How NMCO Brought the Middle Age to the Digital Age

Feathers were thrown across the board room, meeting table, there was a smell of powder and heat as the NMCO team and collaborators styled hair and makeup.

Studio manager, Dawn Franco, was sitting for a light test in the NMCO video studio while NMCO Lead Video Specialist, Ralph Diaz, set the lights and camera before the green screen.

NMCO Creative Director, Tina Ballew, was explaining the shot lists to models and leading the collaborating stylist, Anahy Nunez, for the shoot.

Playing Art Director, Dana Apodaca slowly attached a handcrafted, feathered headdress inspired by fashion of early North American civilizations to model Marco Jimenez.

These were the steps for production in NMCO’s creation of the event campaign for Dona Ana Arts Council’s 50th annual RenFaire, Bridging Cultures.

Bridging Cultures

This year, Executive Director of the Dona Ana Arts Council, Greg Smith, decided for the special 50th anniversary of the RenFaire to return to historical colors of the event’s origins as well as have an extravagant and historically relevant aesthetic for the poster and promotion of the DAAC annual, November RenFaire.

Normally when attending a Renaissance fair it’s always a European focus, one thinks of Da Vinci and Michelangelo, but what most people don’t consider is that during the same time the indigenous cultures of North American civilizations were also making advancements in astronomy, medicine, agriculture, architecture and written language. Additionally, Smith and the Dona Ana Arts Council recognized this and wanted to create a twist on the annual renaissance arts fair by embracing the western side of the Atlantic. The 50th anniversary was a grand opportunity and the DAAC developed the theme “Bridging Cultures,” celebrating culture on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

That’s when NMCO stepped in, to deliver the creative insight, strategy and craft for bringing the imaginative and historically inclusive campaign to life. In collaboration with the Dona Ana Arts Council, in preparation for the event, NMCO revitalized the vision of the middle ages with a full campaign.
Like the Renaissance, in the spirit of innovation and art the NMCO team created props in-studio and hand-painted assets. A night of NMCO video and photography with models Emma Henderson and Jiminez became the foundation for the RenFaire poster to curate a branded media event kit with imagination and narrative.

Stylized like Raphael commissioned it himself…

The poster designed by NMCO appears to be straight from the middle ages. Inspired by Sandro Boticelli’s ‘Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci as Nymph’ and ‘Montezuma’s Throne’ the poster has texture reminiscent of a thick, oil painting as well as hues and shadows like a true renaissance piece.
The scroll of parchment with the event information

The scroll of parchment with the event information adds a tangible connection relevant to the time period and the stylized 50 brings a balance of hierarchy for both, the European and North American cultures, utilizing filigree and details sampled from an ancient calendar, the layout and combination of font give the impression one is indeed attending an experience of enlightenment.  

To create further anticipation for the event, NMCO created promo motion and flat graphics with ticket information and event dates utilizing these assets as well as a teaser for the release of the animated RenFaire promotion video. 

Star crossed

The animated promotion video directed and filmed by NMCO features our two inspired characters, portrayed by Emma Henderson and Marco Jimenez.
We find our North American warrior and Italian muse separated by a wide stretch of land and ocean, featuring waves and clouds reminiscent of middle age theatre, longing to connect before the same stars they are gazing at create a golden bridge, bringing them together.
“We wanted to keep a theatre aesthetic when creating this, as we felt this housed the mixed media approach the best. The waves and landscapes were hand painted in-house and modified in post. They worked well with the painterly approach. I have always admired what one can do with green screen footage and it was a pleasure to know that the client gave us so much flexibility with the look and concept,” said Diaz. “Depth and dimension are always key in making something dramatic looking and some of the shots that we composed in the video did just that. It was great when all these working components came together in a composite and I think it really fuels other ideas of what we can accomplish with such simple assets,” he said.

NMCO is thankful to participate in the revival of the 50th RenFaire event and have the opportunity to create a campaign with such a refined and artistic aesthetic.

