A project on behalf of Swarm-UK agency; helping develop the show, plan the technical, logistical and creative delivery of this fun “crystal maze” style event. The following from Swarm’s news Blog:
Swarm teamed up with brand designer Peter Dobie and his Designhouse team to create a stunning Brand Experience for the top 120 management council at the Dutch Bank ING. The brief was simple – design a stunning interactive journey for the bankers to be taken out of their comfort zone and engage with the brand and its projected view to employees and customers.
The challenges came from everywhere including the challenge of satisfying the 120 top people in a bank who have probably seen everything?! How do you include the Dutch brand value ‘orange’? How to include all of the senses? How to fit everything into a real life bank and bank vault in a historical part of Brussells.
Peter created the concept and we delivered the whole event in 2 weeks despite it being in Brussells. A great team effort from Ray and Richard.
Being honest, it was great fun. I would have liked to include a few clever nuances from the world of gamification but time was against the team. Client feedback was overwhelming so I mustn’t grumble!!
The client feedback was indeed amazing:
Dear Tim & Richard,
Thank you so much for the wow effect on this project!! I was more than happily surprised on the way you and your team worked on site and produced the Brand Experience.
Because we hadn’t worked with you on a project before we didn’t know what to expect, but the outcome was wonderful.
So again thank you very much for your patience, flexibility, professionalism, for making this project happen in a less flexible situation.
You and your team where so in control that I felt that I was in your way instead of helping!! … For the future if I ever have a production in the UK or of this calibre I know where to find you!!
EMPIRE Cinemas; Audio driven dynamic pre-show “Son et Lumiere”.
© Richard Grant.
This project brings together fascinating elements including dynamically generated digital animations and signal input reactive software.
Any music or audio/video feed drives the bespoke PC environment controlling the multitude of animations and images. Further, text and specific images can be added to push home a marketing or safety message. The digital output is then projected onto one of the largest screens in central London to create a stunning immersive and absorbing audio and video environment. It is a true “Son et Lumiere”, fully digital, fully dynamic.
I was asked by the head of technical for EMPIRE cinemas to create a unique pre-show. The brief was to cost and produce a laser based 360 degree light show to illustrate the upgraded sound system in Screen 1, Leicester Square.
I budgeted 3 cost options for this original premise based on laser power and colour options and pitched them to Head of technical and the MD at EMPIRE. The concept was that a laser line should be projected around the auditorium taking in some 350m of linear show line from 4 lasers to give coverage and intensity required. As sound effects were added to the mix the line would animate and react to the noise as it passed each speaker position to illustrate the technical positioning of the system using an animation feature. I created a simple animated GIF showing the basic principle based on an original written story board:
Scripted Sonic story board:
Lights fade, intense white line approx 50mm wide appears. It flickers…shimmers. We wait…25 seconds (think red scan line from start of “aliens” ship salvage team in white).
From left rear record scratch comes in and animation starts. Vinyl Record scratch sine wave animation moves around auditorium, scratch… scratch. As the wave passes the front screen it gets huge and a loud deep bump is heard (as if from record scratch/damage) to show off LF system.
This repeats a number of times to educate audience to show format. 45 or 33 rpm to allow for room dimensions of course…
Animation changes on this pass from rear to square wave (digital format and audio adjusts to suit) Bleeps and "dots" appear across the auditorium and tie in with quick staccato bursts of square wave animation .I want the animation to provide flashes of light around the auditorium to give a sense of drama across the space and sound stage.
From square wave we see mobile phones animate from the line and as they travel round the audio suggests them fading out or die-ing off in time with the animation to suggest switch off time. Crisp packets animate and audio pointers as above.
From a simple start to developing into a full extravaganza combining:
Close encounters audio/light level approach ( last 15 minutes or so of film) with Fugue in "D" Minor and a trance party meets BBC audio recordings. All in 5:1 with animation enforcing surround mix. The animation would use sine wave peaks of different size to give more or less light in the room to amplify the audio effect. I want it to build to a crescendo a bit like the Beatles Sgt pepper meets smashing pumpkins meets an organ recital, all tempered by the style and deference to close encounters. It is a classis Son et Lumiere…© Richard Grant
I loved the idea of using the different scientific wave types to illustrate a creative idea:
Having pitched the idea the concept was very well received; on reflection and considering the technical and install costs the client altered the brief to utilise the existing recently installed Digital Projectors. I re-submitted the project based on this technology and extensively researched the simplest way to adapt a dynamic animation to react to audio being played via the surround system in the auditorium.
