Tag Archives: Brand New School

Digging Deep: Helping launch the OnePlus 3T phone

By Jonathan Notaro

It’s always a big deal when a company drops a new smartphone. The years of planning and development culminate in a single moment, and the consumers are left to judge whether or not the new device is worthy of praise and — more importantly — worthy of purchase.

For bigger companies like Google and Apple, a misstep with a new phone release can often amount to nothing more than a hiccup in their operations. But for newer upstarts like OnePlus, it’s a make or break event. When we got the call at Brand New School to develop a launch spot for the company’s 3T smartphone, along with the agency Carrot Creative, we didn’t hesitate to dive in.

The Idea
OnePlus has built a solid foundation of loyal fans with their past releases, but with the 3T they saw the chance to build their fanbase out to more everyday consumers who may not be as tech-obsessed as their existing fans. It is an entirely new offering and, as creatives, the chance to present such a technologically advanced device to a new, wider audience was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.

Carrot wanted to create something for OnePlus that gave viewers a unique sense of what the phone was capable of — to capture the energy, momentum and human element of the OnePlus 3T. The 3T is meant to be an extension of its owner, so this spot was designed to explore the parallels between man and machine. Doing this can run the risk of being cliché, so we opted for futuristic, abstract imagery that gets the point across effectively without being too heavy handed. We focused on representing the phone’s features that set it apart from other devices in this market, such as its powerful processor and its memory and storage capabilities.

How We Did It
Inspired by the brooding, alluring mood reflected in the design for the title sequence of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, we set out to meld lavish shots of the OnePlus 3T with robotically-infused human anatomy, drawing up initial designs in Autodesk Maya and Maxon Cinema 4D.

When the project moved into the animation phase, we stuck with Maya and used Nuke for compositing. Type designs were done in Adobe Illustrator and animated in Adobe After Effects.

Collaboration is always a concern when there are this many different scenes and moving parts, but this was a particular challenge. With a CG-heavy production like this, there’s no room for error, so we had to make sure that all of the different artists were on the same page every step along the way.

Our CG supervisor Russ Wootton and technical director Dan Bradham led the way and compiled a crack team to make this thing happen. I may be biased, but they continue to amaze me with what they can accomplish.

The Final Product
The project was two-month production process. Along the way, we found that working with Carrot and the brand was a breath of fresh air, as they were very knowledgeable and amenable to what we had in mind. They afforded us the creative space to take a few risks and explore some more abstract, avant-garde imagery that I felt represented what they were looking to achieve with this project.

In the end, we created something that I hope cuts through the crowded landscape of product videos and appeals to both the brand’s diehard-tech-savvy following and consumers who may not be as deep into that world. (Check it out here.)

Fueled by the goal of conveying the underlying message of “raw power” while balancing the scales of artificial and human elements, we created something I believe is beautiful, compelling and completely unique. Ultimately though, the biggest highlight was seeing the positive reaction the piece received when it was released. Normally, reaction from consumers would be centered solely on the product, but to have the video receive praise from a very discerning audience was truly satisfying.


Jonathan Notaro is a director at Brand New School, a bicoastal studio that provides VFX, animation and branding. 

Director/CD Chris Dooley enrolls at Brand New School

Chris Dooley has joined Brand New School as director/creative director. He joins this bi-coastal integrated production company from National TV, a design and animation studio he co-founded. Prior to that, he helped launch the US division of the UK production company Not To Scale.

Dooley has directed campaigns for Coca-Cola, Nike, Volvo, British Airways and Amex. His recent projects include an animated and interactive film for Martini announcing its partnership with Formula 1, the launch video introducing the Virgin Hotels brand and UnitedHealthcare’s “Health in Numbers” campaign.

Outside the advertising space, Dooley has directed music videos, including Naturally and A Year Without Rain for Selena Gomez, Neon Lights for Demi Lovato and Land of a Thousand Words for the Scissor Sisters.

He has lectured at the AIGA Y16 Conference, AIGA Move 3 Conference, 3×3 lecture series, served on the D&AD jury and taught Advanced Typography at Art Center College of Design.

Nellie Chung joins Brand New School as VP of strategy/biz dev

Brand New School, which specializes in animation, live-action spots and branded content, VFX, branding, digital projects and apps, has hired Nellie Chung as VP of strategy and business development.

Previously she was VP of client solutions at broadcast communications and digital production company Synaptic Digital. Chung was also part of the teams at Magnet Media, Vidicom, Nielsen and Encompass Media.

Brand New School recently created a philanthropic interactive installation for long-time Boston Marathon sponsor Poland Spring that included two video walls with motivating messages as well as an interactive fundraising effort. Other examples of their client offerings include an animated Times Square digital takeover for Oreo, and a commercial for Knob Creek.