|Projection mapping installation relies on Adobe Creative Cloud tools
It almost had to happen. Tom Wait’s spooky spoken word song “What’s He Building in There,” is so evocative, so visual
that it’s like film that plays in your mind. The challenge, though, is how to actually make a film that does justice to the genius of the original piece.
Ricardo Rivera, visual artist, filmmaker, and founder of Klip Collective
, began exploring video projections when he worked as a club VJ in Philadelphia. “In 1998 I was playing around with Photoshop and discovered how to map images to surfaces,” recalls Rivera. “When After Effects added the ability to preview work through a mini DV connection, I discovered that I could easily play content through a digital projector.” Rivera pointed the projector at a wall in his kitchen and used it to canvas the surfaces. “Then I masked all of the elements in the kitchen using Photoshop and created what was, in effect, a multi-channel projection feed through one projector and one feed.”
Once Rivera had figured out the workflow, the possibilities were endless. Today Klip Collective holds two patents on projection mapping, a technique whereby video content is projected onto non-traditional display surfaces such as the sides of buildings, often as site-specific art. Different physical surfaces come to life in unexpected ways in a dance of shapes, color, and imagery, melding the permanence of architecture with the transience of light. These are the kinds of new frontiers for art that digital tools make possible.
“We map with After Effects, tap into a projector with a laptop as a second or third display to get the 1:1 ratio, and then map the resolution,” explains Rivera. “The key is to maintain the 1:1 pixel ratio so that the final result remains visually coherent across the various surfaces and angels. It has to be accurate down to the millimeter for everything to work. It’s a very intense process.”
In addition to working with Photoshop CC and After Effects CC, the team recently switched to Adobe Premiere Pro CC. “We initially used Final Cut Pro but moving to Premiere Pro makes our workflow so much faster,” says Rivera.” The integration between the Adobe products is fantastic.”
And they’ve had commercial success with the approach as well: the company works with ad agencies or directly with a diverse list of clients, including organizations such as Central Park Conservancy, the New York Public Library, and Temple University to brands like Gillette, NBC Sports, New Balance Nike/Jordan, Target, Urban Outfitters, and more. Visual installations by Klip Collective have been featured in commercials, music videos, and films, as well as a whole range of different corporate, sporting, and social events.
And that’s where Tom Waits comes back into the story. Last year Klip Collective created a brilliant 15-minute projection-mapped installation of What’s He Building in There
? as part of the New Frontier exhibit at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Projecting onto a suitably scary-looking building, the imagery took the viewer through the walls revealing strange goings-on in different parts of the structure. Then the walls seem to slide down into the ground, exposing the entire interior of the building. A remarkable piece in it’s own right, it also solves the problem of how to bring Tom Waits’ song to the “big screen” without losing it’s strangeness, or diluting the drama of the original piece with conventional storytelling techniques.
This year, Klip Collective is back at Sundance with a clever pre-roll trailer
honoring past festival favorites, which is being shown at all film screenings, making it the only film this year that every Sundance attendee will see. The piece is a narrative, incorporating live action panels and 3D animation projected onto the front of the Egyptian Theater in Park City. A 10-minute story plays out and then loops back into abstract geometric forms against the complex façade of the building. The Egyptian Theater projections themselves will also be included in the Sundance New Frontier exhibit as part of a short called What’s He Projecting In There
“We used Photoshop for compositing and to create the setting,” says Rivera. “Then we brought that into After Effects and composited everything together to build the base map.” The team filmed all of the live action on green screen. “There are four zones and the characters moved between them.” The Klip crew used Premiere Pro for editing and then moved to After Effects for the final compositing and timing. They used two HD projectors side by side to project the video onto the theater.
“I love how Dynamic Link lets me do a little bit of editing in Premiere Pro, easily go into After Effects for the mapping, and then finish in Premiere Pro, utilizing the alpha channel masks for the piece,” enthuses Rivera. “It’s so much more efficient than if we had to render content every time we wanted to move between our tools.”
And Kilp Collective is already developing ideas for new projects that open up the interiors of buildings to tell their stories. “We have a new project in the works called Vacant America,” says Rivera. “I’ll tour America with my team and do site-specific installations on vacant buildings. For example, we may film a Campbell’s soup can factory and tell a story about that location through the use of projection mapping and the experiences of people who worked there. We’re currently bring partners on board and there’s a lot of interest in this project.”
