Video

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.

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.

Creating Hyper-Real Sports Indents for AD Sports TV.

In 2015 Dubai UAE based Les Follies Design Haus, commissioned Frame to create eight over the top idents for the re-launch of the Abu Dhabi sports channel AD Sports TV. This is a series that I somehow missed when it dropped. The look is absolutely outstanding. The first video below is the behind the scenes recap explaining how Frame pulled this off. The second is the directors cut of the indents.

In a collaboration with Obeida Sidani, Executive Creative Director at Les Folies, Director and Creative Director Anders Schroder at Frame came up with the idea of having top athletes of various sports performing in the streets with the iconic buildings of night-time Abu Dhabi as the backdrop. As they are performing the surroundings would transform into their respective playing fields.

The team at Frame creative directed, conceptualized and animated the transforming floors under the athlete and the particle systems around them.

Anders wanted a still photography HDR look that would be the polar opposite of the popular organic film look with shallow depth of field and handheld camera shake. He wanted to achieve a look that was almost synthetic and videogame-like with extreme angles and razor sharp infinite focus but all achieved in-camera. A look that would be synonymous with high performance rather than the performers themselves.

To take its a step further Anders suggested to recreating this look in live action. The technique is based on the idea of shooting with multiple exposures and then combine them in post. Furthermore, Anders wanted to shoot high-speed with zero motion blur and considering this was a night shoot which added tremendously to the difficulty.

Together with DP Zubin Mistry they asked themselves: How do we shoot fast paced action high-speed, everything in focus, no motion blur, at night, with both the buildings and the sky and athlete fully exposed?

The answer was motion control, an insane lighting package, Master Primes wide angles, Phantom Flex 4K, and lots of compositing. Using the motion control rig they filmed each shot in several passes moving the massive light rigs out of the shot each time background and buildings were being shot. The motion control rig enables the team to be able to squeeze in another cool gimmick; slow motion athletes in the foreground and time lapse cityscapes in the backgrounds – in the same shot!

The result is a spectacular and hyper-real look that feels almost CG-like even though most of it was shot in camera.

“The Finish Line”. Honda’s Amazing Formula One Racing Promotion.

Four things I like. Good Design, auto racing, animation/motion graphics, and high-quality video production. When these elements combine into something that epically leverages all of them it’s hard to contain myself. 

I love this video. I’m not sure who the production company was behind it, or if Honda did this in house but the end result is spectacular. The video showcases Honda’s involvement in Formula One racing opening with racing legend Richie Ginther at the wheel of the Honda RA272, which won Honda’s first F1 race at the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix. The car then morphs into Ayrton Senna’s iconic MP4/4 from 1988 making its way around the narrow corners of the Monaco Grand Prix. Then the animation jumps all the way to 2006 when Jenson Button won the Hungarian Grand Prix at the wheel of Honda’s own F1 car and team. From there we cut to Max Verstappen and his heroic win at the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix, and then again at the German Grand Prix.

The piece is interlaced with live-action footage from the races, highly stylized animation, nice use of typography, all built on a limited color pallet of red, black, yellow, blue and white. The style of the animation has a nice graphic novel look, that is matched perfectly to the driving music and soundtrack of engine sounds, crowd, and announcer overlays that help pull the whole thing together. The small details like the speed lines that emanate from the bold titles and the insertion of the Japanese text is a really nice visual design touch that is carried throughout the entire video.

Well done Honda. This is one of the better promotional pieces I’ve seen for Formula One. I’m not sure where this is going to run but I have a feeling during broadcast F1 races. It has a run length of 60 seconds and could be edited down to a 30, or even a 15-second spot if needed.

The high production value on this is sure to pay off. So a solid spot.