For the project, Northwestern Engineering picked the Mode Project team because we’re small enough to be nimble yet fully equipped, Delaney notes, “to bring it all” – design/animation, editorial and production.

The relationship was collaborative from the start. Mode and Northwestern Engineering proceeded as partners, sharing feedback without pushback throughout the process. Together, we decided to engage the audiences with a film that embraces the school’s world view. We wanted to appeal to those who welcome that complexity. We did not want to take a simpler route with a broader, less targeted appeal.

Mode created concepts reflecting a range of ideas and approaches from scripted voiceover to documentary storytelling. In the end, both partners agreed on a dynamic documentary style driven by real voices, unscripted.
Working with the school’s marketing team, Mode hit on an unconventional but sensible approach for creating the video: the cameras stayed behind. Instead, we started by gathering 20 hours of audio interviews with students and faculty whose perspectives reflected the spectrum of Northwestern’s particular “whole-brain engineering” mission.

The subjects were free to share their passions for discovery without the distraction of cameras. Mode edited and organized the audio quotes by subject to ensure all important points were covered, and then formed them into a storyline to guide the collection of visuals before the cameras rolled onsite. This strategy brought efficiency to the B-roll shoot.

The school contributed research imagery and the brand assets such as colors and fonts; Mode delivered style frames for animations and tone boards to convey the look and feel. Art and science came together. Mode packaged its in-house design, motion graphics, live-action and editorial capabilities in a hyperkinetic montage propelled by the enthusiastic affirmations of students and faculty.

To encourage views and shares, it clocks in at under 2 minutes.