The Brighton Creatives girls arm in arm with our new intern Judit had a little BC night out last Thursday at The Brighton Corn Exchange.
Soundscreen, organised by Pop Up Brighton as part of the Brighton Digital Festival was a show we had been looking forward to for some time, and it felt like the perfect opportunity to break some ice over some ice cold beverages.
Walking into the Corn Exchange was not how I pictured it would be. The main entrance right opposite Pompoko was closed, and we walked into the Dome bar, before using the side entrance. I was half expecting a huge room with visuals at one end and everyone standing around but instead was installed raised seating, meaning everyone in the audience had a great view of both the performers and the projection screen. 15 visual artists, 3 bands. They spent 6 weeks collaborating and creating visuals to their 5 songs. Bands: The Hundredth Anniversary, Luo and Phoria. Visual artists: Asaturrs, Barry Anderson, FishBoy, Florence Barkway, Jack Bonnington, James Cheetham, Jim Howells, Joseph Rodrigues Marsh / Daisy Emily Warne, Marco Barneto, Melissa Kitty Jarram, Patrick Rowan, Phil Mayne, Richard Gladman, Rory Cahill, Rowan Briscoe and Tavan Maneetapho.
First up were The Hundredth Anniversary, Brighton four piece who have been making waves recently. We have been impressed by their website creation for their latest offering, Last Drive. The website created and coded by the band themselves. Make sure you click the arrows to provide different animated backgrounds to their lofi sounds. Their live performance suited all 5 of their visual artists, the moving image fit perfectly to their dreamy sounds, images of landscapes, and soft rainbow colours. Here is one of our favourite videos of the night created by Asatuurs.
Luo blow us away! After some primary research we had seen he was a solo artist, supporting the likes of Venetian Snares at Audio last September. This time armed with a full band, including an insane drummer. Luo’s music starting slow with ridiculous build ups, they kept you hanging on, to bring you back down, then another build up. Perfect electronic music. I was tapping my feet and nodding my head (pretty much the only movement you can make whilst being sat in an auditorium type arrangement) but at points just wanted to jump up and dance. We will without a doubt be at his next show. Below, enjoy this imaginative video by artist Melissa Kitty Jarram.
You could argue that Phoria stole the show, with help from Emily Appleton Holley and her orchestra. I always believe that adding strings to an already complete band, then times that with electronica sounds does seem to make the it all that much more pressing and epic. We had been seeing images and quick clips from their rehearsals at Brighton Electric (website by Brighton Creatives) which was building our excitement for the performance, and we were not let down.
Phoria was teamed with visual artist Jim Howells. We contacted him to ask him some questions about his Soundscreen experience. You’ll have to wait a little while longer to see the full video. It’ll be worth it.
Soundscreen paired you with Phoria, how were you paired? How did you find working with the band?
The organisers of the event (Pop Up Brighton) allowed us to vote for which band we would most like to work with. The bands also voted on which video artist they would like to work with. We were then paired up at the initial meeting.
The band were great to work with. They had experience of creating their own stage visuals so were well versed in the process. They were happy to let me have creative freedom to do anything I liked in response to the music. I kept them updated on a daily basis with “work in progress” and luckily, they were very excited about my concept from the outset.
Did you come up with some ideas for the video before working with the band after hearing ‘Atomic’ or was that something that came after a meeting?
We only had one initial meeting and there wasn’t really a great deal of in-depth creative discussion. However, they did choose which tracks would suit which artist based on our showreels and previous work. The idea for the video came from listening to the track and trying to capture the atmosphere. I put headphones on and write down the emotions, movements and images that come to me in response to the track. It’s usually a list of single words that I can expand on and develop later.
The second half of the process is looking at my ideas sheet and deciding which ones will to be practical to achieve in the timescale. This is where “things get real” and the look and feel of the piece usually develops organically from this process. It’s about constraining your ideas to the tools and time available whilst still achieving your creative goal.
Obviously you can’t give us a step by step guide to how you created these visuals, but could you give us a brief idea? Do you draw the animals featured in the video frame by frame and then take them into a post editing software like After Effects or Final Cut? Whats your working process like?
The deer and the wolves are computer generated in 3D. This allowed me full control over their movements, textures, lighting and camera angles. I created a bank of short animations for each animal (walking, running, charging, stalking, attacking etc.) then created different shots in slow motion. The ideas was to create a sense of conflict and opposing force.
About halfway through the film, I realised I would need a third entity to complete the loose narrative. The winged creature was created again in CG. I used a cloth simulation to “stitch” together strips of virtual fabric into a ghost-like, spirit. The urgency of the deer and the wolf played well against the slow, billowing movement of the winged “entity”
After Effects was used to composite all the shots and add extra elements such as the meteor shower, particle effects and landscapes.
As I was squeezing this project around my other work, the process was very much “straight ahead”. I was making a lot of things up as I went along. I wasn’t even sure where it was going at times but thankfully it worked out OK in the end.
We will be in attendance at Soundscreen 2014, and so should you.
Emilie & Jen