Openers for Drive Conference bring Media and Production together with more focus, intent and preparation than perhaps any other specials we create throughout the year. This is a break-down of the first half of the Session 1 Opener.
In Part 2, I want to crack open some of the 3D animations behind the band as the song unfolds.
PART 2: THE WAVE AND THE RIFF
The theme was “Tonight”, featuring a ridiculous mash-up of “tonight-themed” songs by Jared Hamilton and Matt Adkins, two incredible composers on our team. When the countdown ends, the downbeat of Phil Collins’ “I Can Feel It Coming” exploded with a wave of energy engulfing the guitarist against the Kabuki screen; a synced visualization of his epic power chord! (Also, don’t forget to follow our official Kabuki twitter for the latest on the art of Kabuki: @regroupkabuki)
Below is the final render of the shot from AE. It was a combination of a cheesy stock video of ethereal colors that slowly morph, Red Giant’s Mir plugin for the wave (per the brilliance of Joe Wiggleston, who created the second half of this Opener, which I will leave to him to blog about), lots of glows, hue shifts, color masks and Video Copilot’s Optical Flares. Oh – and about a half million particles generated by multiple Particular layers creating the explosion. You’ll notice the pulsing of the optical flare, which was synced to the percussion track through this entire section.
(Apologies, Vimeo compression is not very friendly to the complex details in this video)
As the wave dissipates, a screaming-loud guitar solo riff with a blast of energy shoots from his guitar, sweeping the screen as he works the awesomeness for the crowd. It was “Bill ‘n Ted” epic, y’all.
The same background elements from the wave were my foundation, but the Ghostbusters-esque proton pack lasers were created with two different instances of Trapcode Particular. The pulse of the yellow trail is synced to the guitar solo. This, by the way, took all night to render about 15-seconds. So insane! Unfortunately the higher-ups nixed my giant marshmallow man sneaking up behind our guitarist. Bleh. : (
THE MACRO LOGO
Now our lead vocalist, Chris Cauley, fresh from his appearance on The Voice, takes center stage, launching into the familiar lyric “I can feel it coming in the air tonight…” Behind him we wanted to augment the ethereal, pulsing beat and synth pads of the band, so we used a combination of the same colorful, pulsing light and Particular background elements as a foundation. Then, I created a roughly 2-minute video I called the “Macro Logo”. In essence, it was the Drive 2013 key art, animated in epic 3D-ness. I was inspired by the closing credits of “The Avengers”, where we see the heros’ uniforms up close, through slow, macro camera moves. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to pay homage to those incredible shots.
HOW WAS IT BUILT?
Modeled in Cinema 4D, the Drive 2013 3D logo was extruded from the Illustrator key art created by our amazing Mike Davis. The zig-zagging red lines were simple planes created directly in C4D, with roughened textures applied. Many of the textures and environment lighting came from the amazing presets designed by Nick Vegas at Greyscale Gorilla. The scene was lit with an HDRI lighting scheme to create dozens of shadows, interesting reflections and fall-off. There were also several virtual soft boxes and spotlights in C4D that augment the geometry, namely the blue and orange lights illuminating the two halves of the word ‘DRIVE’. I setup ten cameras and animated each to perform a unique 10-sec dolly or jib-type move revealing more and more of the logo as it progressed. This allowed us to have, in essence, ten 10-sec B-Roll shots of this up-close, epic logo that could be edited in Premiere to time with the song.
My Personal Seven Different Kinds of Smoke® #4.5B: Using the camera vibrate tag to give just a hint of physical dolly/jib gyration. It is so subtle you probably didn’t notice it, but if I turned it off, things would feel plastic and bleh. Remember, less is more.
Once the rendered frames were brought into After Effects, an identical post effects approach was applied as on the Countdown, though I tweaked the DOF effect to be smaller, to give the feeling that this was a miniature logo we were shooting Macro.
A few raw C4D stills, and their final AE versions (click to view full-size):
As with the Countdown, a full software render is performed to ensure all the cameras move correctly and have the feel I want. Here is that render:
And once all the pieces are put together, here’s the final Macro Logo sequence:
Alright, you’ve made it this far, may as well hang in there for one final installment, and it’s a doozy! In Part 3: Farming we’ll take a quick look at how we render all this craziness. Oh, and be sure to go back and read Part 1: The Countdown if you missed it.