October 29, 2014

How the Makers of 'Factory293' Designed a Kickass Poster for Their Film

Factory293 Short Film Poster
An eye-catching and thoughtfully-designed poster is a critical piece of any film's marketing strategy.

Factory293, an extremely ambitious and well-made short film that we featured earlier in the month -- alongside some incredibly entertaining BTS content -- just so happens to have an awesome poster that beautifully encapsulates all of the film's primary characters, settings, and themes. What's even better is that the designers of the poster, Henry Whitehead and Simon Boxer, put together a comprehensive series of Photoshop tutorials detailing every step of the design process.

First up, here's Factory293 in its entirety, just in case you missed it the first time around.

https://vimeo.com/92579604

And here's the official poster for Factory293, which Henry and Simon will discuss in the tutorials below.

Factory293 Short Film Poster

Now on to how this poster was designed. Here's Henry Whitehead with a tutorial on bringing disparate elements from the film together in order to create a unified visual concept:

https://vimeo.com/93438485

And here's Simon Boxer, who finished up the poster by adding the unique painted look to the composite that Whitehead had made.

https://vimeo.com/93438434

Ultimately, the poster for Factory293 is a bit more visually complex than many movie posters out there, but it's both evocative and extremely effective at conveying just about everything that a potential viewer would want to know about the film before viewing it, including the title, tagline, primary characters, setting, genre, and even some of the thematic overtones. Getting all of that information into a concise visual statement like a movie poster is no small feat, and Henry and Simon pulled it off brilliantly.

In a future post, we'll take a look at one more tutorial from Factory293 that details how some of the subtle visual effects came to life.     

Your Comment

21 Comments

brilliant !!

October 29, 2014 at 2:55PM

9
Reply
avatar
Arjun Kukreti
Cinematographer/Editor
140

I missed this short the first time it was posted. After watching it, I not only want to give up because it seems so much better than anything I am doing right now - I also want to go out and shoot more!

October 29, 2014 at 3:21PM, Edited October 29, 3:21PM

4
Reply
avatar
Alex Smith
Documentary/Cinematographer
1297

Can we spotlight other shorts? What's the angle here? They pay for double coverage or something?

October 29, 2014 at 8:07PM

2
Reply

The Factory293 team produced loads of high quality supplementary and educational content that is worth sharing with our community of independent filmmakers, most of whom come here to learn more about the filmmaking process. Nobody pays us for double coverage (or single coverage, for that matter) of their short film.

October 29, 2014 at 8:54PM

8
Reply
avatar
Robert Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom
4814

It just seems odd that I don't see many other shorts getting any love on NFS. There are tons of BTS stuff I've seen around the web, yet I get slammed with the same short a second time. Is diversity such a hard thing to ask for?

October 29, 2014 at 10:14PM

0
Reply

Regularly sharing short films isn't really within our purview, though. There are plenty of sites that feature shorts on a daily or weekly basis, but ours isn't one of them.

I shared this film again because it's relevant to the educational content that follows. Designing a poster is one thing, but viewing the poster within the context of the film that it's based on is a far more useful educational experience.

October 29, 2014 at 10:38PM

8
Reply
avatar
Robert Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom
4814

Ramez, if you can come up with something as educational as this, please post it!

The group behind this movie did exactly what everybody here is trying to do: create premium work on a limited budget. They showed everything they did, from the crowd funding campaign video and early camera/VFX tests, to scouting, building sets, virtual and VFX, to shooting to post, all in extensive behind the scenes video, so good it's educational. Then they showed how they made the movie poster.

The group did the same with its first movie, Trigger, which NFS did not cover. There too, they included excellent behind the scenes video.
http://vimeo.com/33390344
http://vimeo.com/33707719

November 1, 2014 at 7:10AM

5
Reply
Charlie K
1341

I don't understand why a technical achievement in Photoshop is considered as a kickass poster. In my opinion this poster looks very much alike anything else you see besides the fact it "looks" illustrated. Which in my opinion doesn't capture the feel of the film. Moreover it guides you away from it and romanticizes it. Crucial to a good poster is a moment of the film captured within the poster. For example have a look at American Beauty and The Shawshank Redemption.

October 29, 2014 at 11:18PM

14
Reply
avatar
Niels De Vries
Co-Founder & Producer at Radicle Animation
86

There are a lot of theories as to what constitutes a good movie poster. Taking an intriguing still frame from the film is a good one, but it doesn't work for every film or every genre because the moment you choose has to be simple and visually definitive of the film itself. More often than not, it's much easier and more effective to design something from scratch.

