hisense blog 01.1

Just completed a short product video advert for the Sero 5 Smartphone from Hisense – a multinational electronics manufacturer from China. In China they are huge, in fact they’re the forth largest manufacturer of Televisions in the world. But in the UK and Europe, they’re relatively unheard of as yet. So it’s been quite exciting to have made two product videos for Hisense (the first was for 65inch HD display monitor) as they dive into the European market.

When we received the Sero 5 smartphone, we were instantly impressed by the quality of the product. The Sero 5 is beautifully sleek, and we wanted to find a way of portraying that in the video we were to produce. As we really wanted to show off the elegance of the phones body, we didn’t want to use lifestyle shots of someone holding the device. Instead, we wanted to show the Sero 5 from all angles, in a clear, yet aesthetically pleasing style.

The two options were; setting up a studio and filming the product, and the other option was creating a 3D model of the phone and animating it. We decided to do both, but started with creating the 3D model by scratch. Although the graceful shape of the Sero 5 is sleek and simple, getting each curve of the corners perfect took a bit more time then expected. Cinema 4D is a great piece of software and makes it very easy to move around the model you’re creating, and use measurements to reproduce the product to perfect scale. It also allows you to control lights and reflections in materials, so you can get it close to looking like real life. As it was important that the video looked as close to real life as possible, the render settings were quite demanding and we ended up doing quite a few overnight renders!

But whilst we were working on the 3D animation of the phone, we also began with filming the Sero 5 smartphone in out studio. As soon as we began attempting to get interesting shots of the phone, we instantly began to feel quite restricted in the kind of shots we could get, especially compared to what we could achieve in Cinema 4D. Although we could use our lights and filters to get some nice effects, we didn’t have the same range of control as we could artificially in 3D. Also, in Cinema 4D, there was no limit to how close we could zoom into the details on the Sero 5 model, which is one of the things we really wanted to achieve in this project.

We soon decided to just use CGI recreations, and discarded the idea of using filmed footage. Although experimenting in Cinema 4D took a fairly large lump of time, it was really important that we got the lighting and the reflections on the glass looking right. We especially enjoyed recreating the inside of the phone, and using the glass materials to create the 5 optic lenses on the phones camera. One thing that we did try was using Cinema 4D’s sophisticated camera settings to create that shallow depth of field look that we all love! Although it could achieve some really beautiful effects, the renders would take far too long to create a whole animation. And so we decided that as we were to bring the rendered files in Adobe After Effects for further post-production anyway, that we would emulate the shallow depth of field look with simple masks and Gaussian blur effects.

One feature in Cinema 4D that decided to stick with though, despite increasing the render time, was the Greyscalegorilla Light Kit Pro. Using the OverHead Spotbox provided in the Light Kit Pro, along with a few spotlights, we got some really nice subtle reflections and shadows. Sophisticated, ultra-modern and luxurious were the aesthetics we were aiming for, and the control of the lights and shadows helped us to achieve this.

After tweaking and adjusting many settings until it looked right, we brought the rendered files into Adobe After Effects. Here we added motion-graphics, some blurring to give that shallow depth of field aesthetic, and a bit of stylizing using Magic Bullet Looks. These adjustments, along with stylish, subtle music, and an elegant voice over, makes this a successful product video.