Theil Ltd – a company that specialises in intruder detection systems asked for a short presentation to run at a high profile exhibition.
To promote Theil’s latest product – a CCTV system suitable for use in remote locations.
To create a 4 minute presentation for Theil’s attendance at the high profile Counter Terror Expo held at the Olympia Exhibition Centre in London. The aim of the presentation was to demonstrate and communicate the benefits of the Theil intruder detection system.
Although we built on the approach we’d taken for previous work of this nature, including business presentations for BASF and Selex Systems Integration, we started out by tailoring our approach for this brief.
It was important that Theil had plenty of opportunities to input to the process and feedback on the presentation. This took place throughout the development process, beginning with a face to face meeting where Theil explained their product to us, along with its unique benefits. Theil also provided us with an outline scenario for the presentation, based on a situation involving attempted cable theft at a remote utility site.
We then spent a week developing a storyboard to flesh out the scenario, and also identified our cast of characters and models, and created a 2D plan of the utility site.
On a project like this, it’s vital that our client has ample opportunity to review the presentation as it develops, particularly with such a technically focused product – it’s essential that the presentation accurately represents the product and its features and capabilities.
We kept in touch with Theil by email, phone and conference call, providing regular progress reports. As the work progressed we sent Theil rough cuts of the presentation for them to comment on and we then incorporated the feedback into the presentation. An example of this was adjusting the elements of the video which showed the beam of coverage of the detection system.
The timeframe for development of Theil’s presentation was constrained by the dates for the exhibition and frequent review points throughout the process were key to us meeting the deadline and the client’s expectations.
As the presentation required a 3D model of a utility site, a cast of characters anda set of 3D models of vehicles and props we decided to use three main pieces of software to build the presentation.
Strata Design 3D was used to develop the 3D model of the utility site – including buildings, fencing, landscape and the sky.
Poser Pro 2012 was selected for character animation and the 3D models which the characters interacted with (the police vehicle, intruder vehicles, and helicopter) and to create the internal scenes (CCTV and police communications centre).
As Poser has been around for many years, there is an extensive set of characters, models and other props which we were able to tailor, for example by creating specific texture maps of clothes (balaclavas for the intruders; uniforms for the police) and for the vehicles (a dog support livery for the police van; a police paint scheme for the helicopter). This allowed us to produce complex scenarios within a reasonable budget as we didn’t have to create everything ourselves from scratch.
As well as animating faces, Poser enabled us to make characters walk and run, and interact with props and models.
Blender (an open source tool for 3D creation) was used to create the special effects (using a particle effect to create sparks, for example) and the Blender Video Sequence Editor was used to edit and compile all the individual movie shots into the final presentation.
Following on from our initial meeting with Theil, we planned a four stage process to ensure successful delivery of the presentation.
Stage 1 – we developed the scenarios, created a full storyboard, selected the best software to build the presentation in, and detailed the production schedule in terms of scenes and shots from the storyboard. At this point we also identified what additional effects would be required – for example sparks flying as an intruder used an angle grinder to break into the site; and how less tangible benefits (such as the GSM communication) would be conveyed.
Stage 2 – the Mindfizz team commenced work on the shots and scenes, with a division of labour to ensure work on the 3D utility model in Strata occurred concurrently with the development of the characters, models and animations in Poser.
Stage 3 – as elements from Stage 2 were completed, we edited and compiled them in Blender to produce a rough cut of the presentation for Theil to review and feedback on.
Stage 4 – A final review and feedback process was incorporated prior to final delivery of the presentation to Theil.
The final presentation was four minutes long and was played at the Expo on a 50 inch HD screen, running from a laptop. It was also played as an introduction to the breakout meetings arranged at the exhibition for groups of potential buyers. After the exhibition, it was uploaded onto the Theil website and company staff are able to play it on their laptops during sales meetings with potential clients.