Ancestry.com has commissioned a film project commemorating the 150-year anniversary of the start of the US Civil War. A lyrical, moving and informative piece, presented alternately as a 4:00 long-form Web documentary, a :30, and a :15 spot, tells the true stories of three soldiers, set against a backdrop of sepia-tinted stills, historical footage and documents culled from millions of records.
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
The Civil War project was developed at Ancestry.com by creative director Shawn Perkins, associate creative director/art director Joe Marciniak, associate creative director/copywriter Elizabeth Asdoria, producer Lisa Stewart.
Animation was produced at Blind, Los Angeles, by creative director/designer Tom Koh, executive producer David Kleinman, producer Shannon Kors, art director/3D animator Lawrence Wyatt, editors Sean U’Ren and Carsten Becker, assistant editor Lin Wilde, lead animator Jason Kim, 3D animators Christian Argueta and Aekachai Kietchalermporn, 2D animators Joe Todoran, Daniel Chang, Kate Mrozowski and Sora Park, matte painters Eric Urquhart, Kevin Shin, designer Steve Pacheco, rotoscope artists Sora Park, Kate Mrozowski, Kevin Shin.
Sound design and music were produced at Glue Audio, Los Angeles, by composer Sean Holt and Hugh Barton. Audio post production was done at Eleven by engineer Scott Burns.
Although Koh and his team were given complete access to the extensive Ancestry.com archive of documents and photographs, pulling the film together presented a significant challenge as the records didn’t include an abundance of artifacts specific to the three featured soldiers. Consequently, the team spent much of the initial time figuring out creative techniques to use animation and visual effects to tell these stories through any images and photographs they could find, even if those images were not specific to those three soldiers. In the end, the team used a mixture of public domain material from the U.S. Library of Congress and other images to supplement the site material from Ancestry.com. “They came to us with a wide range of material, which we used to help direct them on how it could all be used to captivate the viewer,” said Koh.
See Blind’s site for more on the making of the project.