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Great Inventors: Sir Frederick Banting – Insulin

Filed under: Festivals,Shorts,Spots — Betsy de Fries July 8, 2014 @ 1:00 pm

Often, in this age of celebrity worship, recognition of some of life’s true heroes goes unnoticed. This,¬†Saul Bass, inspired motion graphic short is part of a larger health initiative campaign focusing on some of those great inventors in science and medicine.

Dramatic, vibrant and striking, yet deceptively simple, the piece uses bold graphics, emphasized by a vivid color palette and direct messaging, to create a good, strong effective piece that succinctly tells the compelling story of surgeon, Frederick Banting and his determination to find a treatment for the life threatening disease, diabetes.

In 1920, working on a hunch, Banting made one of the greatest discoveries to benefit mankind ever – the correlation between diabetes and insulin.

Banting struggled to get his theory recognized and funded so that he could make, refine and demonstrate it’s effectiveness. He persevered, refusing to take no for an answer and lobbying for a laboratory and some simple supplies.

Working day and night with associate, Charles Best and research student, James Bertam Collip, Banting finally succeeded in distilling a treatment for a disease that remains incurable to this very day. Insulin is still the only treatment for diabetes, making the difference between life and death for millions of people worldwide.

In 1923 he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine, sharing his prize winnings with Best. In a great humanitarian gesture, Banting sold the rights for the patent to the University of Toronto for just one dollar, ensuring that insulin could forever more be available to anyone in need.

Gold Awards and more for Middlesex Hospital’s Missing Person

Filed under: Award Winner,Imagine,Spots — Betsy de Fries June 7, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

Created from just three still images, this latest spot for Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center is a tour de force of creative thinking coupled with incredibly skillful animation and effects.

Missing Person tells the story in first person of the tenacious courage of three amazing people, Kirk, Christine and Cemmy, and their individual fight to survive cancer with the help of Connecticut’s¬†Middlesex Hospital.

Creatively we opted for an ultra slow motion, weightless feel, so as to emphasize the sensitivity surrounding the subject and to capture the triumph of survival. Juxtapose this with fast moving, beautiful and innovative VFX used to illustrate the amazing power of the medical technology used to bring about this result.

Part of a continuing campaign, Missing Person, took top honors at the 2014 Advertising Club of Connecticut. The campaign swept no fewer than 8 gold awards. Later the same month the Connecticut Art Directors Club gave it their order of excellence Рa nice moment of recognition.

Created and animated in Adobe After Effects. VFX extras use Real Viz, Trap Code and Sapphire plug-ins.

LFC Transforms with a new Responsive Web Design

Filed under: Imagine,Photography,Publications,Shorts,Spots,Tech — Betsy de Fries May 22, 2014 @ 1:30 pm


AT LITTLE FLUFFY CLOUDS we change out our website a lot. Since our first one in 1996 we’ve crafted no less than 16 sites, always in tune, and sometimes ahead, of the prevailing technology. The aim should be to give anyone landing on your site the most optimal visual experience they can have. So, it should be good to look at, easy to navigate through and be as informative as you can make it.

LFC is a production and design studio so the way we profile our work differs from say an agency or a news portal. We made conscious choices in the design of our site to give preference to functionality over gimmickry. Not that some tricks aren’t fun, don’t get me wrong, it’s more that we want the user to have a specific experience and we want to direct that experience.

Our job is to create interesting and vibrant visual content and that‚Äôs what we give you, right up front. People want to be entertained yes, but in return for their participation they deserve a robust experience. The new responsive website was designed by creatives, Jerry van de Beek and Betsy de Fries and LFC’ creative director, Jerry van de Beek, programmed it himself. Here he talks about it.

My aim was to provide information in a streamlined fashion so it is easy to learn a lot about Little Fluffy Clouds work and the company with minimal interface interference ‚Äď all of which speeds things up for the mobile user.

Most web developers use pre-programmed templates as a jumping-off point for their sites. They also use pre-programmed plug-ins to add functionality to those templates. I decided against this because I wanted to have full control over the functionality and design. So I started with a blank slate, programming the entire interactive experience in JavaScript and HTML 5, and created my own template and plug-ins.  

The site is completely responsive meaning that the layout of the site, including the font size, adapts to the device it is viewed on. This is exciting as LFC’s new site can now be seen – without compromising resolution or content – on any mobile phone, any tablet, any computer and even on a video wall.

Now, go people and check out this thing at: www.littlefluffyclouds.com. It does a whole lot more than a cookie-cutter, off-the-shelf one and is optimized for all your devices. Those would be iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android and other European and Asian tablets and phones as well as your good old CPU. It works in Chrome, Safari, Fire Fox, Internet Explorer and Opera and probably any other exotic browser you care to name. Besides, it’s gorgeous looking and coded appropriately to maximize the strengths of each. Oh yes people, it is a thing of beauty indeed :¬į)

ZERO In and Let’s Go Places!

