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Turning Technical Scientific Data into Visual Bliss: Nutrafol x Sephora

January 31, 2023 by Jack in Behind The Scenes 0 comments
Turning Technical Scientific Data into Visual Bliss: Nutrafol x Sephora

We just launched our comprehensive product video library with Nutrafol for their new product partnership with Sephora. It was a mammoth project and we’re super proud of what we created to the extremely tight deliverable deadlines.

Vector Art Direction, Storyboards & Pre-Production

The first step was to develop and deliver storyboards that explored our intended concepts for Nutrafol’s product films as well as developing an animation style that would help explain complex scientific information in a very simple way that was simple, clean, and on brand.

RIOT x Nutrafol – Vector Art Designs For Animation

The timeline for this project was remarkably tight, with only six weeks for us to develop, create, produce, shoot, edit, post-produce, and animate ten product videos and two instructional films for the staff at Sephora to be quickly educated in the two product ranges Nutrafol were launching as part of their new Sephora partnership.

As such, storyboarding twelve films in advance was out of the question with only six weeks at our disposal. Instead, we developed an idea that involved us storyboarding one film from each of the product ranges and creating a variety of different element types that would appear in each film.

We got creative sign-off on each of these elements with the explicit understanding that the specific visuals would be changing for each film and would not be able to be approved in advance!

We split the product films into the following elements that would appear in every film we created:

  • Animated Logo Sting
  • Fullscreen Animated Kinetic Text
  • Scenic Product Hero Shot
  • Animated Logo Sting
  • Variety of Closeup Product Usage Shots
  • Animated Before & After Treatments
  • Animated Vector Science Information Section
  • Abstract Vector Hair Representations
  • Top down usage POV for each product
  • Vector supplement dosage visualization and effects
  • Flyover footage of natural ingredients in Petri dishes for each product
  • Animated Splitscreen of natural ingredients for each product
  • Animated Logo Sting
  • End Hero shot for each product being replaced back into the frame

Below you can see the two storyboards we created to help us get creative signify on the entire campaign.

RIOT x Nutrafol – Storyboard #1: Women’s Core

RIOT x Nutrafol – Storyboard #2: Strand Defender

Production, Set Design & Shooting

We shot this product series over an action-packed six days at our production studios. The shoot broke down as follows. One day pre-light, three products shot each day over a four-day period, one day where we shot all voiceovers and the to-camera conversations for both instructional films, and then lastly a full day of natural ingredients where we needed to get through ten different products!

As you can imagine, we needed to run the production on a very tight schedule. To ensure we could maximize our time we shot with three different RED cameras in both our cyclorama and a blacked-out daylight studio. We had a RED Komodo underslung on a Dana Dolly above our tabletops at all times to allow us to switch from product hero shots to POV usage in seconds.

Our main camera for all of the tabletop work was a RED Raptor and in our daylight studio we had our RED Ranger setup on a tripod to shoot a variety of different closeup shots of both product usage and models.

By switching between our two studios, we were able to jump between each setup and capture as much footage as we could with the smallest turnaround times possible. While one room was being prepared for a new scene, we were shooting with the models in the other studio.

We also expertly included time for hair and makeup work at key moments so that there was literally very little time in each day where we weren’t actually shooting something and being productive.

We also hired a BTS photographer and filmmaker to be a fly on the wall of the production and be a stop-gap to cover anything we might be missing, something that we have been doing on most recent shoots as it allows us to also shoot ourselves at work.


Post Production & Animation

The biggest challenge for this project came after production was completed. We were left with just about four weeks to create twelve edits with motion graphics, vector animations, subtitles, sound, and color being completed and approved for each with a very hard deliverable deadline of 12/16.

Over the course of our six day shoot we shot 16TB of footage which meant that working with the footage required us to either edit over the network or with 4 x 4TB drives plugged into your computer at all times. Due to the need for speed with our post-production we invested in some Blackmagic multi-dock hardware devices for all of our editors and animators to use at home so that we could work both at the studio and remotely. This purchasing decision proved imperative for the successful delivery of all assets on time.

Much like with the storyboards we focused on the same two films and fully completed these first (plus one training film). The idea was we wanted to get creative sign-off from Nutrafol for how each individual film type and element within them looked and felt. Once we had approval on each of these first films we had a solid foundation to be able to continue creating and working around the clock to create all the films in time.

Animation and editing happened concurrently and we developed a nice way of working where we completed VoiceOver audible cutdowns for each edit first so that our animators would have the final timing to animate to. Each of these audio edits were then filled in with pictures, motion graphics, and animations as they were completed.

Our creative agency delivered V1’s of two films every single day after initial approval. Luckily, Nutrafol were happy all the way through the process with our work with the only changes that were requested being for small errors or changes to the subtitle text.

Nutrafol x Sephora Vector Animated World

The vector animations needed a solid animation workflow that would allow us to create the vector art in Adobe Illustrator and then pass it back and forth between that and Adobe After Effects while keeping the files vector at all times. This ensured that if any last-minute change requests had come in that we would have been able to update the Adobe Illustrator art and send it back to After Effects and all of our compositions and pre-compositions would update accordingly.

After much research we ended up purchasing a dope plugin called Overlord. We cannot recommend this plugin enough and, if like us you need to keep elements vectorized throughout an entire animation workflow than overlord is most definitely the plugin you should get!

Overlord Plugin Info

Based on the brand guidelines and general feel of the brand, we hand-picked music to fit the films that was interesting enough that even if you watched all of the videos back to back it felt fresh on each listen. We music supervised two musical options, one for all of the product films and then one for the instructional films. This was then mixed with the voiceover edits and supplemented with sound effects and foley to help round out our sound design and the post-production as a whole. You can watch each of our final product edits on our portfolio page.


We opted to not include the BA Instructional films as part of the page as those films are internal only. As such we’re including them here for full visibility of everything we created for this project. Of note, we also shot grouped hero products specifically for these instructional films and we turned over our daylight studio from being the space we shot closeup product usage and portraiture to setting up a scene that feels like a chic Palm Springs interior.

We’ve embedded the versions with subtitles below to demonstrate our subtitle work also. We created a look and feel for the subtitles that were on brand for Nutrafol and all twelve films we created also have subtitle versions created for them also.

Nutrafol x Sephora: BA – Intro To Nutraceuticals w/ Subtitles

Nutrafol x Sephora: BA – Intro To Hair Care w/ Subtitles

We’re very excited about future collaborations with Nutrafol. Keep your eyes peeled on the RIOT site for more work as it drops in 2023!

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