The Dona Ana Arts Council 50th annual RenFaire is November 6-7 at Young’s Park in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Tickets are $10 or two for $15 and are available at Pic Quik locations and can be purchased on the DAAC website. 

Creative Director/Art Director:
Christina Ballew

Photographer:
Ralph Diaz

Animator:
Zac Wittstruck

Art Director:
Dana Apadaca

Makeup Artist:
Anahy Nuñez

Producer:
Christina Ballew

Stylist:
Dana Apodaca and Christina Ballew

To see more event coverage from NMCO, check out our Zozobra animation.

Kahlo

Door Greeter & Cookie Eater

Kahlo is our gentle, friendly, office pup! He loves his belly rubbed, sniffing absolutely everything, and hasn’t found a treat he wouldn’t eat! Be sure to say hi, he loves the attention!

Kelsey Gentile

Web Specialist

Once those websites are complete, Kelsey is our web maintenance manager. From regular updates, security checks, and content updates, Kelsey keeps our websites running smoothly, secure, and in tip-top shape.

Anna Kat Hollis

Lead Web Developer & Designer

We really like people named, “Anna”, especially named Anna Kat! Anna Kat is NMCO’s talented web developer and designer. She is smart, efficient, and crazy good at her craft! She has a background in design and focuses on functionality and UI/UX. You’re gonna love working with her!

Zac Wittstruck

Animator

If you’re needing quality animation, Zac is your guy! Motion graphics, custom character rigging, and 2D animation are some of Zac’s specialties. Zac always wears a smile and is truly one of the nicest people you’ll meet. When Zac isn’t whipping out great animations, he plays bass guitar for a local jazz band! What a cool cat!

Aaron Walterscheid

Video Specialist & Cinematographer

Aaron is NMCO’s “Silent Assassin”. While not the most outgoing of our talented crew, Aaron KILLS at videography, editing, color grading, drone operation, lighting, and doing what it takes to get the job done. His experience and skills speak loudly for themselves.

Sam Palm

Video Specialist & Photographer

With an eye for great picture-perfect moments, Sam is one of NMCO’s extremely talented video specialists! Sam is our main photographer, but also is a Director of Photography, editor, color specialist, and overall Jack-of-all-trades. When he’s not behind the camera, find Sam cruisin’ the Southwest on his Harley and living life to the fullest! Did we mention he has great hair?

Ralph Diaz

Senior Video Specialist

Don’t confuse Ralph with Academy Award-winning actor Johnny Depp. Although there’s a close resemblance, Ralph is much more talented behind the camera. He’s done it all from VFX to animation, to producing, directing, and editing some of our most memorable productions. It also should come as no surprise that he’s mastered the technical and practical aspects of videography, giving him the nickname, “The Doctor.”

Dana Apodaca

Senior Graphic Designer & Art Director

Dana is up to date on all expert software and can design circles around most designers. With creative solutions, a sensibility to trends, and the best artistic output, Dana can do it all from identity systems to layouts, to even giving art direction in our video productions.

Dawn Franco

Studio Manager

With a background in journalism, file archival and organization, Dawn is our client onboarding extraordinaire. From contract preparation, to project management, account direction, and reporting, Dawn stirs the pot for most productions, making sure it’s served hot and on time.

Lucky Gonzalez

Co-Founder & Media Buyer

With all of that creative, where are you going to put it?! Lucky has 18 years in business with the expertise and know-how, so he is naturally our go-to for media placement. From digital banner ads to broadcast TV, Lucky can take any budget and translate it to impressions and conversions. He prides himself on coming up with solutions for your problems.

Christina Ballew

Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer

When Tina co-founded NMCO she strived to push boundaries in creative services in the southwest. Building a creative studio from scratch was no easy feat but NMCO is now known for its professionalism and people-based, outside of the box ideas.   As Tina likes to say, she has done almost every job except for video editing itself. Her next goal is to take on the world.