Sound Design

The Infinity Wall

Over the last few years, I have seen a ton of projection mapping projects for everything from commercial product launches to venue openings and trade show keynotes.  Most of the time they have glitzy over the top projects that have a very specific theme or story line. I think the reason I am so impressed with the example below is because it is a hypnotic blend of simplicity, monochrome hues, and mesmerizing shapes.

In an empty lot on the outskirts of the city of Doha a 54,000 square foot tent was erected for a private event. In front of the tent stands a 360 foot wide by 30 foot tall fabric-covered wall.  On to it digital projectors,  projection-mapped 3D animations onto the it, giving the illusion of a large-scale kinetic modern art installation floating in the desert.

With less than three weeks lead time Megavision Arts, and top Qatari event producer and designer Fahad Signature tasked produced the 3D projection-mapping effect in order to mystify, entertain and engage the 1200 guests as they arrived at the event site.

With support from BARTKRESA Design and Creative Technologies, Megavision Arts Creative Director David Corwin and producer Amber Bollinger quickly assembled a team of artists, designers, technicians, and programmers to complete the project. With only one face-to-face meeting between Corwin and Art Director Vincent Rogozyk, the entire team assembled in Doha five days before the event. A fully-equipped design and animation studio was temporarily configured in a meeting room at the St. Regis Hotel in Doha, and they managed to produce this spectacular piece.

Based on the clients’ request for a 3D projection mapping that would be “very modern, artistic and magical” Corwin and Rogozyk began playing with abstract concepts that were evocative of Fahad Signature’s designs for the event, which included elements such as curvilinear wood furniture and sculptural wooden columns. Polish artists and animators Maciej Bałauszko and Michał Czubak were added to the team and began expounding upon the sketches, turning the rough curvilinear biomorphic and geometric ideas into polished animations. Four basic scenes of abstract 3D kinetic animations were programmed to loop, morph and transition from one design to the next over the course of just under 3 minutes. The animations included Optical Waves, Piano Tiles, Ribbon Architecture and the Involuted Helix.

Eighteen double-stacked Panasonic DZ21K projectors converged and were blended using a Dataton Watchout media server to create one large seamless image. They illuminated the Infinity Wall with over 300,000 lumens of light. The animation files consisted of 14,148,000 pixels per frame, which equates to over 21 BILLION pixels per minute being pushed through the system.

As guests pulled off the highway onto a freshly graded and paved driveway, to their surprise and delight they encountered a fantastic undulating phantasm looming on the horizon. As they continued towards the projected mirage, a custom score with synchronized sound design elements enhanced the illusion even more.

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Hyundai (Brand Vision) from Trizz Studio

Back in the early 1990’s I attended a lecture on automotive advertising that made a comparison to the way cars are, or were advertised in Japan at the time versus the United States. In Japan, it was less about the car and more about the mood or feeling. Here in America, little has changed. Most car ads talk about how fast you can go, how much you can haul, will this vehicle help you compensate for something missing in your life, etc. It was and still is an interesting comparison as to how different cultures perceive product relationships and branding. For example the video below, not for a Japanese car, but for Korean Hyundai. The video is an abstraction on relating to the automobile Hyundai’s design sensibilities. It is a short film that combines natural senses and emotions with visual abstractions that relate to what the product stands for; confidence, essentials, refinement, sensuality, effortlessness. It conveys all of this without ever showing a single Hyundai car, and not revealing the brand until the very end of the clip.

The video is an abstraction on relating to the automobile Hyundai’s design sensibilities. It is a short film that combines natural senses and emotions with visual abstractions that relate to what the product stands for; confidence, essentials, refinement, sensuality, effortlessness. It conveys all of this without ever showing a single Hyundai car, and not revealing the brand until the very end of the clip.  What a completely different approach to branding, and one that is the polar opposite of the way automotive branding and advertising is handled here in the good old US of A.

