Behind the Scenes of the "Power of Scale"

I had an opportunity to see the work-in-progress for an awesome project (featured above) by EDF called “The Power of Scale.” The outcome of the project was a 90-second video. The video is about something that we should all be concerned about – energy and what we can do about it to save OUR world.

You can see the video and see the brilliance of thinking, design and delivery for yourself but before that, I wanted to get you “behind the scenes” of this project. Here is the story about how the story got developed in the words of Justin Evans of Stresslimitdesign.

We were approached by EDF earlier this year to make a short video that help introduce and popularize the concept of reducing pollution across corporate car fleets. After reviewing a ton of whitepapers, infosheets and case studies, we realized that at the core of this initiative was a simple story about  a quantity of little actions, that when put all together and applied across the huge number of fleet cars in America, would cause vast pollution reduction and huge money savings. Our visual research led us to Charle’s and Ray Eames Classic film “Powers of 10“. Repeated watching of this and other films of theirs helped us come up with a cool visual language, but also gave us the great central metaphor to tell EDF’s story as a story of  “power of scale”.

Once we had this central concept the idea of the story fell quickly into place:

1. Establish the idea from something that everyone is familiar with

Establish the idea from simple stories of scale that everyone can identify with– in this case how much faster it is to pick up trash when you are 50 people instead of one. We then decided to reinforce this with the great visual story of telling just how much energy can be saved when everyone in a city block turning off their lights at the same time.

2. What’s a Fleet?

Once we established the story of scale, it was time to tell the story of the fleets. Starting out, none of us even knew what a fleet was. A parking lot, and some cool timelapse photography gave us a great way to talk about what fleets are, and the simple things that they can do to save energy

3. The power of scale

Having established our protagonist, The fleet driver, we then introduce the story of scale– by using small matchbox cars to illustrate the huge number of cars there are, it becomes quickly apparent how these small actions taken by one driver in the parking lot can make a huge difference when everyone does them. EDF’s statistics and predictions come to life as our little cars drive in and out of configuration.

To make the message visually exciting we chose to shoot using a combination of Tilt-Shift photography; a technique when used with highly saturated and colorful images, makes landscapes and humans look like miniature models. Combined with the effect of time-lapse photography, time appears to fly by very rapidly. And finally we did a bit of stop motion animation using actual models! All the visuals were done using a Digital Single Lens Relex (DSLR) camera Tilt-Shift lens, and a traditional lens. Playing with the concept of models and scale became a great way to illustrate visually the central metaphor of the story we were telling.