In the world of test commercials, all components of a job were once considered “disposable.” Today, with agencies and brands focused on smarter and more creative ways of working, companies like Edit 1, traditionally known for their animatic/pre-vis work, are now being utilized as creative partners throughout the entire production process.  The result has found the 15-year old studio taking the 3D animation created as part of a test commercial and bringing it to completion for the broadcast version.

Michael Zimbard, President of Edit 1, notes how three recent projects for agencies McGarry Bowen, Grey Worldwide and Ferrara & Co have unfolded that way.

“While most agencies and their clients are still in the traditional mindset of production in which every service is segmented, the emerging trend is the integration of services,” Zimbard says. “We are seeing a real increase in the number of agencies and brands embracing a more efficient way of re-using the assets that have been created for them.”

Growing Trend
That trend has come about for a number of reasons, chief among them of course is shrinking budgets but, says Zimbard, it’s also a combination of a greater understanding about the fundamentals of CG animation and how it’s created, coupled with a greater investment in talent and technology by studios like Edit 1.

“The level of CGI and VFX technology sophistication we bring to test commercials means agencies and brands can leverage those assets well beyond the testing phase,” Zimbard explains. “This is especially true of animated demos, product shots and fully animated spots. Rather than disposing of the assets after testing, tremendous time and money can be saved by re-purposing them. Given how everyone is looking for ways to continue producing high quality work at lower costs, leveraging all of the animated elements created for the animatic becomes a hugely viable option.”

Real World Examples
Three recent projects Edit 1 worked on perhaps best exemplify the evolving way the company is partnering with their agency clients.

For Crayola, agency McGarry Bowen, New York, previously captured all of the end product shots on-set during production, but that decision affected an already tight shooting schedule, making altering the layout in post more challenging. Instead, Edit 1 took the same products they modeled during the pre-vis testing phase, and added the complexity and detail required for a broadcast spot. 

For a recent spot for Thermacare, produced with Grey Worldwide, New York, Edit 1 worked on a graphics-intensive :15 pre-vis spot that featured a distinct editorial pace and several pieces of stock footage that were intercut with the design. After receiving a high-test score, Grey entrusted Edit 1 to refine the spot for broadcast, and was able to leverage much of what they had done previously, saving significant time and money. Edit 1 Design Director Erica Jaffin, who had already worked on the project during the pre-vis phase and had a strong sense of what the client was looking for in the broadcast version, aided the process.

Agency Ferrara & Co, New York came to Edit 1 to create an animated gummy character and CGI world seen in a spot for Vitafusion. During the pre-vis process, the Edit 1 team collaborated with the agency on shot composition, story structure and pacing. The overall animation and environments were left more rudimentary at the time, but the agency and client loved the overall look and feel. With budget and time constraints pressuring the project, the agency decided to leverage the work Edit 1 had previously done, enabling them to get the spot on air in just three weeks, while also bring costs down significantly.

Changing The Mindset
Executive Producer Mike Donovan notes while this is a growing trend among many of their agency clients, to become more pervasive industry wide will require changing the mindset among many at agencies and brands who view pre-vis assets as “disposable.”

“It is rewarding to see how clients that already come to Edit 1 for our highly-regarded pre-vis production, are now realizing the value of moving forward collaboratively with the creative team they know and trust during the broadcast phase,” Donovan says.

About Edit1
Edit 1 specializes in pre-visualization for global advertising agencies. For more info go to or contact EP Michael Donovan at via email here.