St. James's Place Wealth Management
The Approach to Investment Management
St. James’s Place is the UK’s largest local Wealth Manager offering financial services to individuals and their families.
They wanted to create unique visual communications around the value they add to clients’ lives across:
• Financial advice offered
• Investments & funds they provide access to
• Helping clients meet their financial objectives
This animation describes their approach to investment management. They offer multiple funds run by investment experts from all over the world and we were tasked to explain how & why St. James’s Place works with Partners for this expertise. We also had to demonstrate how they select, monitor and change fund managers as required; while sharing the work of their investment committee and the role of their consultants to help inform decisions.
We decided to develop a hybrid style of animation. By filming our client (the subject matter expert) first and using rotoscoping techniques (frame by frame tracing of the film footage) we gave the character movement a natural film quality.
This created a relaxed documentary style interview piece using hard cut camera framing techniques. This provides a human approach to the narrative while presenting the topic in a unique way.
The second component features shapes and graphics that aid the audience understanding by visualising more complex points using an infographic visual language we’ve developed for the St. James’s Place brand.
Audio Production & Lip Syncing
As mentioned previously, the decision to film our subject matter expert (Andy) on location at our studio was a fantastic way to gain quality reference footage, however, it meant there would be the potential for inferior audio quality due to the acoustics and other background noise interference.
To avoid this and ensure flawless audio quality, we decided to record Andy’s voiceover in a studio sound booth. We then used this audio during filming to attain similar timings while Andy talked through his lines.
Knowing that we would only be using the film footage as a guide for the animation, minor timing discrepancies between the audio and the lip-sync in the footage were ironed out during the animation process.
We built a lounge area in our studio to carry out the filming element of the piece. By not requiring pin-drop silence for the filming, it helped provide a more laid-back atmosphere which carried through into Andy’s performance to camera.
We ran through the script a few times and referenced it against the pacing of the studio-recorded audio to ensure it didn’t differ too greatly. Using two DSLR cameras allowed us to reference and pick different head to camera shots for use in the final animation.
The interview segments of the animation were created with a blend of techniques. Sometimes straightforward rotoscoping (drawing over the top of footage) can lead to an aesthetic that is hollow and appears machine-made rather than feeling organically animated and natural. In order to produce something that felt closer to natural movement, the footage was used more as a guide and the team added creative license to tweak the human gestures.
2D & 3D Animation
The graphical elements of the animation were created using both 2D & 3D animation. The principle was to compare the innovative processes of St. James’s Place (realised in 3D), with the rigid and dated systems of their competitors (realised in 2D). It was important that, although different, both facets fit well within the same animation, whilst also blending seamlessly with the interview elements. The colour palette, grain texture and angled lines utilised across all components helped to achieve this unique visual language for the brand.