Pen Underwriting A Day in the Life in Pen City

In a competitive industry, Pen wanted to answer the question: What makes us different? But words alone were not enough for this project. Instead, the brief was to create a visual representation of how Pen operates on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, what better way to do that than with LEGO?

Pen sought after something that interactively detailed the different areas of insurance they offer – something which was in line with the LEGO City design created for their stand at a recent BIBA exhibition.

And so began the creation of LEGO mockumentary, A Day in the Life in Pen City.

Bringing the LEGO to life

Our strategy was to create a video that gave a new perspective on how Pen underwriters operate and the level of expertise existing in the company.

Thinkbda worked closely with Pen to scope ideas, produce a storyboard and develop a script for the 3.48-minute film.

There were multiple elements to consider – we relocated and rebuilt the original LEGO city, setup cameras and blue screened as much of the city as possible for the background removal – before we were ready to begin the animation process.

Lights, camera, animate

The animation was shot using a Canon 5D camera which we linked to a MacBook running specialist industry software, Dragonframe, for stop-animation. Used by the likes of DreamWorks animation studio and Ardman (creators of Wallace and Gromit), the software takes control of the camera through the laptop and allows us to build the stop-motion in layers so we can see what scenes have been shot and how the frames link together.

We shot the video in 12 frames per second, positioning the LEGO figures for one frame at a time – a lengthy procedure that had amazing results.

The shoot was carried out over one week with a few additional trips to the Pen office in London’s Lombard Street to capture a few more scenes and correct footage. In total, the video took one month to make.

The result?

After editing, rendering, some SFX and great graphics, we had turned a team of plastic yellow toys into charismatic figures representing some of the best-known and most respected underwriters in the UK.