What Next Media Animation Gets So Right

You’ve probably already seen at least one of their videos, you know the kind. If something gets the ‘crazy Taiwanese animation treatment’ it’s guaranteed that Next Media Animation (NMA) are the ones behind it. So the animation itself isn’t going to win any awards, but what does the company get so right that they might?

NMA screenshot

[box color=”blue” align=”center”]Are you receiving the only curated weekly newsletter of animation news and features? Sign up here![/box]

Courtesy of a report by NPR, we learn that New Media Animation (NMA) is engaged in the very serious business that is funny animation.

They Lock In Stories Early

While time is of the essence anyway, NMA clearly understand the importance of having the necessary elements in place before you start the expensive and time-consuming process of animating it all. They lock in their stories early before fine-tuning them. They don’t waste time animating something to see if it looks right; they trust themselves to plan and execute it correctly. You won’t see NMA throwing out a story after production has begun a la Pixar.

They Use Technology to Their Advantage

Although motion-capture (mo-cap) is under a dubious cloud when it comes to whether it is animation or not, it’s clear that for NMA, it’s advantage is the savings made in time. Traditional animation could take days or even weeks; a luxury that those in the news business don’t have. Instead, mo-cap permits a scene to be animated in a remarkably short space of time (we’ll detail below) while still retaining some semblance of quality.

They also maintain a library so that people, places and props can be simply pulled instead of being recreated again and again. Of course, when you’re dealing with news, the same things are bound to pop up over and over so it make sense to save stuff related to them for later.

The Focus is on Quality

It might sound strange to use the term ‘quality’ and ‘NMA’ in the same sentence but yes, they focus on quality too. Sure the animation is far from the best, but consider that they they are animating with the same quality in the space of a few hours what would have taken maybe a week just a few years ago.

They also realise that they have a certain level of brand awareness on the internet after their Tiger Woods video. Realising that and sticking to it gives them an adherence to a level of quality that is on par with Disney. They know what their audience expects and they make sure they give them the best they can.

They are Ruthlessly Efficient

Even I was quite surprised how quickly NMA will conceive, create and release a video. The entire process, from start to finish, takes 2 hours. Yes! Two hours to pick a news story, write a script, create the animation (here’s where the library really helps), record the music and voice over, and post it all to YouTube for instant consumption.

Now granted, we’re talking about just over minute, maybe a minute and bit of content. But to apply the same criteria to features, it ought to be possible to knock out a 90 minute feature in about 68 hours or a week and a half in the real world.

The Real Question

Would anyone watch a 90 minute film created by NMA? It could be a challenge, yet we might be very close to the time when their work is close to, or even superior to the quality of animation we’re used to in Toy Story. If people can see past the limitations in the animation in that film, maybe they’ll be able to see pas them in NMA’s animation too?

In the meantime, enjoy David OReilly’s collaboration with them from 2011 as proof that NAm is perfectly capable of art: