We're seeing ever-more emphasis on using data as a raw material for creative projects at the moment - in everything from mash-ups to high-tech visualisations. In a new project for IBM, James Frost of Zoo Films (the man behind Radiohead's camera-free House of Cards promo) scanned the entire downtown area of Houston, Texas to underline the ever-increasing amount and importance of data in our lives.
Frost says: "When Ogilvy New York approached me with the concept for the spot, I was immediately interested as it was an opportunity to take everything I'd learned from the Radiohead House of Cards video I made and explore the different techniques possible with 3D scanning. The Radiohead project was showing data in its purest form - it had a distinctive look and feel and was very much exactly how I saw it for the song, where as with IBM we wanted build a world which was created from data and within this world show how data exists."
Working with VFX and post studio The Mill, Frost created a sequence that zooms between real-life scans of whole city districts -- created using Aerial LIDAR scanning technology -- to much more human-sized scenes, all with a distinctively digital, data-driven feel.
Frost explains: "The script called for very distinctive imagery so I wanted to explore doing something on a grander scale. Initially the idea was to scan the entire island of Manhattan, but for security reasons and ultimately creative reasons, the decision was made not to. We did however scan the entire downtown area of Houston, Texas. This had never been done before and we spent four days in the air scanning from a helicopter.
"In post production, we then worked very closely with Jeff Stevens and the team at The Mill, New York to add dimension and space within the environment. Ogilvy really wanted to convey the idea that our world is alive with data; so it became very important that we find a way to show this data in a colorful, vibrant and optimistic manner that would stay true to the voice of IBM."