Learn more about Klip Collective 2013 - or check out the Klip Collective Art Reel 2013
Learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud
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Adobe will be at the Sundance Film Festival again this year in support of emerging independent filmmakers and great new cinema.
Adobe will present a special filmmakers panel
Friday, January 17th from 3-4:30pm MST at the New Frontiers Microcinema: Engaging Story, Brilliant Visuals, Low Budget - the changing face of independent film. Presenters on the panel
include filmmakers Kyle Alvarez, HaZ Dullul, and Jim Mickle. This event will be available as a live webcast
for anyone around the world who wants to learn more about how emerging filmmakers are making higher quality films on small, or even micro-budgets.
During the festival, the Adobe Creative Cloud products can be seen at the HP booth at Sundance House. There student filmmakers will be hard at work on short films using the Creative Cloud video applications on HP workstations. Visitors can try out the Creative Cloud tools themselves, including Adobe Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC on demo machines, and artist and animator Dustin Grella will present a Sundance Animation Hotline
using crowd-sourced voicemail messages and Adobe Creative Cloud to create unique interpretive animations.
Throughout the Sundance Film Festival, Meagan Keane and the Adobe TV crew will be covering events and interviewing filmmakers. You can view these videos on the Sundance channel on Adobe TV
More information about Adobe’s Sundance Film Festival activities and information on Creative Cloud for filmmakers can be found on the Adobe at Sundance Film Festival mobile app
. You can also enter to win
a free HP ZBook 15” mobile workstation with a DreamColor display and Thunderbolt™ and a one-year Adobe Creative Cloud membership.
offers a complete creative toolset with regular updates for a low monthly membership. Increasing numbers of filmmakers are relying on Creative Cloud for cost-effective production applications – as well as other creative tools to present and promote their work. We are excited that the majority of films at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival used Adobe software for part or all of their post-production work (133 out of the 187 accepted films). Adobe congratulates all the Sundance 2014 filmmakers!
Register for the Adobe at Sundance filmmaker panel live webcast on January 17
Access the Adobe at Sundance Film Festival app from your mobile device
Animated short film leverages tools in Adobe Creative Cloud
Drew Christie is a new kind of multimedia artist, as comfortable with pen and ink as he is with computers and creative software. Allergy to Originality
, which will be shown at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is a case in point, demonstrating how fluidly he moves between natural media and digital image manipulations.
Combining illustration with animation, the short film riffs on the theme of originality and plagiarism with long passages lifted verbatim from Wikipedia. The piece maintains a natural hand-drawn feel along with the uneven, slightly jumpy cinema of the old silent movies.
“I started creating animation before I knew what animation was,” recalls Christie. “When I was a young child I filmed my Star Wars figures using my dad’s video camera. It just went on from there.”
He’s been using Adobe creative tools since he started to get serious about art and animation. “They’ve just always been there,” he says. “I started experimenting with Photoshop and After Effects when I was in high school.” Along with Adobe Illustrator CC and Flash Professional CC, Christie’s primary filmmaking tools are Adobe Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC.
Many of Christie’s short films, such as his 2012 Sundance selection, The Song of the Spindle
, are like a visual editorial, offering insight, artistry, and a whole lot of whimsy in a fun, handcrafted package. “I do a lot of non-fiction based work, so I’m often researching topics, so Wikipedia always comes up,” says Christie. “That’s where the idea for Allergy to Originality
came from. There’s also a certain style to the language in Wikipedia that I find really funny.
“I’m also quite inspired by Soviet-era animation from the Eastern European countries. It was a thriving filmmaking scene that served as a way to communicate complex and abstract ideas, not just have cute animals go on adventures. For me, animation serves as a bridge between the disparate worlds of research, reportage, memoir, art, illustration and film.”
All of the images in Allergy to Originality
began on paper as drawings using pen and ink, which Christie then painted over with acrylics giving the images a washed water-color appearance. “I scanned in each image and brought them into After Effects,” he explains. “In After Effects I color corrected the images for color and lighting continuity and morphed each image into three frames. This gave me ten drawings per second, or 30 fps in filmspeak.”
To enhance the natural-medium look of the film, Christie overlaid paper texture onto the images before rendering out the complete sequence. Then he brought the whole project into Adobe Premiere Pro CC where he synced the audio and added a self-composed music track.