Produced by Trizz Studio for Innocean Worlwide and Hyundai, this is a fantastic blend of CG work, live action footage, and sound design. High production value, and the opportunity to create an abstract representation of what the Hyundai brand represents helps to sell this piece. I think it is wonderful, and frankly would like to see more car ads like this, but I know for a fact no agency in America is ever going to pitch this kind of concept to an automotive client, let alone have an automotive client actually buy in, here in America.

WAtch it full screen and turn up the volume.

ManvsMachine “Versus” and The Making Of with Cinema 4D.

I am a huge fan of Cinema 4D, and it is pretty insane just how much the tool has grown with each new generation. I mean if you think about it, When Cinema 4D was released in 1993 for the Amiga it was a solid tool, but there is no way the software on an Amiga system could have produced anything like what is in the video below. Frankly, there were no real desktop tools that could have produced this, which just goes to show how far computer graphics have come, and how we take their power for granted most of the time. I have been working with graphic design, animation, and editing software for more than 20 years, and if someone had asked me to produce this back in 93 I would have laughed.

This video was created by ManvsMachine to showcase the new tools and functionality in Maxon’s latest release of Cinema4D. “Versus” is a CG short inspired by the dualities suggested in the studio’s own name. This is a visual stunner that not only features great CG animation, but some really solid sound design which helped inspire the video. If you have them, put on your headphones. If you don’t turn up the sound on your speakers. I’ve also include the making of video to show you how it was done.

 

M4 Factory Trailer.

The video below shows how post production can make a video. Directed by Allesandro Pacciani this spot for BMW’s M4 is a masterful blend of live action shots, post production CG, clever editing, and sound design. The M4 was shot on a racetrack that had been specially prepared for the shoot. The environment is a refinery is all fake 3D modeling that  is highly detailed and filled with hundreds of CG lights. The lights had to be mapped and rendered on to the car in post, the track had to be stripped away and replaced in post, and the entire piece had to be finished in a way that feels real. The result is a spectacular 30 second spot for BMW. Pacciani has created a dark and moody spot that highlights the performance of the M4 as it navigates through a foggy, mysterious environment, all in a 21 x 9 aspect ratio for cinematic effect.

At the beginning of the spot there is a clever tag, “This content is Rated M”  appealing to those who know BMW. There spot is steeped in BMW’s racing heritage which helps sells the power of the car to the intended audience. There is a video game quality to this that will appeal to a younger audience that aspires to own an M4 as well as an established audience that still plays games like Forza and can afford the car now. Solid advertising without the need for a single voice over or hard sell line.

Shapes in Motion.

They say practice makes perfect, and I have to agree with that. If you want to master something, it requires time and effort to refine your skills. Somethings require more than others and the video below is a prime example of someone who has polished their skills and continues to refine them. This fun little animation by Jordan Coelho was created as a “practice piece to explore and animate a style with simple shapes, and train myself.” Nice work Jordan, I think the training is paying off quite well. The video has a nice look to it. The timing is spot on with a solid use realistic fall off and elasticity. The sound design works with the elements on stage and it keeps your audience engaged. I think this guy might have a career in animation ahead of him.

MNSTR, Lacoste, The Australian Open, and the Small Screen.

If you work with video, animation, or motion graphics for advertising, or promotional materials you should probably start thinking heavily about mobile outlets and how you will deliver content. Case in point, the video below from MNSTR for Lacoste and the Australian Open. This video showcases the work MNSTR created specifically for the small screen, and even more specifically for the short time frame, touch points like Instagram and Snapchat require. Simple, short, colorful animations paired with high quality sound design help to make these work. MNSTR did their homework and got their heads wrapped around the space these would presented in and pulled it off. This series of short animations were dribbled out over the two week event helping to extend the total reach of Lacoste’s efforts. 

SoundSnap Machine.

One of the biggest components to any video, or film is sound. We often take it for granted, because we are so lost in the visuals, but good sound design can make or break a piece. The video below is a perfect example of this. The video from  for SoM is an impressive mesh of audio that completely compliments the video. The second clip shows you how the audio was created which is equally impressive.