Professional project evaluation

•May 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This professional project has been an interesting experience. From its low to highs there has been a massive combination of different situations. First of all i started off with the mindset that i wanted to go into a post production house and start creating visual effects for film. But this project seems to of turned me in a completely different direction yet still working on a visual level. I teamed up with Phil Andrews because i knew that we both work well together and bring different perspectives into a singular project. Phil loves to work on a conceptual foundation in terms of ideas whilst i work more on a visual level.

Phil Beards came to us about an opportunity from the Ministry of Sound. They asked us to research in their little side group called ‘Hed Kandi’ and to await for them to get back to us. Unfortunately they took weeks to actually get back in contact with us and we had already picked up another project. I learnt that you could not wait on someone for too long. The more you wait, the longer you sit without money. You need to take the initiative and grab the next opportunity that walks by. Phil Beards then approached us about the Fashion show that’s being held at the 02 academy.

We had a meeting with Sarah Charles who is in charge of the show and also students on the course. We put across the idea of possibly creating a touch screen catwalk after we studied some videos involving interactive visual effects. Like videos showing moving wispy lines following glasses being put down on tables. We wanted to bring an experience to the fashion show, an almost magical touch. I started developing a VVVV patch which tracks movement and pressure sensitivity. This would of been the software that would of been used when the models walked across the catwalk. Until we came across a massive problem. Material costs. This was something we had to massively compromise on, we started to realise that the materials we where asking for was extremely expensive and also weight distribution would be a massive problem. But at this point we got offered another project. One that i would consider to be our development for creating and projecting surreal imagery.

The costume show Dracula which was shown at the lighthouse theatre in Poole offered us a place to create their visuals. We decided to put the fashion show on hiatus and use Dracula to develop our work and build up towards the fashion show. We created and composited visuals based on watching the rehearsals for a whole week non-stop. The main software  used to create the visuals were After Effects and Modul8. We worked for a full week at the lighthouse theater running tech runs and dress rehearsals. We used a nine thousand lumens projector at the start but we came across a problem. The fan on it was too loud and the dialogue in the theatre couldnt be heartd so we had to order a four thousand lumens projector instead. We also came across the problem of the red channel not projecting properly from the projector. All of the red visuals came out a strange orange colour. So i came up with the idea of making those certain visuals white and then using a red filter to place over the projector at queued points. Phil then developed a nice little filter system which could both blackout and apply a red filter. So Phil was on the filter and i was queuing him through the headset as i was visual mixing. The show was a massive success and we recieved a great reaction from the audience and the production team. We even had a review from the Daily Echo saying we had created “Stunning visuals.”

After the show we got straight back onto the fashion show but completely rethought our approach. Phil decided to come back with his idea from the Performance video project which was to project onto water. Now in our meeting with Sarah Charles she loved the idea but she and Phil Beards found that it was a scary idea. But we were determined to make it happen, Phil Andrews started developing the design for creating a pumping system. We went through loads of different prototypes and then came to the conclusion that we would need to build it gradually scaling up to proove it could be done. So we created our first prototype pumping system outside the enterprise pavillion and it worked. We showed Phil Beards and the fashion department but they still weren’t convinced, as they hadnt seen any images actually projected onto the water. We were still measuring such factors as how much power the pump works at and also where leaks sprung out and weight distribution as well as costing up the materials. So we decided to do a large scale version in my garden and project onto it and it was a massive success. All of the visuals were crystal clear and it did what we wanted it to do. It entertained people, all the people we showed fell in love with it and started interacting with it.We also tested a fully working reservoir system which we built using wood and water proof membrane to test out its capabilities.

Between all of this i started developing visuals for the show which were based upon requests from the fashion students. I wanted to increase my conceptual thought so i decided to go back to old college techniques and start creating brain storms to come up with ideas to create visuals rather than just simply “make” them.

In conclusion i think this was an extremely successful project, we made 4 prototypes even after completely scrapping the initial idea for the show which applies to our brief. We also created visual content to go with it and extensively tested our product. Phil and i work very well as a team and i think from this project i would like to create visual content in an alternative way. We have spoken about what we would like to get out of this and we would possibly like to set up some form of business creating concepts like this. It has actually given me a sense of direction in what i would really like to do when i have left university.