The result is a visually striking and very funny short film depicting a discussion between a theater patron who is lamenting the lack of original ideas in the movies, and the ticket seller who has an answer for everything – courtesy of everyone’s favorite online encyclopedia.
Meanwhile Drew Christie continues as a one-man cottage industry turning out beautiful and humorous content at a remarkable rate. He produces animated TV commercials, album artwork, is working on an illustrated book and creates editorial content for The New York Times http://query.nytimes.com/search/sitesearch/#/drew+christie, The Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/20/5-steps-relaxation_n_1609912.html,
and Vanity Fair http://video.vanityfair.com/series/vanity-code.
He even finds time to keep up a lively, and lovingly-illustrated blog on his web site http://www.drewchristie.com/blog/.
Christie became a Creative Cloud member a year ago, not long after the new Adobe subscription model was first announced. He found it an easy decision to make since he uses so many of the tools. “I like keeping my applications up-to-date,” he explains. “It’s so easy to go up to the navigation bar and sync to the latest versions. It’s much more streamlined and I love that there are no boxes and serial numbers to keep track of.”
“Adobe is the real deal for filmmaking and gives you all the essential tools,” he continues. “I have used After Effects for 12 years for animation work. It’s like the invisible hand that allowed me to make a film that doesn’t look like it was done on a computer.”
Creative Cloud member Drew Christie is an animator, illustrator, filmmaker, and artist. Learn more at http://www.drewchristie.com
Adobe will be at Sundance! Join us for a live-streamed filmmaker panel:
Engaging Story, Brilliant Visuals, Low Budget - the changing face of independent film
Friday, January 17, 2014 at 2:00 PM PT - http://adobe.ly/p6ZMbd
Creative Cloud powers the production workflow for Reactor 88
Reactor 88 is an independent production company based near Chicago with a unique focus on creating films based on role-playing game narratives. The company’s first production, InSpectres
was released in September 2013 and the team is hard at work on their second film, Dead News Report
. We spoke with Darren Orange, CEO of Reactor 88, about their films, their inspiration, and their tools.
What drew you into filmmaking?
It was a complete accident. I wanted to make video games originally, but when I made a short film to illustrate the concept for a video game idea, I got hooked on the filmmaking part. I dropped my game aspirations and start making movies. I made a lot of short films at first and it grew from there. I will never forget my first project. The weather was extremely cold and we were all in shorts and t-shirts but I had such a blast working with my team. It brought home to me how collaborative filmmaking is. I realized I would never have experiences like this in video game work - fun though that must be, too.
What is it about role-playing games that provides great content for films?
Role-playing games at their core have always been more about telling stories than about creating worlds. And for me personally, as a filmmaker it makes sense to me to focus on telling great stories. There are a lot of other creative people in the role-playing game world who are passionate about creating the worlds. I am comfortable relying on their talents and putting my efforts into the characters and how the narrative unfolds from their personalities. This is another example of the collaborative aspect of filmmaking that I love.
How long have you been using Adobe Premiere Pro?
I've used Adobe Premiere since 1999. I started on version 5.1 or 5.0. I originally learned how to use the software to create anime music videos. Only after that did I realize I could make any kind of film this way. Learning to edit was amazingly liberating: I realized what kind of power this put into my hands. Later on I drifted over to Final Cut, but I'm back with Premiere Pro now.
What made you switch back to Premiere Pro?
To be honest it’s kind of hard to say why I ever left Premiere Pro. I think maybe it was just peer pressure. I came back because Premiere started to support so many different native formats, including H.264, which we used to shoot InSpectres
. It was so much easier to work in Premiere Pro than it was in the other software. I'm glad to say that I'm staying with Premiere Pro now for good: it's just the best editing platform out there, no question. Adobe has done a fantastic job at pushing development and making the Creative Cloud video tools into the most capable, the most dynamic, and the most complete workflow solution there is.
You used Adobe Audition extensively on InSpectres.
Yes we used Audition for pretty much all the sound for InSpectres, from sweetening the audio recorded on location to adding sound effects to the final mix and 5.1 surround sound for our DCP for our theatrical release. We worked in Audition over an eight-month period and it was a great experience. We pushed the limits of our hardware, but the software could just keep on going. The most impressive thing for me was the noise reduction, which allowed us to retain over 90% of our location sound: it was a massive time and cost saver. But it also matters to me as a director to be able to use as much of our original audio as possible.
