Waaay back in July 2008, we posted a Quickie on Javan Ivey’s beautiful “My Paper Mind” video, produced using a self-devised method called “Stratastencil” (inspired by the Stratacut technique, but with an additive process instead). After watching Javan’s piece, I remember thinking, “It would be nice if somebody took this a little further and made a full spot out of this wicked technique.”
Well, it didn’t take long: Ghost Robot and director Elliot Jokelson just wrapped up this amazing commercial to announce the line-up of the 2009 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. Obviously inspired by Javan’s technique, the piece also references Jen Stark’s amazing paper art.
Ingeniously crafted, the spot—to quote one of our authors—”ticks all the right boxes”: innovative concept, great art direction, wicked animation and transitions, awesome typographic work and a smashing soundtrack to wrap it all up nicely. They even did a full 3D version, how nice!
We caught up with Ghost Robot to find out a bit more about the whole process, here’s what they said:
Both Javan Ivey’s and Jen Stark’s work were major influences on the project, though neither were involved directly with its making. Other points of influence in terms of the animation were the Cassius video for the song “The Sound Of Violence” and pretty much any 80’s movie set in the future for typography.
In terms of our process:
Working with after effects animators and a more traditional cell animator we began by designing the piece digitally. We created a 2D digital animation
with an alpha channel where the cut out space would eventually be. From there we ran the animation through a simulator in after effects which allowed us to approximate what the full animation would look like once cut and layered.
When satisfied with the effect of the digital simulation we then took the 2D digital animation (as an image sequence) to our digital print house where we printed onto 12″x18″ sheets of paper from a massive liquid toner Indigo printer. Each of the 1,336 images were then all cut by hand and photographed on a rig that allowed us to see upto 20 frames at a time.
Photography wise we shot with two identical DSLR cameras. To achieve the proper 3D effect while shooting such a small subject we had to find a way to accommodate a very small inner ocular distance (distance between each of the 2 film planes). Shooting with the cameras side by side would have been impossible as it would have required the bodies and lenses to occupy the same physical space. To fix this we used an angled one way mirror one camera shooting from atop, into the mirror and one camera shooting from behind, through the mirror. These cameras were controlled with through a computer which allowed us to keep all settings on the cameras identical.
These stills were then compiled in after effects and color corrected for the final.
The music is a mash-up a DJ friend of ours made for us: The first half is Phish with Galactic featuring Boots Riley and the second half is combination of Of Montreal and Santogold.
After talking to Ghost Robot, we were curious to see what Javan had to say about such beautiful homage:
This is precisely what I mean every time I say “I’d like to see someone try.” Because I do, I love to see what someone else does with it. They’ve taken the idea and applied manpower and a budget to it, and I’m absolutely floored. It looks great. I mean, I’m kinda bummed I wasn’t invited to the party, but I really enjoy seeing what they’ve done.
Great to see sharing being encouraged and celebrated here.
See how the spot was made here.
Big thanks to Keith Endow for the initial tip!
director: ELLIOT JOKELSON
exec. Producer: MARK DE PACE
exec. Producer: ZACHARY MORTENSEN
producer: MATTHEW ACHTERBERG
art director: ANDREW HAMILTON
lead animator: JASMINA MATHIEU
assistant animator: MIKE HEALY
assistant animator: KELLY GOELLER
music: MICHAEL SALTZMAN
sound design: ROBIN SHORE
color correction: JEROME THELIA
paper printing: B SQUARED
production coordinator: STINE MOISEN
sterographic assistant: TREVOR TWEETON
stereographic consultant: GREG DINKINS
paper consultant: STEVE VARVARO
paper consultant: ANGEL THOMPSON-GEORGES
rig fabricator: RYAN CHERESNICK
production assistant: ALICE MILLAR
fabrication intern: NADIRAH ZAKARIYA, EMMA BEEBE, NATALIA MOLINA, KATIE LOVE, ZACHARIAH DURR, EMILY SEARLE, JUDGE FINKLEA HANG XU, LENA HAWKINS, BRENDA MALIVINI, BASIL WHATLEY, LAILA LOT, JOY SUNJOOFT, BRACEY SMITH, EMMA MEAD, CRYSTAL FARSHCHI, DAN OLAVARRIA, CHRYSTIE COLE, TIERNEY COLE, LISETTE JOHNSON