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Dancing Diablo Creates The Earth in Six Days, Putting A New Spin On The Planet In A Charming Animated Spot
Capstrat Calls Upon Dancing Diablo's Signature Style To Create A Captivating Brand Spot For The University of North Carolina

DMN Newswire--2010-2-28-- Recently, Dancing Diablo was given a week to create the earth - as well as an eclectic galaxy of animated iconic elements that interact with it - for a :30 national brand spot for The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and marketing agency Capstrat entitled "Minds On A Mission."

The DUMBO-based creative house, best known for its high-end animation, utilized its full roster of services to bring their fresh, innovative signature style to the project: Founder/director Beatriz Ramos headed up the production, Dancing Diablo's animation and visual effects department designed and fabricated the myriad of props and created the captivating stop-motion and computer generated effects, and the company's postproduction division edited and finished the project. The boutique's one-stop approach enabled it to bring the spot's creative vision from concept to fruition efficiently and cost-effectively.

 "Our goal was to create a spot that was distinctly different from other colleges" campaigns," notes Capstrat producer, Anson Burtch.  "Although we didn't have a specific style in mind, we knew that we wanted a look that infused reality with a magical quality. Dancing Diablo's stop-motion animation work had that quality. After meeting with Beatriz and discussing the project, we were confident that her company had the talent and one-stop capabilities needed to craft a spot that would bring our vision to life."



Ramos notes, "Anson didn't want a slick, high-tech spot with fast cuts," notes Ramos.  "He wanted the pace and look of the commercial to engage viewers give them the time to contemplate its message. Dancing Diablo expanded on his concept, using traditional stop motion animation to create a memorable brand spot that leaves viewers wanting to know more."

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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a top-tier institution with a diverse curriculum that offers students unique learning and problem-solving opportunities around the world. To convey UNC's commitment to global awareness, the agency used a globe as the centerpiece of its concept. The orb, fabricated out of cardboard and organic materials, provides the visual centerpiece for the spot as a variety of objects, each one literally representing one of the university's areas of study, interact with it.  

The commercial opens as a pair of hands holding a camera enter the frame, clicking off photographs which instantly printout, soaring towards the handcrafted replica of the earth. The images in the photos transition into free-floating objects that then interact with the globe.


Each animated element represents an actual event executed by University faculty and students - from the innovation of a functioning solar panel system, to an archeological expedition on the Greek island of Crete.

A combination of stop-motion animation and CGI were used to bring elements - such as a stethoscope, a saxophone, a pulsating heart, archeological tools, artifacts, DNA strands and a solar panel - to life. Details, such as floating particles of matter released from DNA strands, dust coming off of an ancient ceramic figure, and lighting effects add yet another dimension to the visuals.  

The Animation/VFX team crafted the miniaturized realistic elements, manipulating and compositing them to create a whimsical look, which provides a transitional bridge to the organic style of the globe. Adam Pierce animated the spot. Artist Nathalia fabricated the globe with an irregular texture that gave it the desired handmade quality, while Seth Mittag lent his artistry to the fabrication of some of the props. Dancing Diablo's director of postproduction, Jos" Antonio Ojea then composited all of the elements on After Effects, added the background and edited the spot on After Effects.

As the various objects interact with the globe, the voiceover brings home the commercial's message: "There are all kinds of people at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, each with big ideas for the world: Some want to cure, others to find'some to invent, protect, inspire or solve. At Carolina, we love a good challenge. And this planet is a big one. So keep an eye on our ideas. We see great potential, world. UNC-Chapel Hill. Minds on a mission."  

Dancing Diablo's production department employs the same approach for animation projects as it does for the many live action jobs it has shot and produced.   For this spot, Ramos directed the animation, bringing her expertise as both an artist and animator to the task.  

Michael Eder produced the spot for Dancing Diablo, meeting the challenge of creating a cost-effective approach that didn' compromise on its production values.  

"This was a complex spot," notes Eder. "A big challenge was creating a schedule that allowed the workflow to be seamless so that the talent working with the many handmade elements during the various phases of production could do so efficiently, without stepping on each others toes."

"Dancing Diablo put their distinctive mark on this project, and really helped create a brand spot that stands out in the higher education arena," notes Burtch. "The client loved the spot, which was screened at a recent faculty meeting where it received a round of applause. The student also appreciated the funky, unconventional spot, which has also creating quite a buzz on campus."

"Capstrat is a great agency to work with. They knew what they wanted and are great communicators and collaborators," notes Ramos.  "And they trusted and deferred to us to make the best creative choices."

While Dancing Diablo is best known for its high-end animation and design services, a growing number of advertising agencies are calling upon the firm's expertise in production, editing and CGI, and reaping the benefits of a full-services approach that allows its various departments to efficiently bring their concepts to fruition.

Dancing Diablo is a creative company skilled in every aspect of the process--from concept, production, design, animation, visual FX and CGI to editorial and postproduction, and can take the reins of the entire project or any phase of the production. Its world-class teams of artists share a commitment to maximizing the effectiveness of commercials with an innovative and evocative approach to translating their messages into compelling visual imagery.  

A recent move doubling Dancing Diablo's space has facilitated the expansion of its corporate infrastructure with multi-disciplined division and full-service approach that provides the expertise needed to create unique and distinctive brands and them across all platforms.

  For additional information Dancing Diablo's NY studio can be reached at 718.243.0103, or visit Beatriz Ramos can be contacted at

  Wast Coast & Mid West Rep Laura Zinn (212 741.0909,  West Coast & Texas Reps, Finn   & Saxon's Rachel Finn and Mary Saxon (318 317 44 49, and 415 290 6500,, respectively.)


   AD AGENCY:   Capstrat / Raleigh, NC: Producer: Anson Burtch, Creative Director: Lindsey Bennett, Art Director:  Scott Ballew, Copywriter: Jennifer Totten


Director: Beatriz Ramos, Producer: Michael Eder, Animator: Adam Pierce, Fabricators: Nathalia Murray, Seth Mittag



Director of Post Production: Jos Antonio Ojea, Postproduction producer: Marjoury Portal


MUSIC: Artist: Minnutes   Song: "Just Three Words"

AUDIO:  Capstrat/Raleigh  (Recorded VO and mixed it to the track in-house) 

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