Was it hard for you as a video editor to get used to Audition?
Audition was easy for me to pick up and learn. It felt like I was editing video so I found the transition was very easy. My co-producer Sean Czaja has lots of experience doing sound work and he was also able to get up to speed in Audition very quickly.
Sean also did all of our visual effects shots for InSpectres
in After Effects.
In your next film you are moving to an all Creative Cloud workflow. What led to that decision?
I don't want to have to worry about which applications will work with which, or whether they will support industry standard formats and cameras. And I need support I can count on, no question. Simply put: Adobe rocks when it comes to working with everything out there on the market and the community around Adobe is like none other. Another thing that matters to me, which many filmmakers seem to forget about, is that, at some point, you are going to have to archive your work. Do you want to archive your work across all kinds of different software and be unsure of future support? Again, Adobe is the clear choice for me.
Tell us about your next project.
Dead News Report
is a post-apocalyptic story about a group of survivors trying to reach a news station which they discover is still broadcasting. This film has been a long time coming. The original concept was created by my mentor Bill Allan back in 2002. Since then, a lot of things have changed: it’s no longer a kind of newsroom drama, but much more of an epic story. While there are zombies in the picture, the film focuses on the characters. The story is all about people finding their purpose in life and how that purpose can affect others.
Is it hard to move from comedy to such intense drama?
Not really. I generally lean towards more serious work anyway. That being said Dead News Report
is going to be challenging for the actors in terms of where they need to go emotionally. I try to learn everything I can about everything involved with the film. This includes researching real-world examples of the emotions that the characters experience. I think as a director not only do you need to be technically excellent and really connect with the actors, but you really need to feel what the actors are going though. It's a kind of empathy, getting that connection with the performance and helping the actors get there by understanding how the things that they are experiencing would affect people in real life.
Where do you hope to go with Reactor 88?
We have a whole slate of films that we would like to produce. We have a very pragmatic strategy. We want to keep our focus on turning games into movies. The feature after Dead News Report
gets back to that and we already have the first draft for that script. Going forward I hope we will evolve into a preeminent intellectual property production company.
What would you advise someone who is considering moving to the Creative Cloud production tools?
What are you waiting for? Take everything you're doing now and just plug it in. The system is designed to support your workflow at any stage. Take any scripts or concepts and get them into Adobe Story and go from there. It’s so nice having every part of pre-production to postproduction all in one place and knowing that all the pieces will work seamlessly with each other. It runs on OSX or PC and there is even a free version of Story. Get started now, there's no excuse!
Darren Orange has been a Creative Cloud member since July 2013. He is the founder of Reactor 88 and has been at the head of its production development since 2003.
To learn more about Reactor 88 visit www.r88s.com
To learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud: http://www.adobe.com/products/speedgrade.html?sdid=KIWHJ
Try Adobe Creative Cloud:
Richard Jobson uses all Adobe Pipeline on Wayland’s Song
We really pushed the boundaries of what you can do with the Creative Cloud software. For me, it's almost like being in a punk band again with Adobe: SpeedGrade and After Effects are my drummer and my bass player and Premiere Pro is my guitarist, who’s been getting much better. I have my band, and now I can tell my stories.
- Richard Jobson
Leveraging the complete Adobe Creative Cloud toolset, Wayland’s Song
, which premiered at Cannes on May 25, 2013, was written and directed by Richard Jobson. A former movie critic and television host, Jobson started his career as the charismatic front man for 1970’s punk band, The Skids. After working in broadcast, he began screenwriting in 2000 and was soon directing short films and game cinematics. Early writing and directing highlights included Heartlands
, and 16 Years or Alcohol
As an independent filmmaker Jobson brings a practical, can-do attitude to his work, producing movies that are technically innovative and pioneering in terms of subject matter; such as his visually powerful 2009 human trafficking short, The Journey
Filmmaker Richard Jobson speaks about Waylands Song at Adobe&Filmmakers event.
Already familiar with Photoshop and After Effects, Jobson started editing with Adobe Premiere Pro in 2011 to conform and finish The Somnambulists – an arresting portrayal of fallen service personnel, recounting their experiences in Iraq, from beyond the grave.
