Drawing

We are proud to announce that we recently completed a major project for our clients JAM.

JAM is an e-learning company devoted to provide a safe online environment for kids to learn creativity: from drawing classes, to lego building and Minecraft, they hire experts in the field to mentor a class on a specific theme.

It's been a tremendous success with kids all over the world, and earlier this year we were hired to help them out creating a comprehensive realistic drawing class for JAM. The course would teach kids with zero experience or skills in illustration, how to be able to draw realistically people, pets, and more. It's a huge undertaking as you can imagine, but after four intense months the whole course was ready to be delivered.

One of the first shoot days at the office with the JAM team. Afonso Salcedo (front), Chalon Bridges (left), Hieu Nguyen (middle), Kelsey Holtaway (right). 

One of the first shoot days at the office with the JAM team. Afonso Salcedo (front), Chalon Bridges (left), Hieu Nguyen (middle), Kelsey Holtaway (right). 

We worked closely with JAM to design a course that would flow nicely throughout the whole program, as kids progress to more complex chapters. We directed and produced a 12-day shoot, with a mentor that JAM flew from Australia.

Since the complexity of drawing something realistically is tremendous, we knew we had to simplify the capturing of the footage as much as possible, so that we could save on production time and number of takes. It's not easy to redraw the same drawing multiple times, to cut together in post-production, so we decided to build a camera rig covering four different angles, including a mirror on top of our talent so that we would have extra coverage if needed.

This meant that on average we were able to capture a drawing from beginning to end without resorting to many takes. The four cameras were filming in tandem, allowing us to cut through in post more quickly.

Sound was recorded separately, but already synched with one of the cameras to make it easier to deal with post-production audio editing.

Even though everything is filmed widescreen, the delivery format was square, which presents a lot of issues in composition, visual effects and color grading. We only worked in square format, but as part of our delivery structure we provided all the widescreen footage as well for potential future usage.

After the 12-day shoot, we captured close to 15 TB of footage. 12-days filming many times over ten hours of footage, that somehow had to be compressed and edited into multiple 5-minute chunks.

Even though in the beginning we had estimated we would create about 75 videos, in the end we actually ended up producing 178 videos. Most of these videos were shorter than five minutes in length.

But one of our main goals of creating this class was to really make it easy for kids to visualize what the mentor sees as he is drawing. What is he looking at? How does he see shapes? Or lighting? It's impossible to clearly depict such things with simple video or talking points, so we went ahead and created an extensive amount of visual effects and animations to aid in key learning moments throughout the course.

With 178 videos edited, we ended up creating in After Effects 482 animations that were then composited back into our edited videos, most of these hand-drawn and keyframes to match the flow and gestures of the actual mentor as he draws.

178 videos edited and graded. 482 animations, most of these animated in After Effects.
— Afonso Salcedo

We couldn't be prouder of this achievement. 178 videos filmed, edited and graded with 482 animations all done in four months of production scheduling is pretty mind-boggling.

The course is supposed to be launching soon, and you can find more information at http://jam.com.

We couldn't be happier with this collaboration and with the outstanding class we created, and we're ready for the next challenge!

 
Kelsey Holtaway (left), Hieu Nguyen (middle back), Chalon Bridges (right), Afonso Salcedo (front)

Kelsey Holtaway (left), Hieu Nguyen (middle back), Chalon Bridges (right), Afonso Salcedo (front)

 

Thank you everyone at JAM for their amazing friendship throughout this whole experience!