HVCB TV spots share 3-D Hawaii scenes on the mainland
FOOD Network junkies and viewers of other cable channels may have seen the latest Hawaii-promoting commercials, created for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau by its Honolulu-based ad agency, Milici Valenti Ng Pack Inc.
The two spots are visually stunning, with still pictures, seemingly tossed into the air by actors, freeze in a midair array and then transform into 3D images that viewers are lured through.
The process -- called three-dimensional animation of still photographs -- is very much on the cutting edge of television production.
Some may compare the look to the surreal, multilayered, bullets-whizzing-by scenes from "The Matrix."
"That came up in discussions," said George Chalekian, executive creative director at Milici. The technique also was used in the surf movie "Riding Giants."
That still photos are a central part of the contest the HVCB is promoting with the TV commercials presented a challenge for creation of the commercials.
"Using motion pictures, you don't want to do what's going to look like a Power Point presentation," said Chalekian. "It doesn't take advantage of the motion that the medium allows for, so this (3-D) technique gave us the best of both worlds, photographic technique and cinematic reality."
HAWAII VISITORS AND CONVENTION BUREAU
Actor Vince "Keala" Lucero is featured in a new Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau commercial titled, "Water." He is shown standing on Secret Island at Kualoa surrounded by still photographs that would-be Hawaii visitors can use to win a trip to the islands. A second commercial, featuring actress Mapuana Makia, is titled, "Fire." CLICK FOR LARGE
Milici engaged the services of Honolulu-based Kinetic Productions Inc.
to do the shooting, while Ring of Fire
, a California-based digital design and effects studio, was tapped to do the magic with the stills. Ring of Fire has worked on commercials for some of the biggest name brands for some of the largest ad agencies in the United States, as well as feature films and other projects.
The idea of depth in a photograph "is an illusion," Chalekian said.
"What we did ... was to guide your eye into the photo, so you can move from the foreground to the mid-ground to the background."
A scene was photographed from advancing perspectives and "technical wizardry" was applied in which bits and pieces of the photos were recomposited "so that you can create the illusion of moving through space, moving through depth," he said.
The commercials direct viewers to the pictures page of the HVCB Web site. There, people can enter a contest for a dream vacation to Hawaii by creating an online photo album of said dream vacation. Entries are being accepted through December.
The more than 8,000 snapshots entrants can choose from were submitted by Hawaii residents and are of "astounding quality," Chalekian said.
In its job of marketing Hawaii to North America, HVCB has focused on communicating three key aspects of the islands -- its natural beauty, the diversity of activities available year-round and the aloha spirit, which "is what differentiates Hawaii from any other visitor destination," said Jay Talwar, HVCB vice president of marketing.
"Everybody knows that Hawaii is just gorgeous and you can do a lot of things here, but the aloha spirit has been the hardest thing to communicate," he said. "So the line they came up with was, 'The people of Hawaii want to share their islands with you.' "
HVCB research indicates visitors want to experience what local people love to do, which inspired the bureau to invite Hawaii residents to send in pictures showing those activities. The photos extend the islands-sharing message.
The commercials are running on the Travel Channel, Fine Living, OLN and National Geographic in addition to Food Network, and air during specific programs to target desirable visitors, Talwar said.
Actress Mapuana Makia appears in the spot entitled, "Fire," where she is pictured atop Diamond Head. Actor Vince "Keala" Lucero is featured in the "Water" version, in which he is shown standing on Secret Island at Kualoa. Each did the announcer voice-over for the other's commercial.
Chalekian could not divulge production costs, but said it was no more than a normal spot and "it was significantly less than your average mainland commercial."
Online ads using the 3-D images and print ads also are planned, but this being the Internet age, the campaign also has a bit of viral, or word-of-mouth-by-click-of-mouse transmission, built into it.
No, it's not via YouTube.com, an online repository of all kinds of videos -- at least, not as of Friday afternoon.
"The viral element we have is built in to the gallery tour," said Talwar. The site allows album-builders to e-mail their albums to family and friends.
Not for nothin', the bureau knows the site is accessed "almost exclusively during work hours," Talwar chuckled.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com