“Premiere Pro allowed me to go back to the original, native rushes that I shot in camera, without changing or degrading the image,” said Jobson. No other software allowed me to do that. With Premiere Pro’s dynamic link to After Effects, completing the film in Adobe software was a no-brainer for me.”
For his latest feature film, Wayland’s Song
, Richard Jobson moved to an all Adobe workflow: Starting with Adobe Story Plus, which he used for script editing, preproduction planning, and to generate detailed production schedules, all the material was moved smoothly through Adobe Prelude, Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Adobe Audition, and finally SpeedGrade for finishing.
Creating Wayland’s Song
Inspired by a Nordic myth, Wayland’s Song
tells the story of a British soldier returning from Afghanistan. While the world he left behind him seemed dark and medieval, the world he returns to appears little better. He discovers that his daughter has disappeared and the film follows his search for her, a journey through friendship, tragedy and ultimately revenge.
“I have always loved a kind of graphic sensibility in my stories,” reflected Jobson. “The Wayland character has almost been lifted from a graphic novel. I love that type of thing. In all of my films I use the camera and lighting to create this quality.”
was beautifully shot on the Canon C300 by Director of Photography Andrei Austin. Offload, back-up and ingest was done with Adobe Prelude, which the production team used for shot-logging, adding metadata for use in postproduction, and pre-editing.
Adobe Prelude was used for camera file ingest and shot logging on Wayland's Song.
Visual effects and graphics were created entirely in Photoshop and After Effects, including a series of colorful, experimental sequences portraying the main character’s collapse into a seizure. “I suffer from epilepsy myself, and I wanted to visualize that overwhelming sensory experience, where mind and body are flooded with light and you enter a world of hyper reality,” said Jobson.
The film was edited by Steven Sander in Adobe Premiere Pro. Moving to a native workflow allowed for a much faster pipeline that required no transcoding or rewrapping of files. XDCAM, Apple ProRes and H.264 codecs were all mixed on the same timeline in a smooth, seamless process. The combination of HP hardware, an Nvidia Quadro 5000 graphics card and the Mercury Playback Engine in Premiere Pro eliminated rendering from the editing process and allowed instant feedback when working with complex visual effects.
“I was instantly impressed by the speed and responsiveness of Premiere Pro,” said Sander. “It seemed to handle everything we threw at it and it was great to be able to switch between Mac and Windows hardware, as needed, without converting sequences or media.”
Audio clean-up and mixing was done in Adobe Audition by musician and composer Keith Atack, who previously worked with Jobson on Heartlands and 16 Years of Alcohol. “This was a really fun and challenging project. A number of the team have a background in video game production and we tried to bring some of that dynamic to both the visuals and the sound design,” said Atack. “Audition lets me to work quickly and intuitively, allowing me as a sound designer to stay in the creative moment and get instant feedback. That was really useful for the more experimental sections of the film.”
Audio editing for Wayland's Song was done in Adobe Audition.
Grading and finishing were completed in SpeedGrade by colorist Dado Valentic at his MyTherapy facility in central London. Valentic has been a longtime SpeedGrade user.
“We actually developed the looks for the project in SpeedGrade before we started production,” explained Jobson. “This allowed us to view our shots as they came in with the creative looks applied. It was really helpful - just one of the ways that these tools allowed us to work faster and more efficiently.”
Colorist Dado Valentic talks about his work with SpeedGrade on Wayland's Song.
“Richard gave me a lot of creative freedom on this project,” said Valentic, “so I could really put SpeedGrade through its paces. I applied technical looks, which I created to adjust the camera color spaces, along with the creative looks Richard used during production. With SpeedGrade, all of these color adjustments are layered so it’s easy to combine all of them for a final result that is both color corrected and stylized with the artistic look of the film.”
Filmmaking with Adobe Creative Cloud
Jobson joined Creative Cloud in 2012, soon after it became available, and couldn’t be happier with the service and the tools. “Adobe Story Plus gives me a great place to start my projects, and with the whole package I have all the tools for production right through to finishing. This software gives me the freedom to make films the way I want to make them.”
Wayland’s Song premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival on May 18 and will see theatrical distribution in the UK and Europe in September 2013.
Learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud here: http://adobe.ly/ZyiScn
Join Richard Jobson for a free Ask a Video Pro online seminar at 10 am PST on June 13, 2013 - http://adobe.ly/p6ZMbd