Filed under: Imagine,Spots — Betsy de Fries April 17, 2014 @ 10:43 am

Spring has sprung and tax day blues have turned to eco-green thoughts. So, now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of the party and get down to your Toyota dealer’s ZERO IN EVENT. Shake up your life, have some fun and help out the planet.

This zippy little special offer campaign of five spots on steroids was created in two weeks flat, made possible by the fun, creative and collaborative team effort between Little Fluffy Clouds and the agency of record.

The car was created and animated in Maya. The 3D camera data was exported to Adobe After Effects where all other elements were added as needed so as to be able to change the offers on a clicks notice.

Prius, it’s the Number One car line in California, so get a fantabulous deal on a Toyota Prius and Let’s Go Places!

A Note from a Judge about the MDSH Common Thread Campaign

Filed under: Award Winner,Festivals,Imagine,Spots — Betsy de Fries March 7, 2014 @ 5:00 pm

We’ve written before about the Middlesex Hospital, Common Thread, TV¬†spot. You’ve heard me talk about how¬†tradition embraces¬†modern technology and infuses¬†both with humanity. All of which is the essence and simple truth of this campaign.

Over the year,¬†since the ad first aired, the spot was entered into a number of Award Shows. One after another the spot and it’s online adjuncts won or placed each time. However, it’s¬†not often that you get to hear exactly what ¬†the judges think of¬†your work¬†but just this one time we did.

The quote here comes from Jason Carreiro, speaking for the judges of the 2013 Connecticut Art Directors Club Awards.

Hospital and healthcare advertising tends to be fairly predictable ‚ÄĒ smiling patients and doctors in pristine hospital rooms with a reassuring voice-over and a tasteful piano soundtrack. The Middlesex Hospital TV spot surprised me with it‚Äôs bold execution. The beautiful, high-contrast animation and swirling, vibrant colors have an immediate wow-factor that forces the viewer to sit up and take notice.

The campaign narrative, The Smarter Choice for Care, speaks to the fact that Middlesex Hospital does things differently ‚ÄĒ embracing new technologies and ways of thinking about medicine and patient care. The design execution supports that claim perfectly. The spot is a wonderful example of how a creative execution can really make a concept sing.

Common Thread took the Connecticut Art Directors Club, Judges Award plus three more Gold awards. Later that same year, Common Thread, took three Gold Awards at the Advertising Club of Connecticut and it was a finalist in the 2013 Global Awards. All of which made our hearts sing at a job well done.

Tweet your Love to Toyota #TrueStory and Let’s Go Places!

Filed under: Spots — Betsy de Fries January 15, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

You know how Toyota owners love their cars? Yes we do! Well Toyota fans everywhere often post to #TrueStory on Twitter to say why. So it seemed only right to give this love a wider audience and make a series of spots to show the world just how dedicated we are!

In, #TrueStory, a campaign made for the¬†newly minted, HL&P, we took these “tweets of love” and placed them in the center of our vision. Atop of these, text¬†thought bubbles, sit¬†tiny worlds made up of miniature sets showcasing the essence of this grass roots celebration.¬†Each vignette brings a riot of color and an ingenious mix of tangible materials with just a tad of whimsy on that same reality. Everything is playful, modern and fun. And better still these spots leap off the screen every time they play on the TV or the web.

Sometimes an entire campaign of spots is a lovely thing to do. You get to play out a theme in more ways than one. In, Toyota #TrueStory, we got to explore and blur the edges of reality across all these commercials.¬†These tiny worlds, based on¬†Toyota¬†owners’ tweets, make for a lively animated campaign indeed. So, text your love to, Toyota¬†#TrueStory, and Let’s Go Places!

Retin-A Micro – Exceedingly Good!

Filed under: Award Winner,Misc,Spots,Tech — Betsy de Fries November 5, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

Creating interesting imagery for complex medical applications is no easy task. There are strict FDA guidelines to adhere to, seemingly insurmountable regulations and a plethora of almost incomprehensible technical language to distill into copy that can be easily understood by your fellow human being – or as our copy writer would say: Exceedingly hard!

But it can be done if you’re lucky enough to find a client that believes in their product enough to allow it to stand out from the crowd. :”Let it be engaging and entertaining…” while getting the message across was the brief.

In, Retin-A, Microspheres, we take the viewer on a journey through a stylized creation of the product and illustrate, in a technical way, just how and why the product works. And it really does. Some things are magic and some things are just pure science at work.

Created as a video wall installation in Autodesk Maya, RETIN-A Micro, joins the Little Fluffy Clouds lexicon of award winners. The production received an Honorable Mention at the 2011 CLIO HEALTHCARE AWARDS and also captured an Award of Excellence at the 2012 RX CLUB AWARDS. So, we concur, Exceedingly Good!

