Undefined Creative Uses C4D to Create Video Promos For New Thriller, The Informationist

May 22, 2011 11:00 pm

Tags: Adobe, After Effects, CINEMA 4D, MAXON, Meleah Maynard, Photoshop, Undefined Creative

Not long ago, when an author wanted to promote a new book he or she would go on a tour making in-person appearances to read excerpts and sign copies. Book tours still happen, but like so many other things today, much of the promotion for new books is being done online. For Taylor Stevens' new book "The Informationist," for example, Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, recently had three 30-second promotional video trailers created for posting on YouTube and Amazon. (Watch the first trailer now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0rIMgdylC8.)

To stay on budget, Undefined used C4D to add detail to a stock binder model
purchased on TurboSquid. Additional lighting was done with After Effects.

Maria Rapetskaya, owner of New York City-based Undefined Creative, was the creative director on the project, and she relied on MAXON's CINEMA 4D for most of the work. "This was one of the first big C4D projects we've tried and it was so unbelievably forgiving and friendly to work with, it was critical to our making our three-week deadline," she says, adding that Adobe After Effects and Photoshop were used for creating some textures, compositing and editing. (See the second trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBQtbGf3Tp0.)

Crown provided three scripts as the basis for the direction the videos would take. Rapetskaya read those, in addition to Stevens' novel, to come up with a look that could convey the book's narrative, which revolves around the adventures of heroine Vanessa Michael Munroe. Known as "the informationist," Munroe specializes in helping corporations gather hard-to-get information about developing countries. Not surprisingly, her snooping gets her in to quite a bit of trouble.

Undefined Creative was happy to discover how easy it was to change typography in C4D.
"Working on a crazy deadline, our constant fear is that the client will change one word at the final
hour," Rapetskaya says. "But with Cinema this was not a problem, so we never felt like pulling our hair out."

"Crown had a book jacket already designed, which gave us a palette, the image of a woman on a motorcycle and a preferred look for typography," Rapetskaya recalls. "After reading everything, what came to me was this notion of hopping around the globe because locations drive so much of the plot and character actions." Because a lot of the book's plot points are based on documents—real and fake—and the setting is equatorial Africa, Undefined Creative created three videos incorporating things like passports, jungle plants and maps. All had similar flow and timing for a consistent look and feel. "Stylistically it's good to have the same type of identifiable look, but that template also helped us stay on budget," she says.

Crown Publishing provided the audio track so Undefined was able to dive right into the visuals.

Feedback about the project has been positive from Crown and the author and Rapetskaya believes more book publishers will soon be moving toward using video as a promotional tool. Though Undefined Creative was primarily involved in broadcast production in the past, they are seeing an uptick in requests for online marketing videos and they're currently working with Better Homes and Gardens on a project. "It's a fun new direction for us and I think more projects like this one will follow, especially from traditional publishers who realize the marketing potential of well-produced online video," she says.

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Meleah Maynard is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer and editor. Contact her at her website: www.slowdog.com


May 23, 2011

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