Here, Encina and John Robson, who served as associate creative director on the project, talk about Blind’s process for conceiving and creating the trailer.
How did Microsoft explain their vision for the Xbox One X trailer, and how did you boil down what came out of that first meeting to come up with concepts to show?
Encina: Craig McNary, director of global integrated marketing for Microsoft devices and studios, wanted it to be clear that they were launching something that went beyond industry standards. Focusing on specific aspects of the hardware was important, but so was capturing the emotional feeling of 4K gaming. When you think of hi-fidelity graphics, you think of lots of particles, detailed textures and high-end lighting. Trying to translate that drove a lot of the pixel threading concept we came up with.
Tell us more about pixel threading and the look you were going for.
Encina: The concept was that pixels burst out of the console’s core and weave tightly together into a rich 4K visual experience. Since a core component of the spot was featuring fine details, we started by researching a lot of ads for 4K TVs, including a Vizio spot that John Robson had previously worked on. To put a twist on that type of visual language, we also looked at unconventional references and we ended up being heavily influenced by Nike commercials where the knitted materials come together to form a shoe.
Once the agency and client saw what we were doing, they fell in love with the idea of threading digital pictures together so the next challenge was, ‘How do we animate this?’ We’d never done anything like this before, so we built a team that allowed us to test a range of techniques before we landed on something that we all loved. John thought we should use Houdini, so he brought in Yates Holley to help us define the animation technique.