When something is unfamiliar, resulting emotions can manifest as anxiety, fear, and/or helplessness. Taking action is a positive solution to conquering these negative waves.
So, in the midst of the nebulous Covid-19 cloud, Lexington, Kentucky based creative studio The Furrow asked themselves how they could be of service during these uncertain times while “sheltering in place”.
They answered by gathering top-notch talent from around the world to make a series of positive, factual, and visually engaging Covid-19 informational videos for all to share. All 20 videos (40 total if you count vertical and horizontal aspect ratios separately) are consistent in their beautiful color palette, smooth-looping animations, and fact-based messaging. To make these videos happen, The Furrow managed 30-plus designers, animators, sound designers, and everything else in-between, from 11 different countries, collaborating at all hours. Across the team, The Furrow estimates between 300 – 400 total volunteer “man-hours” were spent creating these videos, breaking down to about 12 hours per video.
What a prudent and lovely way to stay connected and informed while trying to sort through the various feelings that come along with isolation and the erratic informational stream of a global pandemic unfolding.
And below in this guest-post, read how The Furrow team masterminded the process.
FROM THE FURROW TEAM:
When the quarantine started, we wondered how we could help. We wanted to use our talent to create messaging around positive, factual, and visually engaging content to reach people around the world. So we sat down and drafted a brief focused on sharing healthy ways to live and raise awareness during the COVID-19 pandemic. We knew we wanted to include others from our community, so we invited fellow creatives from all over to join us.
Information on how to wash your hands is incredibly important, but we also wanted to share information that went further. We wanted to include guidance for demographics experiencing stigma because of COVID-19. There are people everywhere being avoided. There are people who are being threatened by violence by living with their abusers in a stressful time. We hoped through this initiative to encourage viewers to push through the obvious and go a little deeper – to take interest in mankind, wrestle with their thoughts, and do something about it.
In building the brief, we chose to create a framework around clear facts and positive messaging. Our focus was broken out into two categories: guidance and facts. From there, we cross-referenced and confirmed information from resources, such as the CDC and WHO.
In an effort to maximize shareability, we made it so that the films could be accessible for download and sharing by everyone. We also wanted there to be flexibility in how and where the work could be shared. So, we outlined the specifications of the deliverables to be 7.5 second loops in both 16:9 and 9:16 formats. With the assets being modular, this enabled users to share as many films strung together as desired, in any order, and the audio and visuals would be in sync.
As we dove into the art direction, we decided upon a more graphical approach and leveraged more compositing effects to cut down on overall creative investment. Since this was a personal, unpaid project, we wanted to choose a direction that would not require too much heavy lifting. With the subject matter being variable, the colors needed to have a wide range of applicability. Some scenes we knew would be darker and some would be lighter.
We outlined specifics on how shape language should influence the design, how to keep the compositing consistent, as well as generated a list of ideas per phrase on what could be done visually to help jump start the work. Each scene had 1-2 rounds of revision, primarily focused on polish and alignment with the rest of the work. This way there was a healthy diversity among the films and also ensuring that they all felt as if they were a part of the same world.
Our goal was to have design and animation split between at least 2 individuals. This way collaboration was encouraged and no single style overpowered the rest of the work. We let the creatives choose their assignment from the list of phrases.
To keep things organized, we used Slack… and lots of spreadsheets! One of the biggest challenges of the project was organizing and aligning so many individuals in various time zones. Our second largest challenge was keeping consistency in design and animation. Thankfully, the parameters we built did most of the heavy lifting for us, but there was definitely some fine tuning. Once everyone had finished their pass of the work, we did an internal pass of each scene to help align and ensure the work felt cohesive. In total, we spent between 80-120 internal hours managing the team and building all of the assets. Across the rest of the team, we estimate roughly 300-400 hours were spent. With there being multiple formats, as well as varying typography applications, the end deliverables consisted of approximately 120 unique assets.
We built the project out on our site to host all of the work. This included a “hype reel” to showcase all of the investment from the team, as well as links to download the films.
When we set out on this project, our goals were to: (1) Raise awareness about COVID-19 (2) Fuel hope through clear, concise messaging & (3) Equip viewers with short films they could use to share factual information.
After two weeks from sharing the project, the films collectively have seen 80K+ views and are continuing to grow. We’ve even seen it shared in places outside of our industry which we count as a win!
We are blessed to have had the opportunity to work with so many rockstar creatives on this project. Thank you again to each of you who helped on this project. We highly recommend checking out each of their respective portfolios. You can view all the individual films or download them here.
We hope all of you continue to stay informed and stay safe.
Alex Deaton – Animation
Allen Laseter – Design
Andrew Vucko – Animation
Champ – Animation & Design
Christina Young – Design
David Pocull – Design
Doug Alberts – Animation
Emily Suvanvej – Design
Erica Gorochow – Design
Haewon Shin – Design
ILLO – Animation & Design
Jardeson Rocha – Animation
Jerry Liu – Animation
José Manuel Peña – Animation
Justin Lemmon – Animation
Lorena G – Design
Maks Fede – Animation
Manuel Neto – Animation
Marco Cheatham – Design
Marco van der Vlag – Animation
Nol Honig – Animation
Ordinary Folk – Animation & Design
Paul O’Connor – Design
Piotr Wojtczak – Animation
Romain Loubersanes – Animation
Steve Savalle – Animation
The Furrow – Animation & Design
Thiago Steka – Animation
Ricardo Drehmer – Animation
Tom Redfern – Design
Antfood – Music & Sound Design
Seth Eckert – Creative Direction
Janet Tousseau – Producer
Justin Burks & Seth Eckert – Art Direction
Kyle Martinez & Seth Eckert – Behind the Scenes, Typography
Seth Eckert – Production & Edit