Go Behind the Craft of Ciclope’s Post Production: Grand Prix winning project Facebook ‘Skate Nation Ghana’

We caught up with Mill ECD Dan Williams and Creative Director Carl Norton to delve into the craft behind Facebook's 'Skate Nation Ghana'. The spot, that recently picked up the Grand Prix award for Post Production at the 2021 Ciclope Awards was concepted by Droga 5, directed by Bafic, Elliot Powers, Justyna Obasi and Executively Produced by Daniel Wolfe.
Thought November 26, 2021

What was the brief from the Facebook and Droga5 ?

Dan: The brief was to tell the story of how the Skate Ghana crew came together and how through social media they were able to expand their group and show their exploits to the wider world. Both Lovesong and Droga5 were really focused on showing an authentic lens of the Ghanaian skate scene, so this meant the creative was always evolving as new scenes and characters were discovered.

Because Thom Glover (Group Creative Director at Droga5) was in Ghana with us, it meant that Elliott, Bafic and Justyna were able to quickly develop and sense check creative paths as they came up. There was no creative lag which can often occur on location and this meant Lovesong was able to shoot a wealth of relevant creative visuals.


How was this brought to life?

Dan: We wanted to throw everything at this spot to make a standout piece of work: traditional 2D animation, time-slice, drone, hand-held, mixed formats and killer transitions.

Bafic in particular has the ability to take traditional post techniques and subvert them to feel fresh and hip. Carl and the team in London took his lead and expertly blended and enhanced all the various approaches to create something unexpected.

Carl: The project wasn’t the heaviest in regards to traditional post-production, but there were loads of areas for us to work on. It’s refreshing to get projects like this where the brief stays fairly open. We worked on the bullet time sequences, combining various passes for some fairly abstract results.

We were dealing with various different formats that also needed bespoke treatment. We were running footage through DV for some of the sections for an authentic feeling for the period. For anyone familiar with skate films of that era, or DIY filming with friends, it screams skateboarding.

How did you find working with Droga5 and directors Bafic, Elliott Power, Justyna Obasi on this project?

Dan: There was such a good energy on set, which translated to the picture and made the whole process very collaborative. With Daniel Wolfe as such a heavyweight EP, he was able to bring the team together and encourage everyone to play to their respective strengths. It was a true collective experience.

It was interesting to see how Lovesong used the idea of a collective to their advantage. They always had two units running simultaneously (often in different locations with separate directors), whilst the third director would be prepping the next location and this meant that they were able to efficiently get a ton of great footage. It was a really nimble and effective process.

Carl: Although it was our first time working with Bafic and Justyna, we’ve worked with Elliot and Daniel loads in the past. It’s always a great experience, the projects present their own challenges and allow us room to have lots of creative input. It was especially exciting to be working on one of Lovesong’s very first projects, the beginning of something special.

Dan: It was decided pretty early on that we wanted to shoot as much of the phone UI interaction for real. The Mill worked very closely with the design team at Droga5 to develop all the phone screens pre-shoot and with Droga 5 Producer Leah Donnenberg in Ghana and Mill Executive Producer Clare Melia in London we were able to prep a myriad of phone scenarios. Shooting the screens for real, added another vital layer of authenticity to the spot.

Carl: Design also stayed heavily involved throughout the project, creating content for the memetic spread and overlays throughout. The flow of the graphic content throughout was really important to the storytelling. It was the device by which we travel through the film and coupled alongside camera moves that we added, allowed us to keep the momentum flowing. It created a feeling of the content building across the internet/social media and the buzz it generates.

You can get in touch with our VFX teams regarding your upcoming project here.