Idea Blog

PICK OF THE WEEK: Fix Florida by Costa Sunglasses (Explainer Video)

Blake Harris 07.20.2016

Have you ever been to a place so beautiful that photos and videos simply don’t do it justice? Of course, we all have. And we’ve all thought: well, then I wish there was another way for me to express the magic I’ve just experienced. Oftentimes, our solution is through narrative. To tell a story that–through physical description and personal experience–can convey that elusive magic about a place.

Now imagine if you could somehow do that with story and animation. Or perhaps you don’t need to imagine, because that’s how it felt watching our PICK OF THE WEEK, “Fix Florida,” which impressively uses that sense of magic (and its loss over time) to bring attention to an environmental issue in an accessible and emotionally compelling way.

“Fix Florida” is presented by Costa, the stylish sunglass company. The explainer was produced by Giant Ant’s Liam Hogan, a graduate of the Vancouver Film School (where he studied classical animation). Giant Ant, who also directed the video, is a Vancouver-based creative studio that specializes in animation and documentary

Below, we’ll describe in detail some of the things we loved about this explainer but first, we thought it would be valuable to provide a few details about the situation this video is aiming to raise awareness about and the cause:

  • Three nationally vital estuaries are in long-term collapse due to the damming, diking and draining of the River of Grass.
  • The lack of fresh water flow through the Everglades makes Florida Bay, the largest contiguous seagrass meadow in the world and crown jewel of Everglades National Park and the Florida Keys, too salty.
  • The resulting salinity imbalances in all three estuaries cause seagrass die-offs, dangerous algal blooms, multi-year ecosystem collapse and economic hardship. Florida’s $9.7 billion fishing industry (129,000 jobs), $10.4 billion boating industry (83,000 jobs) and $89.1 billion tourism industry (1.1 million jobs) need healthy estuaries.

Without further ado, here’s our PICK OF THE WEEK…

Credits: 

  • Client: Costa Sunglasses
  • Agency: Giant Ant
  • Directed by Giant Ant
  • Producer: Liam Hogan
  • Creative Direction: Jay Grandin
  • Script: Jay Grandin & Cory Philpott
  • Art Direction & Illustration: Eric Pautz
  • Character Design: Rafael Mayani, Eric Pautz
  • Storyboards: Eric Pautz, Rafael Mayani, Jay Grandin
  • Character Animation Lead: Henrique Barone
  • Character Animation: Henrique Barone, Max Halley
  • 2D Animation & Compositing Lead: Conor Whelan
  • 2D Animation & Compositing: Conor Whelan, Shawn Hight, Max Halley, Nicholas Ferreira, Sander Van Dijk
  • 3D Animation: Nicholas Ferreira, Shawn Hight
  • Music & SFX: Ryland Haggis
  • Voice Over: Flip Pallot

3 Things We Loved About This Explainer Video:

1. No Cuts (No Gimmick)

One of the most remarkable things about Fix Florida is that the entire explainer video takes place in a single camera movement. Meaning there are no cuts: the video begins on a frame of once-upon-a-time-Florida and, like a platformer videogame, the whole story just unfolds by gradually moving to the right.

Typically (not just in animation, but any medium), when novel things like this are done they can often feel gimmick. Less like a creative decision that’s best for the story, and more of a move to get people talking. This, however, is not the case with Fix Florida, as this technique works beautifully with the narrative and message.

One reason is because the pacing creates a sense of tranquility. It’s a river-like feel that just seems to flow on and on.

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Another reason this approach works so well is that it helps support the “Before & After” aspect of the video’s message. How we’ve lost what once was and, slowly, we’ve now watched it transform before our very eyes.

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Lastly, this technique also invokes a level of credibility. Because we have just watched it all happen before our eyes–without any camera tricks or major incidents of blame–we’ve watched the thesis of this video come to life.

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2. Clever Uses of Text

One potential danger to Fix Florida‘s unique storytelling device would seem to be an inability to use on-screen text. Although used sparingly in most explainer videos, it is something that is often used to some degree.

Cleverly, Giant Ant is able to weave in aspects of text by building it in organically to the story.

Like this introduction of place…

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Like this description of a project…

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And like these examples of outrage/frustration…

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3. Transported to a Moment

This piece began by talking about how difficult it is to convey a genuine sense of place; a way to appropriately convey a sense of real-life magic to listeners (or viewers). One of the great ways that Giant Ant proves it possible to help re-create an approximation of that magic is by including small details that we probably wouldn’t even realize. But these little things really help paint that picture; not just of a place, but of what it’s like to be at that place.

Small details like this tiny ladybug in the ground…

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And these warm, make-you-squint sun-spots…

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To learn more about the situation in Florida and how you might be able to help, please visit: http://gladesdeclaration.org/

Blake Harris

Blake Harris

Blake Harris is the author of "Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation."
Blake Harris

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