Artificial Intelligence

Simplifying the Complex: IBM Watson Assistant

IBM Watson Assistant is a leader in the virtual assistant space; and its four main algorithms are its competitive edge.

Working with IBM News Creative Lead Andrew Lindemann, our goal was to produce an explainer video that was just as much about entertaining the audience as it was about educating them on Watson Assistant’s inner workings.

We wanted an engaging piece of content that was educational and gave value to the viewer. It could almost feel IBM agnostic and could have come from any source.

Andrew Lindemann, IBM Senior Video Editor and Creative Lead

An essential part of any project is the client relationship, but in a project like this, a collaborative creative process gave the final product a certain “Je ne sais quoi.” Animators Mikey Zoppo and Zan Gantt at Blue Team, our client Andrew Lindemann (who also animates, edits, writes and shoots video - WHAT!?) and creative director Spike Hoban formed a back and forth creative process throughout the project.

Ideas flew from all directions, just how we like it.

The perfect storm of people came together to create an immaculate execution of this concept. To me, it’s the perfect video.

Andrew Lindemann, IBM Senior Video Editor and Creative Lead

Considering the journalistic explainer nature of the video, the interview with leading chatbot expert Andrew Freed became the backbone of the video. He was our key to humanizing AI.

The interview played off the voiceover like a conversation between the two. This created a dialogue that made the explanation of the algorithms more human, more understandable.

Now, onto developing a visual style.

The chat bubbles were an important way to communicate the conversation between human and machine and, in turn, became an essential part of the design process. We asked many questions about what it should look like and why along the way.

After several iterations, the final chat design mimicked the classic fridge ‘word magnets’ that have become almost ubiquitous in society. It gave a human element to the words, yet referenced the bot aesthetic, turning into a style that also felt as much stop motion as it did digital animation. Again, the combination of hands on aesthetics with a digital touch.

We get excited about the little details that add up. The details matter.

Animator Zan Gantt

Another core part of this process was to make sure the visuals were on point with IBM’s ‘Let’s Create’ brand platform. In the chat window and other parts of the video, we experimented with forms, visuals and concepts for screens to push the design in new ways that created a stylistic, yet approachable aesthetic.

You can tell that a lot of thought went into the animation and explanations. Nothing extra on screen.

Andrew Lindemann, IBM Senior Video Editor and Creative Lead

In the end, we took a fine-tooth comb on final edit, getting rid of content that didn’t help the story and cutting superfluous parts that didn’t fit the thesis statement. That 45 minute interview was now a 3:42 video with a bunch of stylistic animation to boot.

Less is more for sure.

Myriad nailed the tone, direction and took initiative to make the story better at every phase of the project.

Andrew Lindemann, IBM Senior Video Editor and Creative Lead

Project Team

  • Producer - Casey Boone
  • DP for interview - Holt Menzes
  • Direction and Animation - Mikey & Zan - BlueTeam Design
  • Creative Director - Spike Hoban
  • Sound Design - Jon Churchill
  • Writer - Brent Edwards

17 May 2024