My Research showed the best way to achieve the desired effect was to use off the shelf VJ software and adapt it and the produced show to suit the mood and look required. On discussion my client loved the look of a simple screen saver and it became a vital visual anchor for the look of the shows:
In my opinion it is crucial to have an agreed reference or source that all parties can relate to as a start line for future ideas and show elements. This saves misunderstandings and manages expectations from both sides. I then produced and saved shows based on this initial look to achieve the ambience and feel required. The terrific part being the software used allowed the look of the show to be designed yet it reacts instantly to audio played through the system and the level and intensity of reaction can be set for both volume and music dynamic. Further images can be created and added to the show file for delivering focused messages on show animations. It is truly reactive and progressive.
A simple laptop based system with HDMI output was specified and this was simply plumbed into the main servers allowing for very easy integration and adjustment of the parameters. I authored an easy to use diagrammatically based instruction manual as well as instructions for general use and set-up. An excellent project with impressive results.
This can be seen at Screen 1 (grab image to rotate and pan), Leicester Square.
Following a decade of research and background reading I have been in written and Skype contact with a leading NASA department head in relation to a dramatic real time story that will affect everybody on Earth. I have recently collated my notes from these conversations and formed a narrative arc to combine the story threads into this dramatic and potentially horrific work.
It is truly Science Fiction butting up hard against Science Fact and I am adding a philosophical element to elucidate some of the technical aspects. Akin to “Zen and the art of…” but for Orbital mechanics.
Abstract Extract below © Richard Grant/Coalesce:
“That night I looked up into the lit sky at the wisps and could see only the spiders web in my mind. A huge husk of tiny points so fine as to be almost imperceptible. Clearer where they clustered in the now famous streaks. Back yard comets and orbital angel dust. I felt like never before, a bundled fly.
They are beautiful. Stunning, almost invisible and when a particularly large piece spins into view, picked up by the glint of the starlight it looks just the same as a drop of water on a strand of silk curved by the breeze. Sometimes, when you have spent too long staring up, when they slip into the foreground like the crazy frost pattern inside a cold-side window, as they become the backdrop for late night love; a kiss under the stars, just a speckled silver backdrop like a pin-pricked drape at a theatre.”
Abstract Extract below © Richard Grant/Coalesce:
“The first launches were a wonder to behold. At Base we were shown them, pilot propaganda reminding us our important role in the moral, social and technological progress of the free World. These recordings often take me back to when I was five or six and first saw a launch on the TV So big and loud I couldn’t figure what it really was and didn’t really understand any of it anyway. But I knew I had to be there soon. I thought for years that the rocket was a giant tube that sucked the clouds through it at the top and spat them out the back as it climbed. I wanted then to be in it. Watch as it swallowed the sky and left it behind. Burned but clean. I guess each time we watch those repeats all the cadets are reminded of young fantasies and strange misunderstood thoughts. Harsh reality bites a little harder, no fluffy clouds or cotton wool landscapes. The combination of soft flesh cargo, explosive charged propulsion and hard, cold composite ceramic skin was never an easy mix.
The climb glider launches certainly cut some of these risk factors out, but when this type of launch was made illegal due low orbit debris collision risk. The Field Path and high escape velocity Chemical Rocket method was it. The soft option suddenly wasn’t an option.
Instead of the Fast and loud approach used by rocket launch systems; Climb Gliders were immense and beautiful. Elegant Swans looking for love.
