Objective

The University of Leicester received funding from the Office for Students for a university-wide campaign to raise awareness of – and to tackle – sexual violence, hate crime and online harassment. The university’s Department of Criminology asked us to create a short animated film for The Centre of Hate Studies, as part of the campaign. The aim of the film was to help improve student experience by promoting a support network between peers.

As part of the brief, our animation needed a human feel. The first thing that sprung to mind was the classic music video for A-ha’s Take on Me, which used rotoscoping to create the distinctive hand-drawn animation style. With this in mind, we knew just who to call upon.

Sketch of young male looking out of a window

Initial sketch for the look and feel of the animation

Seed’s old friend and long-time collaborator Ed Harding was the animator we were keen to work with on the project: his style is most suited to our intended feel for the film. Ed, who is based in Berlin, responded to the brief with great enthusiasm and got to work, along with his co-animator, Herb Müller, developing the style and the storyboard.

Storyboard showing sketch of each scene of the animation

The storyboarding process

Once the storyboard was finalised, we packed up our kit and headed over to the university. Along with some of their students, our Academy’s YES Media students acted out the storyboard scenarios, and we shot video footage to use as a guide for the animation.

Man holding camera films group of young men sat around on chairs

Filming footage for the rotoscoping process

Ed and Herb then traced over our footage, frame by frame. Visually, we were getting there… next, onto the audio. We booked in a session with the guys over at HQ Recording.

Working with the script developed by Stevie, Neil and Harriet at UoL, we rounded up our actors: Owain Ford, Efaz Ahmed, Kahyeng Chai, and our very own Studio Director, Natalie Squance.

Voiceover complete, the last step was editing it all together – Creative Director Jon Prest worked his magic and produced the final film, with the help of some musical accompaniment by our talented pals, Leicester-born duo Demons of Ruby Mae.

 

Creative Director sipping a cup of coffee at his computer

The editing process

Outcome

The animation, entitled Standing Together, has been used across the university’s social channels, and will distributed around the student networks.

We’re so pleased with the finished short film; it has been refreshing to go back to a more classic style of animation. It was well-received by the university: we’ve received more work off the back of it, and hopefully we’ve done our bit to help their students have a happier time studying!

illustrated image of bar of soap in the foreground, with two men wearing towels leaving the door

A still from the animation

Illustration of young Asian girl nervously holding papers

A still from the animation

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