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Namibian Nights

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Namibian Nights from Squiver on Vimeo.

It’s not easy to come up with something new when you visit the same place every year for more than a decade. Over the years Marsel has created the most extensive and most popular night photography portfolio of Namibia on this planet, and two years ago he decided it was time to take it to the next level.
The idea was to create a night photography timelapse video featuring his most popular subjects in this amazing country: the fairytale-like quivertrees and the eery, dead camelthorn trees in Deadvlei – something that had never been done before. But instead of going for static scenes, Marsel decided to add movement to the scenes by using a dolly system.
All scenes were shot during the night with Nikon D3, D3s and D4 cameras. We used small headlights for selectively lighting trees and rocks, and we sometimes used the moon. The brighter the scene, the more moon there was at the time. For the arch scene we timed our shoot exactly with moonset, which involved quite a bit of calculating and planning. But the hardest one of all was probably the mist scene in Deadvlei. Mist in Deadvlei only occurs around five times a year, so we had to keep a close eye on the weather predictions and many attempts were unsuccessful. When we finally got it right, the results far exceeded our expectations and show Deadvlei as no one has ever seen it before.
Each second of video consists of 30 photographs. In total, Marsel shot more than 16,000 images over a period of two years for this project.
The video won First Prize in the 2012 Travel Photographer Of The Year Awards.

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The ‘Art of Making’ series aspires to display and highlight certain people, which go against the spirit of today’s pessimism and desperation. They dare to dream and create with zeal and imagination. Armed with passion for knowledge and emotion, they attempt to combine the precision of science with the elegance and resourcefulness of art. We thank them wholeheartedly for their contribution..

Pieces of wood, love, knowledge and 299 hours of work, condensed in a 3 minute film.

In South America – 2012

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Early 2012, we started a journey to Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay and Southern Brazil in our old and rusty Landrover. Once again, we brought our DSLR cameras and some gear to capture every great moment of this trip. Lots of winds, emptiness, pampas, bustling cities, animals, deserts and waterfalls – all wrapped up in just under 6 min. Enjoy the ride!
Filmed by: Clemens Krüger, Vincent Urban, Stefan Templer
Edited by: Vincent Urban
Filmed with Canon 7D/60D and GoPro.
EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8
EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6
(some 300 and a fisheye were involved to)
Music by:
Ólafur Arnalds – “3055”


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Since 2009, Cut and Cook has been preparing little delicate images.
«Infime» is the incredible adventure of the studio’s highly skilled graphists gathered around one watchword they all support: enjoying creating extraordinary images.
«Infime» is also a major challenge in terms of digital technique. It required properly customized developing systems. Some 3D sequences featured more than 30 000 000 polygons. Time render has been optimized and reduced to the max (40 000 hours accumulated).

Through «Infime», Dan Charbit (director and supervisor) encourages you to immerse supernatural landscapes and offers a graphic and poetic travel… Get a trip away.
Find «Infime» and more of our creations on:

The Crew:
Production: Cut and Cook Studio
Director: Dan Charbit
Supervisor: Dan Charbit
Editing: Julia Maby
Music and Sound Design: Nicolas Gueguen
R&D: Arthur Graff
VFX: Arthur Graff et Mickael Lalo
CG Artist: Annie Hua, Arthur Graff et Boris Kaufmann
Modeling, Rig, Setup: Gwenhael Glon
Animation: Quentin Retif
Compositing: Michael Rouayroux, Charles-E Farkas, Boris Kaufmann

Major Project : Anonymous Infographic

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For the major project I created an Info-graphic kinetic typography animation based on the online vigilantism; primarily concentrating on the ramifications of online activist anonymous who use hacking as their weapon of choice. The style was based heavily on the style of motion graphics artist: Patrick Clair seen on abc’s hungry beast program.

Info-graphic animations use graphic visual representations to express ideas intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.

Kinetic typography uses animated moving text to represent information and ideas. Adding animated visuals helps to convey and evoke an idea or emotion.

Using both techniques collaboratively creates a certain technique that looks visually pleasing and informative.

The first step to my project was researching anonymous and its history, later condensing the information to fit in the 1.5-minute criteria. Next step was to write up/narrate the script; this was essential to the whole project as the visuals have total dependency on the audio syncing up with the animations.

3D animation appeared throughout my animation regularly and was definitely one of the main effects used for this piece. I modeled logos, electronics and text to convey many of my messages. I chose to use ambient occlusion when rendering out my scene because the ease of use was on par with its visually appeal, and it meant I didn’t have to spend time on UV mapping and texturing.

As a requirement I had to use real footage filmed via camera. I got around this by filming in front of a green screen and later keying out the green. Although the key was not always very accurate, I later went over the key with the rotobrush to rid of any noise. The aim was to create a vector/ silhouette effect similar to the mad men opening sequence.