They have the longest wing Span of any craft. Slim wings like Dragonflies and below, slung possum fashion a payload. For the first 40 minutes or so a fairly conventional jet engine would climb continuously. Laboriously, yet efficiently lifting the payload with us in it higher and higher. When the Earth’s atmosphere became too thin to sustain conventional jet operation the Ramjets took over. These were really the same jets but they started to burn secondary fuel to fill the expansion exhausts. If a major system failed the option always existed to re-enter and glide to a pre-assigned landing zone. The real luxury of the Glider was time. Time to look at the planet below and it’s landmasses and Seas, cloud systems and landmarks. Almost as much valuable research could occur on the way up as once we were at our final destination.
Even more satisfying was the gradual ascent into weightlessness.
It was said the slow journey was like a morphine dope drip. I could only guess, as I don’t think they ever put me on one of those. We called it “High Class” and once you have experienced it’s special sensational hospitality little else compares. All your needs were taken care of and you wanted for little else”
More information as this develops.
Paul O’Grady LIVE Show:
Following on and in tandem with my extensive involvement with the Channel 4 series and its action props I was asked to push and develop concepts and ideas for action props and scenic elements when Paul moved to ITV, examples below:
Concepts and tech proposals for live action props for use during Halloween and Kylie Minogue specials:
Tour Manager for France (Deauville) and Japan (Tokyo NTV) and joint duties across the globe. Full global recce’s and crew assessment with Emmy award winning Art Director Dominic Hyman . Inputted with concept & Production design and key role in logistical and technical planning. Further development & creative input into future projects and tour shows.
Logistics / Tour Manager
Fire Safety + Regulations.
AV equipment installation
Management of Load and unload of 3 MEGA Trail units or 4 hi-Ball Sea containers for global destinations. Crew & Plant planning and acquisition negotiation. Hands on prop and show repair and creation as required.
Unique B2B & Viral marketing Exhibition:
The show is a block busting and novel business to business (B2B) and exhibition to viral pre-launch marketing drive that was a huge success. A good example of more traditional cross-marketing use is the following photo shoot:
Alice in Wonderland/Disney – Berlin – Gala Magazine Fashion Shoot:
The following are shots taken throughout the show illustrating the complexity and vibrancy of the project. It wowed audiences across the globe and was based on dark walk pulsed crowd principles.
Further images showing some of the stunning locations myself and the team took the show. Cheers Alice: Below Left: Bob Wishart (CM), Dominic Hyman (TM/AD) & Richard Grant (TM/LM) in San Diego. Below Right: Tokyo! (Dan McGee) Below below Left: Stunning Deauville Hotel. Below below Right: Recce location, Madrid.
Technically the show was complex and comprehensive involving secure power supplies, generator secretion, security, multi language crews and a million other on the day issues to resolve safely, securely and in budget:
Peter Weir: The Way Back.
UK Based coordinator (AGOG Creative effects) for large Ice effect element shot in Bulgaria. Three MEGA Trailer units filled with specialist equipment and materials including bespoke raft ice system. Developed highly safe method of creating a moving ice flow on a River whilst allowing crew to dress and adjust in a very demanding environment.
English Heritage visitor centre. Pendennis Castle – Main model; on behalf of Paragon Creative:
A very unusual project involving Geographical procedures, cartography, sculpture, structural materials use and detailed model making. Lit and illustrated by LED and fibre optics. The model is based on OS maps of the terrain and photos and illustrations. The Site covers hundreds of years of military usage, from ancient earthworks to WWII gunnery placements including Victorian barracks!
It was a complex build and took careful consideration to get it accurate and strong, this model is also a TOUCH model. Unheard of at this size, some 2m in length and certainly a distortion of the DDA legislation (in a good way). I asked a colleague, “Sebastian Sue” to help me on this project, you will see his cheery face in the following images:
O2 UK tour launching Clam-shell phone design (on behalf of Hothouse):
Initially involved with the build and sculpt for this touring show I was asked to lead the UK tour it with 3 stagehands. Three Luton Trucks visited 02 call centre sites around the UK to install in the evening for a next day show. Product hung from the branches and it was all fire rated and travel toughened.; the culmination was the Wireless O2 festival ‘07, backstage. I have had tougher 2 day standby’s than this, the free bar and gig helped…
Abstract and technical detail shots follow: