The Dutch motion design and animation studio Soulbase did the character-based 3D title sequence for the Amsterdam-edition of FITC - the worldwide design and technology event previously known as Flash In The Can. It took them little over two weeks to make it. I'm showing them on 'Forget the Film, Watch the Titles. And I interviewed the Floris Vos of the Dutch studio Soulbase about the making of.
Watch it here:
Title sequences for events and festivals are becoming increasingly cinematic.
Floris Vos: “Yes, where before an event would maybe do a flyer and a dedicated website, they are now investing more resources in promotion and communication than ever before. The main goal is to get their potential audiences excited and to create the right atmosphere for the event. The invitations, the teasers, the goody bags, the overall ambiance – all these elements contribute to the audience's experience. This is especially true for events and festivals that focus on creativity and innovation, such as FITC, which is about experiments and inspiration in a field where where art, design and technology overlap. Another thing is that events are increasingly treated as brands."
What made you decide to do this project?
"These types of projects are usually low or no budget. But for a studio it can be a great way to show your skills to a professional audience. And it's a good excuse to create something really cool without any third party involvement. Commercial work often forces you to in a certain direction creatively, but this was somewhat of a dream briefing: “We have these campaign images to inspire you, and we have a list of speakers. Now surprise us!” That kind of “creative freedom” is like magic to us."
Have you been to FITC?
"We attended an FITC event in New York before, so we knew all about it. FITC started out as a Flash and Action Scripting event. Their scope broadened over the years, but at the core it's still a technology-minded event. A lot of the speakers talk about art and design from a technology standpoint, which is interesting to us, because we approach our projects in a completely different way."
Tell us about the concept behind the titles
"Looking at the nature of the festival and its history, we stumbled upon the idea of datamoshing. Datamoshing was popular in the VJ scene for a while. It basically means that you play around with the data of a video file. An encoded video file is built up from I frames and P frames. The I frame is an image, and the P frame holds only the changes in the image from the previous frame. When you mix up these frames, the resulting video image will be unpredictable. We liked that concept – experimenting with existing footage to create something new, and giving up complete control over the outcome.
We took this notion of datamoshing and made it our own. We created a DJ-like character that plays with various data using a large touch screen. This represents FITC, its visitors and guests, because, in a way, they're all playing with data and experimenting with mathematical formulas to create surprising and interesting things. We were aiming for a kind of Asian graphic vibe.
The character is a sort of shaman who meditates before he starts his session and who's spaced out when in trance."
You collaborated a with some of your "soulmates". How did that work out?
"We only had two weeks to finish it, and we didn't want to jeopardize our commercial projects. So we called some of our designer and animator friends to see if they were interested in collaborating on this. We needed help, especially with the rigging and character animation.
We wanted to keep the story simple: A short introduction of the character, followed by his actions and its effects. We divided the film into separate shots which allowed us to work with different animators and use different software programs.
Two people worked full time on it. The last week three people worked on it for about fifteen hours a day. It involved a lot of good music, good food, nice company, and midnight hugs. And a lot of chatting online and talking on the phone. It was hard, but worth it.
Compositing and color correction were done by us. A large portion of the animation and design work was done by Artibite. And we invited our design buddy of Drön to work on the graphic elements and the credits. In turn, we gave him total creative freedom as well. Audio was done by Studio takt. It's like a blend of sorts between the soundtrack of Akira and the sound of Hudson Mohawk. I want to say thanks to everyone who participated in the project!”
"The character modeling, animation and rendering was done with 3ds Max 2010. Rigging was done with CAT. For the rest of the 3D animation we used a combination of 3ds Max en Cinema 4D. Editing, compositing and graphic animation were done in After Effects. The illustrations were done in Illustrator."