Summary of the professional project

•May 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment
Task Date completed/ To be completed
Build first prototype 1st April 2010
Second Prototype 14th April  2010
Third Prototype 24th April 2010
Fourth Prototype 6th May 2010
Projections at the lighthouse theatre Dracula 1st March – 13th March 2010
World cup music video at Christchurch cameraman 22nd March 2010
Fifth and Final Product. 12th June 2010
Touch screen catwalk

Here is the table in which shows the summary of work Phil and I have achieved and hope to achieve on the project.


Latest water screen

•May 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This screen was created for tests involving the circulatory system. We knew that images projected onto the water we now had to test the theory of the reservoir and if we encounter any problems involving splash back and leaks etc.  It was a pain getting it filled up with buckets and we needed a lot of water. We also found out that the pump needs to be completely submerged to work otherwise it doesn’t pump at its full potential. Was quite unfortunate because it means we would have to fill the reservoir up with far more water than intended. Until we managed to lay the pump on its side giving us great results.

We built the reservoir out of chip wood from B and Q and lined it with Water proof membrane. Much cheaper than pond liner or tarp and appeared to of held strong without any leaks. Phil and i nailed it all together in the 3d workshop after we had it cut by guess who? Mr Elliott Trent who happens to work in B and Q.. The wind obviously was a factor as we set it up outside once again and it caused some splash and for the water to miss the reservoir. But we ran the screen for a good 45 minutes with minimal water loss. The size of the reservoir had to be compromised because of the size of the piece of wood, from 2.8 meters to 2.4 which would be another factor of water loss. I’d say it was a very successful test. People even took an interest and Sarah was happy to see it running. She seems to have a lot more confidence in what we are doing.


•May 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This piece was inspired by the old time film countdowns. I found it a challenge to make because the measurements had to be precise. I used a grid layer to be able to place down compositions. The creating a new comp i started creating circle solids and then aligning more solids for the vertical and horizontal template. And then creating an expression for the rotation of the dial to spin every 25 frames to represent seconds. Then i pre-composed the layer and duplicated it multiple times to create multiple countdowns.

The hardet part of the whole thing was trying to create an expression to have some numbers count down and then loop over. After hours of studying expressions i decided to work around it. I made an expression to have the number count down from 9 to 1 and then i cut the composition. I then proceeded to duplicate it and layer up the layers to replicate a loop and voila problem solved. I then applied a tinderbox film layer in which i added dust and scratches to the comp to give it that old look.


•May 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Here are the pdf’s to opur invoices. Phil and I have worked as a group and we now called ourselves FLASHBANG. Cheques were made payable to Phil.



We separated the invoices into 2. The Dracula show and the Fashion Show.

We considered the amount of hours we worked and also the content we produced. Travel was also put into the costs as well as materials. As we are self employed VAT didn’t apply to us which was a bonus. My speculation on the whole invoice part of the project is that most self employed individuals are commissioned a project in the area of work we do. We didn’t work in an official studio which clocks hours so it was difficult to determine how many hours we achieved. The hours are rough estimates, the Fashion show however adds up to the amount of time we shall be working on the show leading up to its actual date in mid june, not up to the crit date.


•May 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This imagery was created with the idea in mind of a blossoming flower. I used the stroke technique in after effects after seperating each petal in Photoshop. Each different layer of petals reveal themselves in a different direction, i did this to create an almost kaleidoscopic reveal of the flower. The first initial idea of creating a blossoming flower was to use the morphing technique from bud to flower but that was too boring. The blur on the flower is also a radial blur which is key framed to reveal once the whole flower has been exposed. Also the composition has also had a rotation expression applied to its rortation value. I also used CC light rays to bring out the colours of the petals and gives it a very vibrant presence.

I also added some particles to create an almost pollen effect to the scene. They have been blurred using a lens blur and turning its shape into an octagon which is blended over using an overlay layer. I wanted them to simply float by almost unnoticed rather than being prominent in the scene.

Colourful Imagery

•May 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This was something i just generated easily using trapcode again and then applying a fractal displacement map on top whilst applying the effect roughen edges on the particles.The colours where also created by blending a ramp colour onto the top of the whole composition using an adjustment layer.