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Since Facebook first announced Friends Day in 2015, they have generated millions of unique videos for connected Facebook friends around the world. Dynamic content brings personalized social media to an unprecedented level of visual engagement. At their core, Facebook’s personalized videos marry traditional film production with the digital medium of personal, user-generated content. Chapeau was at the forefront of helping Facebook create this process.
Facebook had a vision to use the video medium to highlight connections between users. They would create high-quality short films, populated by personalized, user-generated content, to elevate users’ experience on the platform. It was an ask at a potential scale into the billions. What does it take to create unique videos for millions (or billions) of users? The scope of the ask only became clear over time, as Chapeau’s technical artists worked with Facebook engineers to create what became a new form of video rendering, which Chapeau and Facebook called Dynamic Compositing.
The videos began as an experience focusing mainly on the most visible content type on the platform: user images. The creative ask at the time was to populate user-generated photos into a short film format. Facebook wanted to use high-resolution, high-design, practically-shot live footage to achieve an organic, material quality in their films that is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to convey using purely CGI video techniques. Through a collaborative development process, Chapeau determined that we’d need find a way to create a simplified data output from a streamlined base video project file. Developing a simplified data output from a complex video project became the core challenge our technical artists would solve.
Over the course of the next several video concepts, additional dynamic content types became entwined with story, which continually presented unique challenges to an already complicated workflow. Chapeau was able to bridge creative and technical disciplines, iterating with Facebook engineers to identify and build a high-end, 3-layer compositing process designed to render quickly while maintaining Facebook’s high production standards. Less layers means smaller files and faster turnaround to more individual users. Essentially, smaller file sizes enable more sharing; sharing builds community, which is what Facebook is all about.
It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Chapeau.
Chapeau is a nimble, gimlet-eyed end to end production through post company, with a core expertise in visual effects. Chapeau loves thinking of new ways for video to engage users, and the technical and creative partnerships they develop with clients inspire every collaborator to do their best work.
Founders Ben Looram and Karuna Venter lead a multi-disciplinary studio of visual specialists – compositors, animators, designers, producers, editors and directors - who are committed to testing and pushing the technical and creative limitations of the visual challenges they accept. The company was formed to supply integrated production and visual effects services, workflow, personnel, and systems to clients who want in-house expertise, either to grow an existing capability, or to create a new capability through Chapeau’s creative expansion services.
Chapeau delivers the highest-caliber work for clients, offering every traditional post-production and visual effects service that other companies offer, including editorial, color, finishing, animation, design, and CG, in a deeply collaborative and customized model. They also specialize in offering visualization services during pre-production, like storyboarding and visual proofs-of-concept, as well as director and DP support via visual-effects supervision and pre-visualization services, all of which can be brought to pre-production or directly to set.
Chapeau’s visual curiosity expands into realms previously occupied by coders, UX designers, and engineers. In collaboration with technology partners, Chapeau has pioneered generative video experiences, creating fun, elegant, personalized video content for users. They are excited about the future of augmented reality, and are committed to pushing the existing technical boundaries of video content.
Chapeau believes the future of creative video work requires both creative and technical iteration, and want to do their part to make the world a better, smarter, more joyful place.