One World Explorer Productions recently tapped New York-based previz and digital content studio Napoleon to help create digital content and promotional videos for the One World Observatory’s “One World Explorer” iPad app.
The One World Explorer iPad allows users to go “beyond the view” with virtual helicopter tours of New York’s most iconic landmarks. Visitors to the One World Observatory will be able to scan the skyline with the iPad and links appear over 40-plus celebrated attractions – The Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Central Park, The High Line, Katz’s Delicatessen, The Apollo Theater, etc. Touching a link triggers a video featuring a helicopter flyover of the attraction and on-location footage accompanied by the narration of noted New York writer Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City.
Napoleon was involved from the conceptual stage. VP/senior creative director Ken Kresge had worked with the co-founders of One World Explorer Productions, Marty Wolff and Joel Baumwoll, on a similar but much smaller-scale project for the Empire State Building in 2008. In the fall of 2014, the pair approached Napoleon founder Marty Napoleon with the idea of collaborating on the One World Explorer iPad and asked to work with Kresge. Napoleon agreed and the two companies joined forces to pitch the product to Legends Attractions, operator of the One World Observatory, with Kresge creating the video prototype that secured the green light from Legends.
With Napoleon VP/sales Jane Carter managing the account and integrative producer Nancy Cannava managing the logistics of location shoots at 40-plus New York City landmarks, Kresge directed cinematographer J. Brian King on essential ground footage and cinematographer Evan Joseph on filming the points of interest from a helicopter that originated from One World Trade Center. As principal photography for each location was completed, Kresge collaborated with Wolff to edit the visuals – augmented by archival photography and footage researched by Napoleon – to the voiceover and music. Napoleon audio engineer Stephane Guyot supervised the voiceovers, which were written and recorded by author Jay McInerney in one of Napoleon’s two audio suites. Guyot also researched stock music and provided final editing, mixing and mastering.
With the videos complete, One World Explorer Productions managed their integration into the iPad application and presented it to the Legends Attractions team.
“The app just blew people away,” said Joel Baumwoll of One World Explorer Productions. “The photography, Jay’s narratives, the way the app functioned and looked, and the case, which spoke quality and excitement and reflected the One World Trade Center’s angles – all earned high praise.”
To promote the app, Baumwoll and Wolff turned to Napoleon and requested a digital short for display on the One World Observatory’s website as well as a point-of-purchase kiosk on the 102nd floor of the building (where the Explorer can be rented for $15). For the 1:22 short, Napoleon created 3D animation of the Observatory, views and visitors to demonstrate the Explorer’s “interactive sight and sound experience” and ultimately produced three versions: one with VO, one with title graphics and one that combines the two.
For Napoleon’s VP/Senior Creative Director Ken, the project was particularly gratifying.
“I feel like I’m part of something that’s bigger than me,” said Kresge. “As corny as it sounds, I’m really proud of being from New York and working on a project about New York, specifically one that’s so closely connected to 9/11. I finally feel like I had a chance to contribute. It’s the coolest, most historical project I’ve ever worked on and I’m grateful that Marty [Wolff] and Joel allowed me to have so much input from the very beginning.”