of color and art as the prime focal points rather than a real insect.

Here we show a range going from a fairly tight form through to highly impressionistic styles.

TNB was an essential part of this project from the get. It was their robust and beautifully detailed treatment that helped us communicate the concept to the client. Throughout the entire creative development process TNB was a part of the DNA team and always ready to take the work to the next level.

Gabe Hajiani

Head of Creation and Content, DNA

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