NextMedia ONLY took 2.5 hours to kick Conan's ass !

Conan O'Brien was right about one thing; the "Taiwanese Animation" team was quick on response. But how quick exactly? 48 hours was way off. But again, who would've known.

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Conan O'Brien was right about one thing; the "Taiwanese Animation" team was quick on response. But how quick exactly? 48 hours was way off. But again, who would've known.
Recently a short film titled “HTC versus Apple, an Epic Rivalry” was all over the net. It created huge buzz. The original story behind it was the competitions between big corps and their upheaval business decisions (suing each other to gain lead-time on product release, etc). This particular animation turned the whole story into a Kung-Fu movie. Wow, isn’t everything easier to understand when it’s told in Crouching-Tiger style? Inside will take you on a tour to the secret base where this beloved animation  (and many others) was produced.
First of all, some background check. Next Media Ltd.(NMA 壹傳媒)is known for transforming news stories into 3D animations. They create “Animated News”(動新聞). Animated News is like political cartoon comes alive. It covers a variety of topics, especially crime stories in news. Homicide, robbery, and sexual harassment; anything that the audience crave juicy footage. Animated News fills in the blanks. It had an very interesting cross-fire with Conan O’Brien a few months ago. Which is a rare, yet highly entertaining, incident in this social media age.
“This company in Taiwan they have 300 animators to work around the clock, that’s why they can turn this thing around in 48 hours. We have ONE.” -- Conan O’Brien
Well, Insiders found something amazing that totally overthrows Conan’s statement above. In fact, it didn’t need to take 48 hours to compose a strike-back. When things have to be handled in timely manner, it could take as little as 2.5 hours for NMA to create an animated reponse. Crazy stuff. (I couldn’t even wrap this blog up within 2.5 hours.) Exactly how they did it? Insiders dug out some cool stories; let us break it down for you.

1. News Team handles what stories to tell

Animation News was done by mainly two teams,  the Animation team and the News team (duh). When there were interesting stories in the news, the News team picked them out and started brainstorming. They would throw in imagination and humor as possible while striving to stay true to the fundamental idea of the story.

2. News Team creates the screenplay (5-10 mins)

The News team came up with a script, very quickly, and handed it to the Animation team. Both parties spent 5-10 minutes to double check the script.

3. Concept artists gets drawing (20 mins)

Then the concept artists spent around 20 minutes to complete initial drawings. That means within 30 minutes after the script was passed down, animation artists started their part of the job.

4. Board Reporting every hour (10 mins)

The most intensive time Insiders observed at NMA was “Board Reporting”. Every hour the entire team would gather in a meeting room to go over current work progress. This took less than 10 minutes, but it included film directors, actors, 3D model artists, editors, and etc. Project managers would update latest version of works. Participation in this meeting was crucial; for everybody had to voice up immediately if there’s anything didn't sound right. After the Board Reporting, the crew went straight back to work. Rumor has it that Animated News creates such a tough working environment that many new recruits won’t survive for long.

5. Motion Capturing Technology means serious business

We did not see this coming--a fully equipped Motion Capturing studio! No mention to these actors on site were trained professionally for this. They had 55 sensor-stickers on their outfit as they performed whatever the director requested. Everything’s done efficiently. During this short visit, the team had accomplished two separated scenes including dozens of cuts.

5.5. Meanwhile, let's check in with the 3D Model Artists...

When the actors were acting, 3D model artists picked out textures and materials for new animated characters. Everyone's busy at NMA, at all time.

6. Putting all visual and audio pieces together

Shortly, the animators received all components they need for the film. They quickly put everything together, as well as threw in extra spices such as explosion, smoke, or other special effects. Sound Effect team would add music and effects to the film.

7. Ding! Turkey's done!

After some editing work and QA time, the film is officially done. Usually it took around 2.5 hours for an animated news to complete.

8. Repeat steps 1 to 7

When one film was done the team immediately picked up another, rinse and repeat. One thing I forgot to mention--NMA had more than one team working on multiple projects simultaneously! They told Insiders that they could deliver up to 56 animated news per day. Impressive.