OPEN HOUSE: BLUE ROOM
NEW YORK - Back in 2002, Blue Room (www.blueroomnyc.com) president/CEO Chris Gargani and his partners, creative director Brian Aumueller and editorial director Dave Gargani, founded their creative services agency with a buck and a dream.
In the intervening years, the company has grown from a one-room operation in Queens to an expansive loft in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. Their new workspace is extremely versatile — private studios and offices ringing the perimeter; an open creative bullpen serves as home to their team of designers, animators and producers; and a glass-enclosed creative think tank, with numerous comfy chairs and televisions, but no conference table, provides space to gather and brainstorm.
Blue Room delivers design, motion graphics and production solutions. From concept development to final delivery, all of the resources are available in-house, including animation, visual effects, live-action production, script writing, editorial, and an in-depth understanding of branding strategies. The company has built identities, creating branding solutions and high-profile campaigns for clients such as ABC, Animal Planet, Fuse, History, IFC, Planet Green, RCN and truTV.
The success of Blue Room is derived from the individual strengths of the three partners. In addition to being responsible for day-to-day operations and new business initiatives, Chris Gargani manages client budgets, timeline, deliverables and client expectations. Aumueller is the creative alchemist and sound designer behind every project. He steers the efforts of the team as they generate ideas, explore concepts and deliver material. And Dave Gargani is responsible for managing Blue Room’s three edit suites, maintaining the company’s infrastructure, researching and implementing new technology, and producing live-action shoots.
Blue Room has three networked editors — two Final Cut HDs and one Avid Adrenaline HD — connected by an EditShare solution. EditShare also supports 20 graphic workstations running Adobe After Effects. The facility has an audio room, equipped with Digidesign Pro Tools, a green cyclorama for graphics and VFX shoots, a kitchen and client space.
Blue Room had a great year, creating a number of highly-visible projects, one being a topical graphics promotion package and toolkit for ESPN’s College Basketball. It was done in HD and used extensively throughout the season.
Animal Planet’s Whale Wars documents the battle between Japanese whalers and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to end whaling on the far side of the world. Blue Room created promos shooting everything in HD with a Red camera at 100fps, which allowed them to add drama and urgency to the promos with slo-mo and hyper speed ramps. Each opens on the deck of a whaling boat and follows the harpoon tip as it swivels, locks on its prey and fires.
For Disney/ABC Domestic Television’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Blue Room updated the show packaging and game play graphics, providing a new but totally integrated graphic look. Millionaire recently showcased several format updates, including a clock on the questions and two new lifelines: “Ask The Expert,” via a face-to-face Skype video call, and “Double Dip,” which enables a contestant to take two guesses on any question. Also new is “Millionaire Menu,” which reveals the categories of the 15 questions that they will face in the hot seat.
Blue Room collaborated on the year-long refresh of The History Channel brand, including an update of the network’s name change to simply “History.” The Blue Room graphics and design team refreshed History’s visual identity, and their design work extended across the entire portfolio of History brands.
And for the third year, Blue Room created a viral campaign — “NFL Fantasy Files” — for NFL.com and Reebok, designed to drive traffic to the NFL.com site. The studio lensed and created VFX for a quartet of spots in which NFL players demonstrate seemingly impossible feats of athletic prowess in an effort to be chosen by fans for their NFL fantasy teams.
In addition to their broadcast and commercial work, Blue Room recently extended its reach into the independent feature film arena. Monsters From the Id, directed and edited by Dave Gargani, and produced by Blue Room, weaves the intersecting themes of over 30 classic Sci-Fi films in order to relate the untold story of the rise of the modern scientist and his role in inspiring a nation. The film explores the psychological and cultural impact of 1950’s Sci-Fi cinema in America and asks, “Where is scientific inspiration found today?”
The film is currently making the rounds of the festival circuit.