With this one, making the photos look illustrated was instrumental to achieving the visual style of a Soviet propaganda poster, most of which feature stoic characters that are illustrated or painted in some way. Granted, this isn't a perfect poster, but I definitely think that it's effective at communicating what it needs to with a style that is appropriate for the genre of film that it's advertising.

October 30, 2014 at 12:44AM

0
Reply
avatar
Robert Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom
4814

I agree. I remember when I saw this poster a few weeks ago, my first thought was “Wow, that looks pretty interesting, I wonder what this film is.”

October 30, 2014 at 3:56AM

0
Reply
avatar
Ryan Toyota
Graphic Designer / Typographer / Video Editor
1114

Robert is right, it's quite obvious that they are going for the Propaganda look... My problem with it is that it looks way to photoshoped, which of course propaganda posters wasn't/isn't. They also usually are muuuuch more minimalistic and usually only have three different colors.

I don't really like it, but that said.. It isn't all that bad :)

October 30, 2014 at 4:30AM

10
Reply
avatar
Viktor Ragnemar
Director/Cinematographer
926

Nice... I love digital painting.

October 30, 2014 at 7:34AM, Edited October 30, 7:34AM

0
Reply
avatar
Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7769

If you want to see a truly inspirational talk on creating movie posters, check out the seminar that Tomasz Opasinski gave at Sigrapph 2014. It's incredible and you'll learn a lot :)

https://vimeo.com/104457965

October 30, 2014 at 10:59AM, Edited October 30, 10:59AM

1
Reply

I hope nobody minds, but I'm posting a link to a poster I did for a 48HFP short film from awhile back. Although one could debate the quality and effectiveness of the poster, I think it conveys the overall concept of the film (superhero group therapy) fairly clearly. If the link isn't appropriate here, let me know and I'll see what I can do to delete it.

http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMTgzOTY0MTg2NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNz...

October 30, 2014 at 4:01PM

0
Reply

What brush is he using again? I don't know if he said the name.

October 30, 2014 at 5:10PM

3
Reply
avatar
Geraldin Pena
Director/CG artist
106

What brush is he using again? I don't know if he said the name.

October 30, 2014 at 5:10PM, Edited October 30, 5:10PM

2
Reply
avatar
Geraldin Pena
Director/CG artist
106

I find the comments to be somewhat accusatory rather than constructive, if something falls outside of the scope of being your cup of tea that is fine. There is no need to knock someones hard work and achievement. Artistic license takes precedent(so don't compare them to other works). If you wish to be showcased and featured, then make something worth showcasing and featuring. A short film success for one is a success for our whole community.

October 31, 2014 at 2:56AM

0
Reply

If you think these are harsh, avoid the inane comments on the first post about the movie.

November 1, 2014 at 6:52AM

0
Reply
Charlie K
1341

Big thanks to the filmmakers and nofilmschool for this kind of educational content. Very impressive short and it's always nice when people share what they've learned. Cinematography articles are a dime a dozen (thankfully) but it's not everyday you see a tutorial on poster design for film. I used a similar painterly effect in a short I did back in 2007 https://vimeo.com/19089275 . We didn't have enough film (lo-budget student production) so this kind of helped me out of an editing problem.

October 31, 2014 at 9:44PM

2
Reply
avatar
Jon du Toit
Writer / Director
167

That was pretty damn great. The short is insanely well made, production value is ridiculous. I love drawn / painted poster style of old times. If you think it is "commie propaganda look", think again and google old Hollywood posters of pre- and post-WWII period. You'll be surprised.

November 1, 2014 at 5:00AM

6
Reply
avatar
Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1321

I do like the poster. It sparked my interest in the film. However, although the production value indeed is impressive, as is the cinematography, the story simply is not. I've had the same problem with Meaning Makers' first short, "Trigger". They seem to know the vocabulary and grammar of filmmaking very well, good craftsmen they are, so far, it's just that they have nothing interesting to say. An executive would write a big fat "Have seen this movie before - and it was better" over the screenplay. And while the overall VFX are well done, I took issues with the flash light because they use it in daylight (wtf?) and it has this unnatural yellowish glow that, for whatever reason they did it, for me seemed so over that for a moment made me believe this was all a dream sequence. So, bottom line: This movie stylistically hits a home run, but still looses the overall game.

November 10, 2014 at 2:30PM

1
Reply