Some classical music enthusiasts are purists with regard to visual effects, listening with eyes firmly fixed on liner notes or the ceilings of grand concert halls.
Those open to a more avant-garde ocular experience may enjoy the short motion capture animation above.
Motivated by the London Symphony Orchestra’s desire for a hipper identity, the project hinged on recently appointed Musical Director Sir Simon Rattle’s willingness to conduct Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations with a specially modified baton, while 12 top-of-the-range Vicon Vantage cameras noted his every move at 120 frames per second.
Digital designer Tobias Gremmler, who’s previously used motion-capture animation as a lens through which to consider kung fu and Chinese Opera, stuck with musical metaphors in animating Sir Simon’s data with Cinema 4D software. The movements of conductor and baton morph into a “vortex of wood, brass, smoke and strings” and “wires reminiscent of the strings of the instruments themselves.” Elsewhere, he draws on the atmosphere and architecture of classic concert halls.
(The uninitiated may find themselves flashing on less rarified sources of inspiration, from lava lamps and fire dancing to the 80’s-era digital universe of Tron.)
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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday.
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