- Wednesday, May. 20, 2015
On May 29, 2015, after 14 years in the making, One World Observatory atop the new One World Trade Center will open to the public, and Napoleon, the leading previz and digital content studio, will be there.
Occupying three floors—100, 101 and 102—One World Observatory will offer “unparalleled panoramic views of New York City and three floors filled with inspiration and innovation.” Among the innovations is the experience-enhancing One World Explorer iPad featuring original digital content produced by Napoleon for One World Explorer Productions.
The One World Explorer iPad allows users to go “beyond the view” with virtual helicopter tours of New York’s most iconic landmarks. Visitors to the One World Observatory scan the skyline with the iPad and links appear over 40-plus celebrated attractions: The Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Central Park, The High Line, Katz’s Delicatessen, The Apollo Theater, etc. Touching a link triggers a video featuring a helicopter flyover of the attraction and on-location footage accompanied by the insightful narration of noted New York writer Jay McInerney, author of “Bright Lights, Big City.”
Simply put, the One World Explorer iPad offers 40-plus reasons for visitors to love New York and 40-plus reasons for New Yorkers to love New York even more than they already do.
Napoleon was involved from the conceptual stage. VP/Senior Creative Director Ken Kresge had worked with the co-founders of One World Explorer Productions, Marty Wolff and Joel Baumwoll, on a similar but much smaller-scale project for the Empire State Building in 2008. In the fall of 2014, the pair approached Napoleon Founder Marty Napoleon with the idea of collaborating on the One World Explorer iPad and asked to work with Kresge. Napoleon agreed and the two companies joined forces to pitch the product to Legends Attractions, operator of the One World Observatory, with Kresge creating the video prototype that secured the green light from Legends.
The first order of business was to map out a plan coordinating the efforts of the companies and talent involved: One World Explorer Productions, project management; Haneke Design, application development; Louis Nelson Design and Bayer Materials, iPad case design; Tenaka, case fabrication; Evan Joseph, aerial video; J. Brian King; location video; and Napoleon, digital content production.
Then, with Napoleon VP/Sales Jane Carter managing the account and Integrative Producer Nancy Cannava managing the logistics of location shoots at 40-plus New York City landmarks, Kresge directed cinematographer J. Brian King on essential ground footage and cinematographer Evan Joseph on filming the points of interest from a helicopter that originated from One World Trade Center. As principal photography for each location was completed, Kresge collaborated with Marty Wolff to edit the visuals—augmented by archival photography and footage researched by Napoleon—to the VO and music. Napoleon audio engineer Stephane Guyot supervised the voice-overs, which were written and recorded by author Jay McInerney in one of Napoleon’s two audio suites. Guyot also researched stock music and provided final editing, mixing and mastering.
The resulting 40-plus videos—30–40-seconds each—strike an impressive balance, delivering just enough information to satisfy a curious mind while simultaneously inspiring further investigation. Tourists and New Yorkers alike will be fascinated by the scope and diversity of the city’s landmarks as well as the number of superlatives the city’s landscape encompasses:
►Governors Island was “the site of the oldest European settlement in New York.”
►The George Washington Bridge is “the busiest bridge in the world.”
►Lincoln Center is “the largest performing arts mecca in the world.”
►New York Stock Exchange is “the headquarters of the world’s largest securities market.”
►Queens is “the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world.”
With the videos complete, One World Explorer Productions managed their integration into the iPad application and custom-designed case and presented the One World Explorer iPad to the Legends Attractions team.
“The app just blew people away,” says Joel Baumwoll of One World Explorer Productions. “The photography, Jay’s narratives, the way the app functioned and looked, and the case, which spoke quality and excitement and reflected the One World Trade Center's angles—all earned high praise.”
To promote the Explorer, Baumwoll and Wolff once again turned to Napoleon and requested a digital short for display on the One World Observatory’s website as well as a point-of-purchase kiosk on the 102nd floor of One World Trade Center (where the Explorer can be rented for $15). For the 1:22 short, Napoleon created 3D animation of the Observatory, views and visitors to demonstrate the Explorer’s “interactive sight and sound experience” and ultimately produced three versions: one with VO, one with title graphics and one that combines the two.
To say that One World Explorer Productions was thrilled with Napoleon’s involvement would be an understatement.
“We hired Napoleon to produce the video,” says Baumwoll. “But we got so much more than we ever could have imagined. A personal touch, because Ken was so into it. There’s no line item for that in the budget.”
For Napoleon’s VP/Senior Creative Director Ken Kresge, the project was particularly gratifying.
“I feel like I’m part of something that’s bigger than me,” he says. “As corny as it sounds, I’m really proud of being from New York and working on a project about New York, specifically one that’s so closely connected to 9/11. I finally feel like I had a chance to contribute. It’s the coolest, most historical project I’ve ever worked on and I’m grateful that Marty [Wolff] and Joel allowed me to have so much input from the very beginning.”
On May 29, both the Explorer and the promo videos will put Napoleon on top of the world, even if One World Trade Center isn’t the tallest building on earth, “only” the tallest in the western hemisphere.
“Right now, at this moment in time, nothing is bigger than One World Trade Center and all it symbolizes—nothing,” says Napoleon Founder Marty Napoleon. “As a native New Yorker with a company headquartered here, I am beyond proud to be part of a tangible tribute to this city’s resolve and resilience and to celebrate everything that makes New York the capital of the world.”
A previz powerhouse since 1985, Napoleon (http://napoleongroup.com/) has not only endured, we’ve expanded, using our previz prowess as a springboard to a full portfolio of products and services that now includes art, audio, broadcast and digital/content. Thanks to a trait programmed into our DNA from the very beginning—the ability to adapt to meet advertising’s ever-changing needs—our longevity is unrivaled, our talent untouchable, our client list unparalleled and our facility incomparable.
Nothing sets Napoleon apart more than our New York City headquarters. In 2013, at a time when much of the industry was downsizing, Napoleon seized an opportunity for growth and, after 15 years in midtown Manhattan, moved to a custom-built facility in the city’s new nexus of creativity and technology, the vibrant Flatiron District. Gutting Kate Spade’s former offices, Napoleon created a one-of-a-kind, bi-level 14,450-square-foot contemporary office and production studio that makes our diverse capabilities clear.
The new project-centric space features a 12-camera Vicon Bonita motion-capture system, a spacious green-screen stage, stylishly efficient edit and audio suites and a sleekly modern kitchen that allows our peerless client services to shine, all seamlessly tied together with a state-of-the-art infrastructure. The studio boasts an open-air workspace for 50-plus creative directors, animators, editors, designers, illustrators, modelers, compositors, scripters, character artists, motion-graphics artists and producers, expressly designed to foster creative collaboration among staff and clients alike.
Savvy agencies and brands seeking peerless experience and expertise know there’s only one place to turn: Napoleon (http://napoleongroup.com).