Learning from normal work

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24 Oct 2023
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KCA Deutag wanted to recognise the fantastic learning opportunity everyday work offers. To kick-off its new initiative, it needed three message-centric videos that made employees sit up and take note.

Here, the Reuzer team zoom in on the fresh animation style they used to make the videos stand out.

With over 130 years of experience, KCA Deutag is one of the world’s leading drilling and engineering contractors, working onshore and offshore with a focus on safety, quality and operational performance. KCA Deutag operates approximately 110 drilling rigs in 20 countries, either directly or through affiliates, employing people in Africa, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, the Caspian Sea and Canada.


KCA Deutag’s exciting new safety initiative – Learning from Normal Work – is all about the important lessons events where nothing has happened can teach us. It might sound boring, but there’s lots to take away from focusing on things that have gone smoothly, rather than only waiting for incidents to happen.

Day-to-day lessons

To launch the initiative, the organisation wanted to roll out three short films over three weeks to grab their employees’ attention. Reuzer was asked to make all three: one that focused on tools, one on psychological safety – creating an environment where people feel safe to talk about things when they go wrong, and one about building capacity into the business for people to fail safely.

Conveying this message loud and clear meant including the voices of KCA Deutag’s senior leaders and making sure their messages really resonated with employees through the use of 3D animation.

Reuzer’s team spent two days filming with KCA Deutag’s senior leaders in Aberdeen, Scotland, capturing key messages as well as additional footage of their head office. With the footage edited into three 10-minute films, it was time to add some animation magic…

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Making more of messaging

“Our first step was watching the films and deciding where we thought animation could bring the talking head content to life and make it more engaging for the viewer,” explains Ed Suckling, Creative Team Lead at Reuzer. “We came up with a number of ideas for helping people visualise what was being talked about.”

Reuzer uses the Maxon software suite and Cinema 4D to create these eye-catching effects and had the freedom to experiment to find the right style. “From experience, we know what kind of style would work best for this,” said Nick Smith, Creative Media Designer at Reuzer. “We wanted it to be bold, but realistic enough that it still feels genuine.”


Styling it out

This project was a great opportunity for the team to try something new. “We wanted to combine live-action footage with 3D animation, which we hadn’t done before,” said Nick. “Some of the interviewees were sat in front of a desk with nothing on it. This gave us the idea to have 3D-animated objects appear on the desk and behind them.”

“One thing that really brought the animation to life was replicating the lighting in the live-action footage,” said Ed. “We also worked with KCA’s brand guidelines, using their colours and typefaces for a consistent feel.”

“KCA had a lot of confidence in us,” adds Nick, “We explained our ideas and showed them a short clip for feedback, and they were really happy.”

KCA LFNM_Mockup_03

And cut!

The choice to use 3D animation that interacted with live-action footage didn’t come without its challenges, Ed explained. “When we wanted to show stuff behind the interviewee, we had to cut them out – a process called rotoscoping. As the footage hadn’t been shot using a green screen, because we wanted to capture the real atmosphere of the office space, this meant cutting each interview out frame by frame. There are tools to help, but it took longer than we thought.”

All that effort was worth it, though. The finished films are like nothing you would typically see across safety critical industry training. The beautifully captured videography and bold animation brings a new level of interest and excitement to KCA’s important messages. And for the team, it was a great experience working on the project:

“It was exciting working on a style like this and seeing it come together,” said Ed. “Because of our longstanding relationship, KCA was open to our ideas, so we ran with it, and it turned out really great!”

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