So I've got this really complicated idea...

Forced Perspective

It's Way Harder Than It Sounds.

Startups are awesome. They hate to hear the word “no.” Every time I meet with a startup I inevitably walk away with that scene from Apollo 13 playing in my mind. You know the one:

The astronauts are perilously trapped in their own spaceship, but they don’t have a way to filter the CO2 out of their oxygen supply – which is quickly dwindling.

So, the geniuses at NASA gather up all the miscellaneous items our stranded astronauts have at their disposal thousands of miles away. A guy walks in with the actual air filter and says:

“All right… we gotta make THIS fit into THIS using only THESE.”

Dead silence in the room.

And that’s how it can be sometimes with startups. You only have a limited budget, with limited resources, and a limited window to launch your product – or you die. Just like Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon in Apollo 13.

So, when the Whiteboard guys approached us at Signal Factory and explained their situation, we saw it as an opportunity to “make THIS out of THIS using only THESE.”

With a limited budget, only two available shooting days, and mountain of ideas, we set out trying to develop a creative way to show a project start to finish and how Whiteboard can manage that workflow across the board.

I’d been playing with some really cool concepts in Cinema 4D about how to make disparate objects come together and make logo resolves. Immediately, I knew this was a perfect match for Whiteboard. However, I wanted to shoot it practically – not animated it in 3D.

So we rounded up some of the coolest and smartest people we knew and put them to work on figuring out the math – lens distortion, distance to camera, angles, amperage and length of fishing line needed (you know, the usual).

A few days – and lots of starts and stops later – we had a fully functioning, forced perspective, practical Whiteboard logo. Beautiful.

Oh. And we totally would have saved Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon.

One last thing: We totally did this before those OK GO and Apple jerks produced similar videos. Ok, yeah. They were pretty cool, too.

You're Welcome

It's Just Too Good Not to Share

It's been a long couple of weeks for the Signal boys...

A video posted by Signal Factory (@signalfactory) on

Final Thoughts

It Takes A Good Team to Pull off Something Like This

Creative Direction:
Jonathan Gates

Logo & Fabrication:
Tim Paslay
Jeremy Gassman

Director of Photography:
Kyle Stauffer

Everyone at Signal Factory plus everyone at Whiteboard.