The London Symphony Orchestra, Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano

I’ve been a season ticket holder to the Kansas City Symphony for ages, and I’m pretty familiar with their marketing materials. I know they don’t have the same budget as the London Symphony Orchestra, but they should watch this video and take notes.

Wowza talk about a stunner.

London agency Superunion and motion studio Found combine dance, pyrotechnics, and mo-cap to create a spectacular campaign for the London Symphony Orchestra’s 2020/21 season.

“In his fourth year with the LSO, Sir Simon Rattle leads a two-year exploration of music written in the first half of the 20th century. The title refers to a phrase used to describe the febrile atmosphere in Germany in the 1930s, as Europe lay on the cusp of profound social, cultural and political upheaval.

With such an emotive theme, Superunion wanted to create something unexpected, something that would reflect the tension and volatility of the new season.

This meant shifting away from the CG approach of previous campaigns and embracing practical live-action effects to create a dramatic, explosive and tension-fuelled abstract film.

Conceived for both film and print, the resolution was of huge importance. We opted to shoot on the RED Helium camera at 5K so as to capture as much detail as possible.

Filmed against black, from a dramatic top shot, we worked with dancer Ella Robson Guilfoyle, to interpret the motion capture data of Sir Simon Rattle’s baton into an expressive dance sequence. 

Costume designer Karen Avenell was commissioned to create a custom-made silk dress to further accentuate Ella’s movements.

The sequence would have been impossible to perform in real-time, so we broke it down into 19 individual bite-size movements. These were then edited together in post-production and re-timed to precisely match the motion capture data. 

This ‘base’ layer of fabric was then processed with a bespoke echo trail, to create a fiery flame-like effect.

In addition, we filmed an array of pyrotechnics and practical effects [sparklers, flares, smoke grenades, and chalk dust] at high speed which were later composited into the sequence to enhance the volcano effect, culminating in an epic final shot.”

Mike Sharpe, Creative Director at Found Studio

This so nice. I’m mining the internet to find any related marketing and advertising materials. If I track them down, I’ll updated this post with them. I have to say, I’m not sure how any of them could compete with the drama created by the choreography and music presented in the video.

The next step for the London Symphony Orchestra, is to replace that hideous logo with something as grand as this video. That however is a topic for another time.