Video and Motion Graphics

Everyday Experiments – In Full Bloom

The first cellphone camera I ever used was in an imported unlocked Nokia so-called “smartphone”. It was an expensive flip phone with a screen that rotated 180 degrees. It had some form of limited office functionality, texting, and a 0.3-megapixel camera that shot postage stamp-sized images and no video. I thought it was the greatest phone ever, and the ability to take somewhat decent photos with my phone was a game-changer. Then in 2007 and the world changed.

When the iPhone went on sale in June of 2007, it was light years ahead of the competition. It had a whopping 2 megapixel camera and 320×480 pixel resolution screen. The day it went on sale I was 4th in line at the ATT store to make sure I got one before they sold out. At the time, I had no idea how much this single piece of technology would change the way people create with images, video and audio.

Fast forward 15 years and the impact has been very obvious. So much so that Apple has built an entire marketing platform around “Shot on iPhone” that focuses exclusively on the creative aspect of the handset. One of the best examples being a series of videos by Donghoon J. and James T, called “Everyday Experiments that show people how to create some pretty amazing videos with their iPhones and things they have at home. Something that would have been impossible to do with my Nokia in 2005, or even using a “Flip Video” camera that was hugely popular at the same time.

Everyday Experiments as well as the rest of “Shot on iPhone” show just how far we have come in a very short period of time. If you are into using your phone for creative endeavors I encourage you to take a look at the “Everyday Experiments” content. It’s well-produced and they have a section of behind-the-scenes videos that show how these two actually make the videos Apple commissions from them.

This is Gullwing

When I first started producing digital content at the end of the 1990s 3D most high-end CG work was done by large studios that could build out render farms to distribute the render load. I remember working on a Mac Quadra 950 with megabytes of RAM, yes megabytes not gigabytes, in Strata Studio Pro, and the computer taking all weekend to render one or two frames. The point of me mentioning this is just how powerful computers and software have gotten in the last couple of decades and the amazing quality of work that is being produced.

This afternoon a friend emailed me a link to the video “Gullwing”, below that was produced by the Lisbon-based studio Briktop. It’s a stunning piece of work that is 100 percent CG. There is a nice little storyline that demonstrates the director João Elias passion for the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing. The editing is executed so well helping to draw you into the piece. The sound design combined with the music adds a sense of completeness and drama. It just works. I have no idea what his hardware and software set up is, but I guarantee it’s an affordable desktop rig. If you want to see more of the work from Briktop you can find it here. He’s got a really nice BMW 2002 short as well as more commercial stuff.

By the way, Briktop has some mad skills. He’s been in business for about ten years and started out doing architectural visualizations. The work on the Briktop site shows just how much they have grown, and what they have been able to accomplish in just one decade. Hat tip to them.

Directed and animated by João Elias | Music: Evan Macdonald | Sound design: João Elias

Not Real – Grace

This afternoon I was hanging out on Vimeo looking at a variety of things to get some inspiration for a motion graphics/video project I have in the works, and I happened to stumble upon “Grace Sunset Collection” by Not Real. It’s a really well-done advert featuring some great photography, typography, and 3D animation. What’s better there is a making-of video that shows off some of the behind-the-scenes work that went into putting this together. I always like to include the behind the scenes/making of videos if I can because it shows how much work actually goes into producing something that looks so simple. And that is where the magic is. A complex and involved project that produces a final clip that looks simple.

As you watch this, think about how the animation and edits are timed to the rhythm of the music. It goes together so well, and if you weren’t looking for it you might miss that aspect. The other thing that caught my attention is the easing that is applied to the movement of the type, images and objects. It’s subtle and very lifelike. The fall off is natural, and that is the kind of thing that takes some serious skills, whether you are doing it with After Effects expressions, or using the motion graph.

This is some really nice stuff. Now I’m inspired and its time to get to work.

Directed by: NotReal

Creative Direction: Valeria Moreiro
Executive Production: Roberto Connolly

Art Direction: Valeria Moreiro
Animation Direction: Milton Gonzalez

2D Design: Luján Borzi, Pia Alive, Valeria Moreiro
3D Design: Valeria Moreiro, Alejandra Lan, Luján Borzi

2D Animation: Milton Gonzalez, Joana Cabrera, Roberto Connolly
3D Animation: Milton Gonzalez, Joana Cabrera

Lighting & Shading: Valeria Moreiro
Rendering and Compositing: Milton Gonzalez

Making off: Roberto Connolly

Photography:Cecilia Armand Ugon
Photography Assistant: Ayelén Di Biasi
Styling: Maia Frid
Make up: Julie Doee

Models: Abril Castroman- Lo Management
Layla Ferreira- Pink Models

Year: 2020

Ed Ruscha and Jack Kerouac – Motorized Photographs Of Sunset Blvd. And Other L.A. Streets

Ed Ruscha has always been one of my favorite artists. When I was in Art School at the University of Kansas he had a heavy influence on the work I was producing at the time. Not so much his photography, but definitely his paintings and print works. The video above was Commissioned by The Getty Museum on the occasion of their 2019 Getty Medal to the painter, draftsman, photographer, and bookmaker, Ed Ruscha.

Produced by Matthew Miller the Getty Research Institute’s preservation and digitization of over a million images from Ed’s Streets of Los Angeles photo series. Miller then had Ruscha record a voice over for the piece using excerpts from Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road”.

I think this is a wonderful way to experience Ruscha’s photography of Los Angeles in a new way. If you are unfamiliar with Ruscha’s books I recommend checking them out. If you Google “Ed Ruscha Books”, you’ll be able to find them. Start with “26 Gas Stations”, or “Some Los Angeles Apartments”. They’ll give you a solid insight into where Ruscha’s head was in the early to mid-1960s.