LFC give Half a TED at the SF de Young Museum of Fine Arts

Filed under: Festivals,Misc,Spots,Tech — Betsy de Fries May 28, 2013 @ 3:37 pm


The creative directors of Little Fluffy Clouds, Jerry van de Beek and Betsy de Fries,¬†are pleased to be giving a half a TED talk at the San Francisco¬†de Young Fine Arts¬†Museum, as part of,¬†Micro-Presentations -¬†Orange Nights: Amsterdam and San Francisco. The talks, part of an on-going series exploring the connection between the two cities, take place¬†on¬†Friday, May 31st, 2013. ‚Ķ ¬†And we call it half a TED because it’s half the usual length of a regular TED talk.

Our talk, focusing on design and advertising,¬†features stills from more than 26 past LFC productions in a Power Point presentation (yes! PPT slides…) that we had to make for the event. ‚Ķ I guess in fine art museums the still image is de rigueur! We intend to dazzle the audience with some very fetching eye candy while they learn a little about production.

It’s just one part of the museum’s wonderful programing of late Friday night offerings. Tickets to the talks are available for free. Get them at the Koret Auditorium located within the museum anytime from 6pm onwards.

Along with us others on the same bill will talk about: City Bike Culture; Urban Sustainability; HIV research and The Hippie Movement and Changing Drug Culture. … We guess ours is the (little) Fluffy (clouds) part of the program.

For more info: http://deyoung.famsf.org/deyoung/calendar/micro-presentations-amsterdam-and-san-francisco

Middlesex Hospital where Tradition meets Technology

Filed under: Imagine,Spots — Betsy de Fries May 14, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

Tradition embraces¬†modern technology, infusing both with humanity. The simple truth of,¬†Common Thread, for Connecticut’s, Middlesex Hospital Group, a group so confident of their mandate they could step¬†outside the expected, both in the service they offer and the design they endorsed.

Hand drawn, tinted illustrations on aged textured paper is the foundation of Medicine. In centuries gone by and still today they are used with great success to explain new and breakthrough technologies in the Medical Sciences. These illustrations evoke a feeling of tradition, one that speaks also to the very best of doctor-patient relationships. And its these traditions that are symbolic of the human touch we all crave when being cared for at a time when we feel at our most vulnerable. In the modern world we also rely on the latest technology, placing our trust in the hands of state of the art equipment and expertly trained physicians, to eradicate all illnesses and to restore us to our healthy selves. This is the mission of a successful hospital group.

In, Common Thread, we seek to embody the very idea of tradition and humanity and weave it into the design style. To add the new with the tried and true and echo the message, creating the dynamic, appealing, all encompassing story of the Middlesex Hospital Group and how it can be the common thread between you and a healthful long life.

The camera takes us on an upward journey through a series of water color blooms and live action vignettes, where we move, both literally and metaphorically, from a medical treatment to connect, via the common thread, to a place of restored health, a place where a person can fully resume the enjoyment of life. It’s an elegant story with a very strong message supported by very powerful graphics.

You can see the :30 second commercial and its accompanying :15, together with the concurrent print campaign, on the east coast from April on.

Billy Collins Reads Animated Poetry for TED and NPR

Filed under: Award Winner,Festivals,Shorts,Spots — Betsy de Fries June 6, 2012 @ 11:36 am

Proud to have been a Poet Laureate, America’s most accessible poet,¬†Billy Collins, reads poems from his Nine Horses collection in this animated talk for TED – Every Day Moments Caught in Time. Using five of the twelve animated poems New York agency¬†JWT¬†commissioned for their client, Sundance Channel, as his backdrop, Mr. Collins strides the stage in his usual comfortable downhome way and charms the crowd to their feet with his wry suggestive tone.

When you get a poem [in a public place], it happens to you so suddenly that you don’t have time to deploy your anti-poetry deflector shields that were installed in high school. – Billy Collins: Everyday Moments, Caught in Time.

If you are even an occasional listener to NPR his is a voice you will recognize immediately and if you are not do yourself a favour Рwatch and listen to these poems Рand you will see why Billy Collins has been credited with the accolade of bringing poetry to the masses.

Although not one of those featured here, TODAY, was one of the twelve poems chosen by JWT to be animated. Unharnessed from the usual client restraint the agency gave full unfettered creative freedom to their appointed animation studios. We count ourselves fortunate to be amongst them.  In many ways the project was a watershed moment for us at Little Fluffy Clouds - it gave us the chance to do things differently Рsee for yourself.

Watch the entertaining Mr. Collins’ TED talk here: http://bit.ly/GW2C5m.¬†See all the animated poems in the line-up here: Billy Collins Action Poetry¬†and listen to NPR’s TED Radio Hour here:¬†http://n.pr/Npfer7. A treat for the ears, a feast for the eyes.


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