Gettysburg Address

Once in awhile, a piece comes along that speaks to you in so many different ways that you just want to listen, afraid that any written response will not adequately capture your sentiments.  Personally, this is one of those times, so this will be a quick writeup…

Adam Gault and Stephanie Augustine continue their string of successes with another amazing personal project, Gettysburg Address – easily my favorite work of the year.

Along with an evocative reading by Mitch Rapoport and deeply layered sound design of Chris Villepigue, this subtly powerful illustration of Lincoln’s famous speech portrays a smooth ebb and flow between rich metaphors; each composition aptly reflecting a historical attitude as well as the content’s transcendence – one easily appropriated to the strife that exists in many areas of our current society as much as it did in 1863.

Motionographer Author Simon Robson recently caught up with Adam, who was kind enough to elaborate on the work:

“I’m glad you like the Gettysburg project.  We’ve been plugging away at the piece for some time, so it’s nice to finally have it wrapped up and out there.

Words…  Well, the irony is that when we decided to attempt this project it didnt really occur to us that the Gettysburg Address is one of the great speeches of all-time.  It’s words… carefully chosen words that work really well on their own.  The speech doesnt really need pictures.  But once we started brainstorming we were determined come up with imagery that would compliment the words.  We wanted to use simple and subtle metaphors that would give the speech context and create evocative compositions without trying to add meaning.  Hopefully we’ve done the writing some justice.

The actual production process was pretty fluid, as these personal pieces tend to be.  The assets are a mixture of photographs, hand painted elements, and digital illustrations.  All of the animation was done in After Effects.

One of the challenges with the animation was to keep the motion interesting despite its slow pace.  To combat dullness, we tried to keep things moving at all times, whether it was the textures inside the lines, or the drifting of the camera.   We also setup the overall structure to move back and forth between light and dark compositions, and tried to make the transitions between the sections as surprising as possible.

The approach for the sound design was similar to the picture.  The voice recording needed to be the main focus, with everything else complimenting it.  I think Chris did an excellent job of getting it “just right”.  His effects are subtle but still moving.  They set the mood without demanding too much attention.  The clinking of the rope on the flagpole at the end is so lonely and sad.  It’s just perfect.”

Read by Mitch Rapoport.
A collaboration with Stefanie Augustine.
Sound design by Chris Villepigue |
Design and Animation help from Carlo Vega.

Thanks to Simon Robson for the legwork and to Bran Dougherty-Johnson for the tip!