In late 2015, our friends at Moosylvania came to us with an exciting challenge: take a handful of historical assets, combine it with a dash of stunning painterly textural goodness, and produce a 60-second animated spot illustrating the globe-trotting 19th-century journey of Sapporo’s founding brewmaster, Seibei Nakagawa.
From the start, Moose was clear—this piece needed an epic tone and a coolness factor that would play more like a legendary tale and less like a history lesson. We pulled this off utilizing a combination of 2d & 3d techniques honed while working on last year’s music videos and our spot for Busch Gardens’ Tempesto. Another killer original score and sound design by Mark Bartels took it to the next level.
Our behind-the-scenes breakdown reveals the layers of sound and visual detail that brought Seibei’s journey to life. A remixed version of the original soundtrack highlights this attention to detail. We projection mapped 2d brand elements like the Sapporo can, pint, & bottle to create 3d assets that could live in our cg world. With this technique, we were able to animate a still photo of beer in 2d, then project it into 3d (no fluid sim necessary!). We produced additional 3d elements from scratch—shading and lighting them realistically—then treated them in post with heavy color correction and a healthy serving of blur and grain to break the pristine digital renders, leaving them feeling like dimensional black-and-white objects. A ton of compositing love helped Moose’s historical assets and our original cg elements to live happily side-by-side.
With the visuals chronicling the story of Seibei, and the voice-over defining what it truly takes to become a legend, the function of the audio score would be to pull these together to illustrate the emotional journey of such an endeavor, as well as create a vibe: in this case, boldness and grit. Collaborating with Moose from the beginning proved advantageous because a couple tracks were pursued initially, before finally honing in on this final direction.
Instinctively, working with just a VO scratch and style-frame animatic, we scored a more narrative, cinematic track. But once we began pulling renderings together along with the pace of the edit and transitions, the team decided the score needed more attitude – heavier and with a slightly aggressive bite to it, but keeping the emotional build to demonstrate the courage to take on risk and the honor of achieving one’s true passion. It became an emotional-vibe track, rather than a storytelling embellishment.
To set the mood, we started with an underscore with a strong backbeat rhythm accompanied by a thick distorted bass that would build throughout. This provided our attitude. Bringing in orchestral strings would be the core emotional essence of the piece, starting with tremolo strings to communicate the agitation of entering the unknown, then followed by the driving rhythmic string motif , alluding to the toil and determination of pursuing a passion. And finally the anthemic full legato string melody that builds to the end to signify the beating-the-odds victory. Adding to that, the musical and abstract sound design really enhanced the mood throughout. The score is both electronic and organic, and fully integrates music with sound design.