Spero – Breakdown

We recently released our latest project, Spero for Cancer, and we thought it would great to give you guys some background on the project and how we came about to working on it.


Spero is an app that helps cancer patients connect with each other, to talk about their experience, what they are going through, and even giving them the possibility to meet in person. Our good friend Charlie Bird approached us to work on this project, he directed and produced the video. Charlie had been given the task by the guys at Spero to come up with a film to showcase what the app did. He took the basic idea of showing the app being used by people in real life, and turned it into a beautiful narrative.

The film features two sides, the beginning is a bit more cold and raw, sort of showing the reality of cancer and its effect on people. This is shown is the slow motion shots, the duller grade, and the performance of the characters in the film. The second half of the film starts to lighten up and show the positivity of using the app, allowing people to connect with each other and reach out for help.

We were brought onto the project from day one and were on set for shoots to ensure the plates were ready for post production where we did most of our work. Charlie called upon us to help out on all the vfx shots needed for the video. Because the app had not been fully released yet, everyone in the video had to just react to blank screens on their mobile phones. We then had to go into post production and add in the actual app. The post production work was broken down into 3 steps;

  1. Tracking
  2. Rotoscoping
  3. Compositing

There was little bits of animations needed as well for all the wipes and typing text, along with the end card. This actually worked out to be a very tough task, the reflections on the phones, and depth of field made it very hard to get accurate tracking data. Therefore we used a third party plugin called Mocha to track all of our shots. Mocha is plane based tracking software, which is extremely powerful at 3d tracking, and is miles above anything you can get from the 3d tracker built into after effects. We have compiled a breakdown of a few shots in the video below.


With mocha, we used a variation of plane tracks to get the positioning of the screen first, then using corner pin data that you can export over to After Effects, we where able to get the right size for the mobile devices and perfectly cover the existing screens which were blank. We then had to rotoscope out fingers and hands out of the way, and put them back on top of the tracked on screens. Finally we had to grade and add fake depth of field to match the shots to make them feel really apart of the scene. What we really loved about this project was that it gave us the time to learn new skills, and actually use some cool tricks to accomplish our task.

Not to mention as well, there were no actors in the video. Charlie and the guys at Spero made sure it was as real as it could be. Therefore everyone you see, all the characters, are people who are really affected with cancer. This gave a real authentic feel to the video, and we think you can see that from the final product. The project was an amazing insight into people who suffer from cancer, being on shoot was an eye opener and actually talking to some of them was very interesting to hear their stories. Overall this was an amazing project to work on, and we most defiantly want to do many more charity projects this year. They truly give you a real purpose for creating, help actual people out with real life problems, and hopefully make the world that one step better.

You can check out the app and Spero’s website at www.speroforcancer.com

You should also check out our amazing director Charlie Bird at www.vimeo.com/user12508619

And not to forgot the very talented Nick Ward and his incredible camera work over at www.vimeo.com/nickwardfilm