Minivegas Creates Real-time Idents for S4C

minivegas.jpg

Well, UK studio Minivegas has officially blown my mind. After a year brewing up brilliant ideas, crunching over 50,000 lines of code and shooting live action, they’ve created a campaign of real-time idents for Welsh network S4C that is truly innovative.

The usage of a phrase like “real-time” always demands an explanation. In this case, the wizards at Minivegas worked out several different ways to map audio input from ident voiceovers to various events in live action vignettes of Welsh life. For instance, in “Lights” the audio triggers on and off events for lights in a lighting store while the shop proprietor climbs a ladder. Over 50 HDRI images are composited in real-time to pull off what seems like a totally believable effect.

If it sounds simple, trust me: it’s not. Make sure to watch the “Explained” video for an in-depth explanation of the whole project.

Not content to be one-trick ponies, Minivegas came up with 10 different scenarios for their audio-reactive imagery. The reactive imagery ranges from welding sparks to electric cords to parking lot typography. Sometimes the effect is subtle, sometimes it’s not. Some scenes are more effective than others, but Minivegas’ sheer willingness to experiment is worthy of serious praise.

At the risk of overloading you with buzz-words, Minivegas made sure their solution was an to end-to-end one:

“We’ve built a box that behaves like a digi deck and installed it at the broadcaster’s office. It can communicate with their scheduling system, switch audio feeds from a number of sources, and output synchronized digital video and audio using broadcast standard sources.”

Given that S4C is bi-lingual (in Welsh and English), allowing for flexibility in the voiceover was crucial. What’s great, though, is that the idents also work pretty well without any voiceover at all.

While we’re at it, S4C deserves credit for continuing to fund provocative work like this. They’ve been mentioned here before for other mind-tickling idents, and I hope they continue this kind of patronage.

About the author

Justin Cone

/ justincone.com
Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer and F5. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.

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  • rothermel

    this is nexxxt level!

  • mtgentry

    This is amazing. However the concept works a little better in theory than in reality. I’m not sure if the casual observer would recognize that the movement on screen was being determined by the voice over. Maybe they would make the connection in 50% of the idents? Brilliant work nonetheless.

  • mtgentry: I think that’s actually what makes it successful. Why would anyone need to know? It creates is a recognizable but unique ID each time. I agree though, brilliant.

  • masterblast

    This is mad. kinda weird but very cool site too.

    MB

  • Why can’t people just use quicktime. I tried to load the videos 3 times and they always buffer, then error, then buffer for 2 minutes or so.. play one second of video, and then crash. :( hate navigating sites that don’t work.

  • philly01

    awesome project! Dunno but david you can also click the “download” link to download the vid in qt.(not that it doesnt play for me))

  • holy god. This is freaking brilliant. Code will eat motion graphics soon.

  • ster

    tomato was doing this 4 years ago. hats off to vegas though.

  • Sao Bento at mograph.org also dug up this project by Lambie-Nairn which is similar in concept. Love to see some of those moving, though.

    http://www.glassworks.co.uk/search_archive/jobs/bbc4_ident/

  • Marc B.

    12 months holy crap! They must have had a good budget on these idents?

  • Pretty sweet. I thought it was a little mundane at first but it grew on me, especially after I watched the making of. Wish I knew how to do half of what they needed to accomplish. They even made a freaking box that functions similar to a deck!

    I must agree that the casual viewer is probably not going to get it, so they probably won’t think they’re as brilliant as we do. The only thing that disappoints me is the logo reveal. I think they could have come up with something a little bit smoother.

    By the way, I think they need to write some plugins that can give us real-time motion blur. I could certainly use that!

  • anonymouse