Serial Cut Gets Messy for Sonos
Music can change everything. The right song at the right time can alter an entire day, fill a whole room with joy or sadness. It speaks a language all its own, communicating past color and form. It is direct language into the emotional life of people. So how do you turn that into an image?
Serial Cut, the CGI and design studio, was tasked with this very question when Sonos came to them to help spread the word on their newest line of wireless speakers. It was a tall order. “Sonos wanted us to showcase that the product changes the environment of the room, of your home,” says Sergio del Puerto, founder of Serial Cut. “That’s the main goal.” Through a six round process of CGI compositing, Serial Cut finally settled on four different looks to express all the ways music can affect a space. “Each visual needed to be super different, but at the same time part of the same family,” Sergio says.
In the final product, they ended up using relatively little CGI, achieving the looks using a lot of creative photography and digital composition. Two of the final images don’t use any CGI at all. Both the “Gold,” and “Paint” images are all from live photography that they stitched together on the computer. Serial Cut opted to go with a pure photographic look for those images in particular to achieve what Sonos was hoping for. “They wanted something with a lot of detail,” says Sergio, explaining that this approach will give them that. “We like to get second looks. When you look at first there’s the “Wow Effect” like “Wow, what is that?” And then looking again at all the details.” Liquid splashes in a hundred different directions to capture the feeling of movement and energy. And they earned every splatter.
To achieve these looks, as you can see in the Behind The Scenes video, they worked with a lot of liquid. For the gold, they made a pool of gold paint and using a combination of dropping the actual product into the paint, and jets to fire it, they achieved the movement. For the Paint, they filled up balloons like water balloons, and threw them at the wall (with pins in it to ensure proper popping). Hundreds of photographs all came together to capture the smooth movement in an otherworldly type of way. And they got a little messy along the way.
For both “Plants” and “Blocks” they started with constructed environments, and then used CGI to seamlessly meld the look into a manipulated reality. For the blocks, the pieces closest to the speakers are real, and as are most of the plants. It was just the details that they finished up in the computer, adding an extra level of alternate reality, inviting the viewer into the world that’s been changed through sound.
Sergio explains that they had a lot to do, and like most projects they had to complete it fairly quickly. Deadlines are deadlines, but, as Sergio says, “it was really fun.”