The mind is wondrous thing, and capturing the essence of its mysterious machinations is no easy task. It was, however, the task that fell to boolab’s Nico Casavecchia, who directed this ethereal promo for Alzheimer International, an initiative promoted by the Pasqual Maragall Foundation.
I love the level of abstraction at work here. It’s all loosely rooted in the actual physiology of the brain, but it is by no means tethered to science. Rather, the focus is on the poetic nature of memories, something Nico portrays with beautiful effectiveness.
When I was given the Alzheimer’s project, the idea was to speak about the power of the human mind and the risk of losing an entire life’s memories to the disease. From the beginning, I shied away from certain ideas for developing the spot. I wanted to avoid a picture of the human experience through Super 8 movies and other melodramatic devices at all costs. At the same time, the spectator needed to be able to relate to the spot and perceive the intrinsic drama of losing one’s memory.
I didn’t want to perform a technical exercise that would send a cold message. I decided that the best route possible was to use a soundtrack that would transmit “memories” while the image would be an abstract representation of these sounds. Once this became clear, I designed styleframes to define a look for the bubbles, which represented the memories.
Some technical details:
Using Maya, we created a reactive system that modified the geometric parameters of the bubbles in connection with the soundtrack. For me, it was important that keyframe animation be used as little as possible, but that the objects be permitted to come to life thanks to the actual sounds. Once the soundtrack was finished, we simply let our memory bubbles dance with the sounds, after which we only had to sew the takes together in comp.
Watch this motion test to see the “memory bubbles” reacting to audio input:
Agency: Externa Comunicación (Rory Lambert, Creative Director)