I can’t even begin to explain my excitement for this BTS post. If you’re unfamiliar, Banza is a company that creates pasta that has higher protein, more fiber, and less carbs than your average pasta. I had personally never come across Banza before but honestly, who doesn’t love pasta. Of course that all changed when we actually got to work with their brand indirectly by photographing their packaging. Banza happens to be one of Packlane’s clients (which Packlane is one of ours) so during the holidays last year, the holiday brief we received included Banza’s holiday packaging.
Both Elle and I loved their branding and immediately included them on a “reach out” list for the future. After contacting them a few times this year, we were ecstatic to finally hear back with a potential project that included making a GIF for the release of a new pasta shape. It’s honestly been really cool to see how much work we have gotten just by reaching out through e-mail. Of course these kinds of e-mail responses don’t happen overnight. They take time, work, and a lot of determination. Most projects we get take months to even come into fruition but that’s all part of the game. By the way, if you’re interested in learning how we find and contact clients, you can read more about that here. It is a three part blog series so make sure you check out all posts.
Banza’s brief was quite simple. They needed a GIF that would tease viewers about the launch of their bowtie pasta. There were several concepts that we went back and forth on but because Banza already had an idea of what the copy would be for the Instagram post, we had to keep the concept directly related to the caption which was a little something like this: "We've got an exciting announcement tomorrow. We're getting butterflies just thinking about it. But for now, we've got to keep it wrapped up in a neat little bow.”
We finally decided on the concept of having a present being opened with butterflies coming out of it. Since we weren’t supposed to use the actual bow tie pasta, we figured the butterflies would be a great way to represent the shape of a bowtie. The box had a ribbon bow on top that was supposed to be untied in the animation to reveal the bowtie butterflies. We also came up with the concept of having one of the butterflies land on the edge of the box and slowly open and close its “wings.”
At first, Elle and I were both a little intimidated by how we were going to achieve all of this. We had been wanting to do more animated GIFs like this and while it may have seemed challenging at first, it all worked out in the end. All of our animations in the past had been really simple and this was the first GIF that had a lot more complicated movements like making the “wings” flap. We honestly didn’t know how we were going to do it but that certainly didn’t hold us back from going for it.
Of course, there were a few things we knew we needed to get in order to create this scene. Elle set out to make this box with pasta shapes all over it which she created using our Cricut (one of our best purchases ever lol.) She also created the bowtie butterflies in the style of origami using yellow scrapbook paper. The body and the antennas were made of clay which she baked in the oven. All pieces were assembled later with hot glue. Genius right? Elle took inspiration from several tutorials online and made it work for our set. (Elle is on vacation and we will link them for you when she gets back hehe!)
We also knew we were going to need some tools to help us keep things in place. We ordered several “helping hands,” and magnetic weighted bases from Amazon. If you’re unfamiliar with helping hands, they’re basically small adjustable jigs that help with soldiering or craft work. However, as photographers, we use them to keep props in place. They’re also way easier to remove in post production because they’re small and fairly thin. In this case, we used them to hold skewer sticks that we glued the butterflies onto. Using these during our shoot was life changing.
Once we were ready to go, we set up Capture One 12 on our laptop so that we could see what our scene was going to look like. We did a lot of testing in the beginning until we settled on the type of lighting we wanted for the animation. Once that was determined, we didn’t touch or move a single thing after that. We kept it pretty simple with one light to the side looking down from above and used a white card on the right hand side to bounce light back in. When it comes to creating GIFs, you have to be super mindful of what your lighting looks like and where things are placed in your scene because one small change can look really obvious in your final animation.
Creating the actual animation was really fun. There were so many shots as this was kind of a long GIF with the bow being untied, the box opening up, butterflies coming out, and lastly the butterfly landing and flapping its wings. Using our helping hands to move things around really helped the whole process. When we finally got to the part where we needed to flap the wings, we ended up using fishing line to “close” the wings at different levels by tying them around the butterfly.
The editing was also quite a process and took so much longer than the actual shoot. I took care of cleaning up the props and background of every shot we planned to include in the GIF, changed the colors to match Banza’s style guide, composited a few of the butterflies together in the scenes where they were flying out, and put all of the shots together using Timeline on Adobe Photoshop. Check out the final product below and let us know if you’ve ever encountered any challenges while making a GIF.
Is it the weekend yet?