I don’t know. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m being too picky. Maybe I’m burned out. But whatever the reason, I haven’t been knocked on my ass by a mograph piece in a while. Is anyone else feeling this way? Maybe it’s a global phenomenon… something to do with the climate change, perhaps…
Oh well, keep on truckin’, right?
Buck at FITC
I love that FITC is putting the presentations from this year’s conference on their website. It’s great advertising for their future events.
One such presentation of note is the Buck session given by Ryan Honey and Orion Tait. I like their honesty and willingness to talk openly about the process of working from brief to final product. It’s obvious from their presentation that Buck has a genuine commitment to creativity; it’s not just a bullshit promise made in the heat of a pitch.
(Via mograph. Thanks, Ryan.)
Birdwatching on “Harrowdown Hill”
In case it’s not painfully obvious, birdsÃ¢â‚¬â€?specifically eagles, crows and crow-like birdsÃ¢â‚¬â€?are the new deer heads of motion graphics. That’s not a bash against the Thom Yorke “Harrowdown Hill” video from director Chel White at Bent Image Lab. It’s just an observation. Birds are hot. Get ’em while you can.
In all fairness to Bent Image Lab, their usage of a bird is clearly related to the tilt-shift photography in the first half of the video. The second half of the video unfortunately doesn’t really jive with the first half, and the bird starts to lose its relevance amidst muddy imagery of protests, police brutality and an apparently drowned Thom Yorke. Towards the end, the video starts to feel like four or five videos mashed together.
I would have liked to see more of the first half approach. I think that a meditation on the miniaturization effect that tilt-shift photography creates would have produced some interesting ideas about how we, as members of democratic societies riddled by fears of terrorism (I’m thinking mainly of the US and the UK) have miniaturized ourselves (and our civil liberties) by putting ourselves under the supposedly protective gaze of our governments.
Maybe that’s what the bird is supposed to represent. But if so, its meaning is clouded and ultimately lost by the end of the piece.
Incidentally, there is a history of animal exploitation in graphic design and motion graphics: Lions and eagles (in family crests and the rash of family cresty logos around 2000), squirrels (in just about everything from the ’90s), the aforementioned deer headsÃ¢â‚¬â€?the list is long and probably includes most of the animal kingdom, if you go back far enough. I predict that the duck-billed platypus will take the place of the bird in a couple months’ time.
Speaking of trends, one theory I have is that the lifetime of a trend is bookended by two outstanding usages of that trend. The first outstanding usageÃ¢â‚¬â€?the birth of the trend, so to speakÃ¢â‚¬â€?is noteworthy because it’s new and excitingÃ¢â‚¬â€?some may say innovative, but that sounds like we’re talking about vacuum cleaners. This birth moment is not necessarily the first time the trend is used, it’s the first time the trend is used really well.
The second outstanding usage is the death of the trend. (Or at least it should be the death of the trend.) This is the time when some studio or individual takes the trend to its logical end and makes something so beautiful and stunning that everything else afterwards will be regarded as second-rate hackery.
With regards to the bird trend, I’d say Psyop’s MTVHD piece was the “birth” of the trend. The death… well, I think the death hasn’t happened yet. There are still flocks and flocks of birds to come.
Okay, I’ve let myself go on entirely too long. I can’t wait to read the comments on this post.