Holvi Blog for Makers and Doers

Lucas Zanotto - Maker and Doer behind Holvi's video

Entrepreneurship, For Holvi entrepreneurs, Stories from Holvi entrepreneurs · 15/08/16 11:04 · Elena Zozulya

Here at Holvi we are very excited about our newly released product video that explains in a simple and fun way what problems we solve for small businesses. The Maker and Doer behind the video is the Helsinki-based designer, director and animator Lucas Zanotto. Even if you don't know him by name, you've probably seen his work, as he has created beautiful advertising videos for the likes of Google and Amazon. Playful animation style is what Lucas is known for. He takes simple objects — like ping pong balls, notebooks or colourful pencils — and plays around with them in a very fun and unexpected way.


For the Holvi video, Lucas has taken care of the whole production: from the idea to building the scenes, filming and editing the video, collaborating with a sound designer all the way to final execution. He quietly worked on the Holvi video in a remote room of our new office space in a former psychiatric hospital. When you see Lucas work, he reminds you of a magician doing incredible tricks and staging unexplainable illusions. With a touch of his magic wand, an intricate handcrafted machine starts slowly rotating, causing a ping pong ball to roll down a narrow path, bounce on the table and jump right into a paper cup: pom-pom-pam!


Maybe it's about time to get an Assistent. #holvi #diy #pingpong

A video posted by Lucas Zanotto (@lucas_zanotto) on

“Holvi is a hands-on product for Makers and Doers. I consider myself a maker, too. Everything I do in my films is handcrafted. I think that is why Mikko, Holvi’s head of product, thought I could be a good fit to help convey what Holvi is all about.”

“As I was trying to find a good way to express the main idea behind the product, I thought that chain reactions would be an interesting metaphor. I've always liked complicated chain reaction mechanisms, Rube Goldberg machines and marble racing. When something is moving, rolling and jumping, it’s very fascinating to look at. It’s something that grips your attention and likely to make you watch a commercial till the end. It’s kind of magical.”

Lucas has worked on a wide range of projects — from big brands like HarperCollins and Nickelodeon to non-profit video campaigns. “The cases like Holvi’s are more interesting for me, because I can handle the whole production process exactly the way I want — from the ideation stage to final execution. I can improvise. It’s more fun.”

Exploring, experimenting, and playing with things

With a background in architecture and product design, Lucas’s first directing experiments started with short films about 10 years ago. As he grew more and more interested in film, at some point he discovered animation and was fascinated by it.

“From there on, I started exploring different types of animation — from traditional 2D animation to stop motion animation. I enjoy experimenting with techniques and mixing different media. After slow motion and long time animation, I experimented with puppetry and in-camera techniques. I love building different scenes and finding interesting metaphors.”

Lucas’ passion for combining different media and exploring new ways of creating animations have earned him many awards at different international festivals — Golden Lion in Cannes and Gold at BDA Promax International, to name a few.


#pingpong #holvi

A video posted by Lucas Zanotto (@lucas_zanotto) on

“If you like doing something it reflects in the work you create.”

“I’ve been quite lucky with the projects I have had a chance to participate in. Or maybe it’s a matter of attitude. When I get involved in a new project, I always get very excited and want to make a step further and challenge myself.”

Among the projects Lucas is most proud of to date are his educational apps for children under the brand YATATOY, which have been featured as editor’s choice on the App Store and got over a million downloads. “It’s very satisfying to see that the brand I’ve created from scratch has been recognised in its field. I’ve had a unique chance to create a brand the way I envision it, independently from anyone.”

It all started with a simple idea Lucas had for the first app of the series called Drawnimal. The app goes beyond the digital world by expanding your device with a pen and paper. You put your phone on a sheet of paper and for each letter of the alphabet the app gives your instructions how to draw an animal around the device, for example, ears or legs. At the end, it reveals the entire animal. “The concept for the app was born while I was playing around with the idea to create a tactile experience with a device while learning to draw and think outside the box.”

On being an entrepreneur and freelancer

Seeing Lucas working on his ideas leaves no doubt that he deeply loves what he does. “Work is a very important part of my life and I feel very lucky that I get to do what I love for a living. Another great part of being my own boss is that I can decide independently what I want to do.”

Of course, there are downsides of working for yourself, which are inevitable part of the journey, admits Lucas. “For example, being a freelancer means that sometimes you have quiet times. You start to worry and can’t enjoy the free time you have on your hands. It took me a number of years to learn to accept that something new will always come and to make the best of my free time.”

Sneak peek on a new project

Speaking of his exciting new projects, Lucas has revealed that he is currently collaborating with Linda Liukas, an author of a children's book on computing Hello Ruby. “We are working together on a new digital brand that would bring together a series of logical thinking apps for kids. It will be called Ruby Plus. We have recently launched the beta version of our first app. So stay tuned!”


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