Animating text was a tedious task, syncing up with the narration was relatively easy; patience was key. I found it difficult to keep thinking of new ways to animate the text throughout the animation, in order to change it up a little.

Other effects used

  • 3d layers
  • Colour grading (eg. exposure)
  • Distortion plugins (eg. ripple)
  • Rotobrush
  • Keylight 1.2
  • Blur (eg. Gaussian blur)
  • Time remap

I didn’t have many problems throughout the process of creating this film. Mostly the problem was time, it took a lot longer than expected and looking back may have chosen a simpler topic. One major problem I found was I couldn’t condense the information down enough to 1.5-minutes so I had to trim the final for submission purposes. The extended version can also be seen here within this blog.

Overall I feel like I did well, I’m much happier with my major assessment end result in comparison to my assignment 1.  I kept true to my initial pitch and didn’t change the subject matter to my idea at all.


We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivist(2012),anonymous-to-hack-sony-on-monday.aspx

Real Version

Shortened Version

Cycle (assignment 1)

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The narrative behind my first assignment is heavily based on the idea of cyclic existence that is the human life and even beyond that. I haven’t decided whether or not to continue with this narrative for my final assignment yet; but if I do this will be just one aspect of the final assignment, I will in the future create more footage to fill in gaps and collate the narrative.

The plot drew inspiration from one of my favourite songs “clockwork” by phrase; “Another child’s born and another man dies” Is the line to which I will be basing the first assignment on. In future I will be using similar lines and transitioning through different cyclic situations. The narrative is simple as a whole, although a little bit complicated when trying to explain individual transitions.

For this assignment I will be utilizing Chroma key compositing (green screen) as one of the main effects to later composite and add different footage in the background. I also have used a time-lapse shot of a main road; this is possible with the new version of magic lantern which enables time-lapse on the canon 550D, although I just filmed for 10 minutes and just sped it up.

Obviously one of the main problems that I came across was keying out the green to seamlessly blend with the backgrounds. I created a homemade green screen in my backyard out of green material and seemed to work alright; defiantly not professional grade but good enough.

The use of green screen allowed me to place whatever footage I wanted in the background; my assignment was heavily based on this concept.

Overall I think it came out alright, nothing that I am amazingly proud of. I’m not sure if I will continue the same theme for the final assignment. I feel some may not understand the underlying meaning of the composite due to slightly poor story telling; perhaps some narration or text could rectify this situation in the future.

Summary of Last 12 Blogs

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Throughout the semester I published 12 blogs covering many aspects of the world of digital film and animation. Many of these videos were clips I personally enjoyed, also many doubled up as aids in assisting me in the development process for my own work. I covered many mediums from old school film shot on 70 mm film to intricate 3d animations.

3D Animations

 I really appreciate 3d animation; throughout my blogs I covered 3d animation quite a lot and always knew I would later on incorporate it into my major assignment.

One clip I looked at was “RUIN”, an animated short film set in a post-apocalyptic world created by Oddball Animation. I found the animation incredible, extremely realistic and overall visually pleasing.

VFX films

 I looked at many VFX based clips, one that stands out is “sight” A short futuristic film with a hint of horror by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo created for their graduation project. The short incorporates the concept of apps/ games and blends it together with futuristic eyeball implantable user interface. I found it very innovative.

Visually appealing

 Sure 3d animation and VFX are great but straight out old school film can be amazing as well. Many blogs throughout the semester have been posted primarily for their visual appeal. “Oh, the places you’ll go at burning man” standing out of the bunch because of its poetic nature and incredible landscapes.

Kinetic typography

 I only posted one clip relative to typography; “Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus “ is an info-graphic dissecting the nature and ramifications of Stuxnet, the first weapon made entirely out of code. I first saw this on hungry beast and relished the whole clip. I think using these techniques is a great way to communicate to the audience and get a message across.

Slow Motion

 When I make enough money the first thing I will be doing is buying a phantom HD just so I can film slow motion.  But for now I can use my canon 550D and the incredible twixtor plugin in after effects, similarly to the “7D 1000fps” clip created using obviously enough a 7d and twixtor.

Overall I posted about a diverse selection of videos, all relating back to VFX somehow. I eventually chose to attempt to create an info-graphic as my major project.


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Samsara is a non-narrative film directed by Ron Fricke and produced by Mark Magidson; these two cinematographic geniuses also created the films Chronos (1985) and more recently Baraka (1992). Samsara in Sanskrit means cyclic existence; in the words of Ron the film “will delve deeper into my favorite theme: humanity’s relationship to the eternal.” Samara premiered at Toronto film festival in late 2011 and is scheduled for global release later this year (2012).

