Previs: Edit 1 takes assets beyond the test stage

Posted By Michael Zimbard on July 06, 2015 01:57 pm | Permalink

In the world of test commercials, all components of a job were once considered "disposable." Today, with agencies and brands focused on smarter and more creative ways of working, companies like Edit 1, traditionally known for our animatic/previs work, are now being utilized as creative partners throughout the entire production process. The result has found our 15-year-old studio taking the 3D animation we created as part of a test commercial and bringing it to completion for the broadcast version.

Edit 1 was able to take its creative work to the next level for agency clients because of smart investments - in technology, talent and workflow efficiencies. These key areas allow us to compete with post houses that are much larger then ours.

One specific choice we made was to invest in an inertial motion  capture set-up from Xsens, which allows us to offer all the benefits of motion capture, but with the added flexibility of capturing performances literally anywhere. This technology has changed the way we work and our ability to offer clients more options and faster turnaround on their projects than ever imagined.

Because of the level of CGI and VFX technology and sophistication that we bring to test commercials, agencies and brands can leverage those assets well beyond the testing phase. This is especially true of animated demos, product shots and fully-animated spots. 

Rather than disposing of assets after testing, tremendous time and money can be saved by re-purposing them. Given how everyone is looking for ways to continue producing high-quality work at lower costs, leveraging all of the animated elements created for the animatic becomes a hugely-viable option.

Three recent projects we worked on perhaps best exemplify the evolving way our company is partnering with clients.

For Crayola, and agency McGarry Bowen, New York, product shots that were modeled during the pre-vis testing phase were developed  further  with additional complexity and  detail required  in a broadcast spot.

For Thermacare, produced with Grey Worldwide, New York, Edit 1 worked on a graphics-intensive :15 pre-vis spot that featured a distinct editorial pace and several pieces of stock footage that were intercut with the design. After receiving a high-test score, Grey entrusted us to refine the spot for broadcast and leverage much of what we had done previously, saving significant time and money. 

And agency Ferrara & Co, New York came to Edit 1 to create an animated gummy character and CGI world that appears in a spot for Vitafusion. During the previs process, our team collaborated with the agency on shot composition, story structure and pacing. The overall animation and environments were left more rudimentary at the time, but the agency and client loved the overall look and feel. With budget and time constraints pressuring the project, they decided to leverage our pre-vis work, enabling them to get the spot on-air in just three weeks, while also bring costs down significantly. 

While this is a growing trend at many agencies, to become more pervasive industry-wide will require changing the mindset that previs assets are "disposable." However, it's rewarding for us as a company to see how some clients are realizing the value of working collaboratively with one post house throughout the entire creative process.

Michael Zimbard is the President of NYC's Edit 1 (, which specializes in pre-visualization for global advertising agencies.