By Robert Page, Post Production Manager IMX Studios

When Kenmore came to IMX to request a sleek and sexy video showcasing their innovative Ovation freestanding mixer, we knew it deserved exceptional treatment. Here’s how we created a two-minute video that literally takes you inside this revolutionary new product.

What We Did Differently

In a traditional product video, the tech process is fairly straightforward. You receive a sample of the product, shoot the video, then edit. While effective, this method can be limiting.

Instead, we started with computer-aided design (CAD) files. These are 3D files that are used in manufacturing and can be repurposed for stills and full-motion video. These files opened a virtual world for us without any physical limitations. Instead of a flat image, we could now manipulate any piece of the product in a three-dimensional plane, rotating and moving the pieces to show any angle we wanted.

We imported the 3D model into our software and were able to literally take the viewer through the pour-in top and into the mixer bowl to show the product from an entirely new and unexpected perspective.

Benefits

Using the CAD files and CGI, we created pre-visualization video to emulate the look of the fully produced sequences before ever going to the set for video. This was a huge money- and time-saving benefit.

We collaborated with the director to create the pre-vis, which allowed him creative freedom to experiment with lighting, timing and camera angles without incurring production costs on set. We were also able to use the pre-vis as a storyboard to help the crew get the look and feel of the concept before ever turning on a camera.

Finally, during editing, we had control of each part of the product and could add lighting and texture elements as needed to show a seamless integration of video and CGI and an absolutely perfect product.

Challenge + Solution

Rendering is by far the most time-consuming part of this process. This is the final stage of editing, when a computer takes all the information from the data source and uses it to produce and display an image without any perceivable lag.

Rendering 90 frames, which is about three seconds, takes three and a half days. To cut our time almost in half, we created a render farm where we linked 20 machines to do the work together continuously. Ultimately, this project took seven weeks to complete.

Future Applications

So far, we’ve used this process to create assets for Alfie, Serta and other projects. We also have plans to use it for fine jewelry, which will create a really exciting way to appreciate the artistry of a gemstone and the design of something like a bracelet or necklace.

Currently, we use this technique for objects that are manufactured, like appliances.

It is important to note that it is not yet appropriate for organic objects, like plants, food or even people, though we can merge the medium with traditional video and photography like we did with the Ovation mixer. We have to remember that this isn’t Star Wars. Our goal is to make sure our videos are not just realistic but also believable.