Celebrating IBM Redbooks

By Sarah Woods

In Case Studies

With this clever short–we created a new campaign for IBM’s Redbooks.

Redbooks have been around for quite some time, but contrary to the name, they are no longer limited to actual books. Redbooks are technical how-to guides that are now available through their website, social media, and even mobile apps.

The project started with the Redbooks group (Todd Kelsey, Tara Woodman, and Martin Keen) approaching Digital Video Services. The Redbooks team wanted a brand video that was memorable, with an element of humor.  They referenced a spoof video IKEA did on apple products (check out the hilariousness here). DVS’s Creative Director, Steve Brooks, came to us near the end of last year. Superlux designer, Saif Khan, recalled that the video needed to be somewhat quirky and clever. As a team, we conceived numerous ideas for this original Redbooks project.

IBM Redbooks Engineer

From the IBM Redbooks video.

Superlux Creative Director, Mark Falls, suggested that the history of human communication was a good starting point for this video. Suddenly, many directions were imagined. Designer Stephen Delorme remembered an article he read as a child about an engineer who transformed archaic electronics into useful technology (think DIY projects that reconstruct old Sony products into salsa stations).

Saif then had the idea that the video could center around a novel intervention for someone using an actual book while the Redbook is available online (Just imagine: “You gotta’ put that down the book, man”). Our Art Director, Eric Carros, recalled, “it was a good project because our job was to come up with a wide variety of concepts.”

From IBM Redbooks

From IBM Redbooks

Near the end of the conceptualizing phase, an idea starring a forklift emerged as the front runner. The story was a playful scenario following the forklift as it shuttled a morphing RedBook through time.

The forklift became (not literally of course) a person sharing information through time, visiting distinct stages in human history where IBM inventions like FORTRAN, Basic Assembly Language and, yes, Redbooks, were first conceived-often centuries ahead of their time. The final idea was born!

In this video we show how human wonder has propelled the evolution of knowledge sharing. It begins with man’s creation of cave paintings, proceeds to a cheeky reference of the Gutenberg Press, and flashes forward to the potential of modern technology. Ultimately, our goal was to leave the viewer feeling as though IBM has been there, and will be there, for mankind every step of the way (with instructional guides no less! What more could we ask for?).

IBM Redbooks_Shoot_02

From IBM Redbooks

The various historic vignettes were shot with actors in front of a green screen. To begin this process we created storyboards, using photos of our actor (Superlux pal, Tom Rittenhouse) and placed him in an ever-evolving virtual environment. We teamed with Hadjo Media for production, generating a shot list and production boards for Hadjo director of photography and CEO, Rob Rogers, and his team. Footage of the actors informed the construction of each epigrammatic scene in post-production. Saif built 3D backgrounds for the actor to exist (and read Redbooks) in. Stephen composited the images, and Stephen and Saif worked hand in hand on the transitions from environment to environment (and century to century.)

From IBM Redbooks

From IBM Redbooks

The Redbooks team began teasing release of their new brand film prior to launch across social media platforms.  Since its debut, reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, with numerous mentions and likes. Redbooks are now positioned for a modern audience as the Heart of a New Machine.

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