A whole 20 years have passed since Baraka was created and the duo team Ron and Mark still choose 70mm film using a Panavision system over the new school digital techniques. The images are then transferred to 4k digital projection format through a high res scanning process which retains most of the quality seen in 70mm film. They chose 70mm over digital film because they knew it would stand the test of time and not be too outdated by the end of the production process.

The big time difference between films is because of how long production took; over the course of the 3 films Fricke and Magidson had visited 58 countries. All three sister films don’t have actors or narratives in a traditional sense, instead use the earth and its people as the subject matter to capture visually breathtaking footage. The aim of the movies were to give the viewer a connection of what the world around them is really like, but more of an emotional connection opposed an intellectual experience “Neither a traditional documentary nor a travelogue, Samsara takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation.”

Samsara alone took the course of 5 years to be completed showcasing 100 locations in 25 different countries; China, Myanmar, India, Japan, Turkey, Ethiopia, France, United States, and Brazil being just a select few.

Looking at the trailers of Samsara I cannot help being blown away from the extraordinary levels of detail, clarity, and vibrance. Baraka being made 20 years ago shares this amazing quality to a degree, but you can definitely see an improvement in visuals in the upcoming film samsara. Personally cannot wait to experience Fricke and Magidson new installment.

Old Spice

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“The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” was one of the first videos featured in the old spice YouTube campaign and was very popular over the internet; the campaign was produced by Wieden and Kennedy. Old spice was originally founded in 1934 by William Lightfoot Schultz and started production in 1937. Sailing ships were used as the companies trade mark and was the original marketing aid.

It’s been quite a while since the company started production and many things have changed in the marketing world; the internet for instance.  The campaign starting in in mid-July 2010 starred Isaiah Mustafa who is a former NFL player. The campaign went viral through YouTube gathering 6.7 million views in the timeframe of 24 hours and nearly 24 million after 36 hours after release.

One year later (end of July 2011) Old spice launched a new campaign similar to the original; the difference was it was based heavily to the YouTube medium after the massive success of the first. Isaiah Mustafa starred in a series of advertisements in response to people’s questions and comments received via Twitter, Facebook and other social media. The Campaign lasted a couple months and Isaiah responded to around 186 questions in video form. The marketing was done extremely well in my opinion, using Isaiah’s chiseled body and refreshing sense of humour was an amazing choice.

Behind the scene of the video “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” looks like it’s all different footage and later composited into one clip; Incredibly it’s done all in one single shot.

They built half a boat on the coastline, the bathroom was a 3 wall subset built to fit on top of the boat and was later lifted via crane. The jumper was thrown onto Isaiah, and the shell was pulled off by a string. The diamonds and the Old spice rising from the hand was shot in a different set using a fake hand that pumped out diamonds, I assume they used green screen to later composite that hand into the final footage. This was only in fact the only computer generated aspect of the commercial. The next and final stage is Isaiah being on a horse, this was done by transporting him on a cart like mechanism onto a horse waiting for him on the beach.

Wieden and Kennedy did an incredible job to produce these ads, remarkably most that were created were all done in one single shot with limited CGI.


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“RUIN” is an animated short film set in a post-apocalyptic world; “Ruin” being only a small aspect of a larger story in progress.  This film was written and directed by Wes Ball, and produced by a small animation studio called “Oddball Animation”.

Oddball Animation has an impressive body of work and in this case created quite an impressive animation; they managed to achieve a level of realism that many digital artists would envy. One aspect I found was incredibly done was the 3d camera work, very fast passed and amazing angles.

The sound design was also done well, added a lot to the overall atmosphere of “Ruin”. The ambient noise of cicadas and insects really helps to enhance the scene; the city feels hot and steamy perhaps hinting at the onset of global warming.

The surrounding environment is modeled and rendered incredibly. Ivy Generator was used to implement a procedural system so that the ivy would grow by itself throughout the scene. Ivy Generator is a small tool allowing virtual ivy to grow in a 3d environment (3ds max). The growth of foliage all over the scene helps set the scene and assists the viewer in piecing together what’s going on.

The main character was very realistic; the only downfall was the running cycle was a little unrealistic, unsure if a certain style was trying to be achieved. Moreover the motorcycle animation was done very well and helped sustain the realism.  The futuristic air craft was modeled decently and used interesting weaponry systems (very similar to kinetic energy satellite killer, which surprisingly actually exist).

“RUIN” showed astonishing detail in the graphics and is beautifully rendered. It is truly a technical accomplishment, respect to Oddball Animation studio. They seemed to be able to capture the audience so well, which is actually hard to accomplish (especially when your medium is 3d animation). Overall the Concepts, visuals and sound design were done so well and all worked together harmoniously. I would love to see this created into a full feature film, can’t wait to see what oddball studio create for the next installment.

RUIN from OddBall Animation on Vimeo.