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How Seed Changed its Client Brief for the South Downs National Park Authority

Seed, 2 years ago

Creative director Morgan Powell on how the animation studio changed SDNPA's mind

How Seed Changed its Client Brief for the South Downs National Park Authority

Seed were approached by South Downs National Park Authority to pitch a motion graphics film to explain the new landscape-led Local Plan. However, Seed didn’t feel motion graphics would do the subject justice. Morgan Powell, Seed’s Creative Director explains:


MP: We met with the team at SDNPA and they, naturally, are very passionate about the South Downs, not just its natural beauty but the needs of its residents and the way the land supplies both vital elements and quality of life to its residents. We went out in the Landrover with one of the rangers across private land to seek out the most precious parts and it seemed to us that however utterly genius our motion graphics is (my mum says so)  that medium could never do the landscape justice. So we thought about combining complementary animation elements to live action instead.


Q> But you’d been asked for Motion Graphics, was live action a hard sell?

MP: Nah, the important bit was character and engagement and making it something different to the run of the mill stunning landscape films. and so all we had to demonstrate all those elements would be in there.


Q> How did you do that?

MP: I wrote a treatment that our producer baulked at, but as I am a co owner of Seed I told her who’s boss and on we went with illustrations mocking up the shots.


Q> Why did she baulk at it?

MP: Because we didn’t really have the budget for a full live shoot and it also involved one of us hand turning the wooden models – we didn’t have the budget to commission them either.


Q> So how did you get round that?

MP: We bought a lathe and just cracked on with learning how to use it. Producer ate her words.


Q> And the shoot?

MP: This was Neil’s (co founder) bag: he knows what a lens is and everything. No seriously, led by Neil it was all hands on deck with homemade prop making and animators taken out of the studio for the shoot. The weather situation was a bit hairy but we got what we needed. We spent two days largely off-road getting bruised arses in the Landrover, climbing up hills and setting up shots quickly before the sun went in.


Q> What about the section at the end?

MP: That was the cheaty bit. We opened the old box of CGI magic tricks we keep for times of need. Photoreal shops and moving transport system throughout a thousand year-old tree were more than our prop making skills or budget would allow so we created all of that in CG. In fact the whole process can be seen in our making of film.


Q> Is this type of film a bit of a departure for you?

MP: Nope. Not a departure, just a little sidetrack. Whatever works best for the point of the film, we had the abilities and vision and SDNP were on board. All fell into place and we made the film I think they deserved, we’ll do more of this kind of thing, when the subject matter will benefit. It’s about being fair to the subject, in this case flexing our usual animation muscles was inappropriate/I had to think of something to get me out of the studio for a couple of days.

Category: Corporate and social , Environmental

Genre: Animation