Elastic & a52 Create Artistic Opening for Festival

Full-service design company Elastic has recently worked with 3D and visual effects supervisor Andy Hall of VFX boutique a52, on an artistic animated short for the 2009 Newport Beach Film Festival. Working through Elastic and in collaboration with advertising agency RPA, Hall directed the festival’s official :30 opening short.

The fully computer-animated opening was designed by Hall to look and feel like one of the epic stop-motion masterpieces of Terry Gilliam or Tim Burton. The content artfully presents a take-off of the strangely similar aesthetic of studio titles – like Hollywood with a dramatic twist – that welcomes viewers to Newport Beach and their 10th annual celebration of film with wit and charm.

“Andy Hall is a mix of pure enthusiasm and sheer talent,” began Scott McDonald, creative director at RPA. “Our client understood and supported what we were trying to do and believed in the artistry of the project. Elastic, Andy and a52 contributed such a sharp point of view – the very first ingredient was world class – we just kept throwing gasoline on that fire. I got to see this piece play on the biggest movie screen this side of the Mississippi and, let me tell you, it dropped some jaws.”

“Being as this is the festival’s 10th anniversary, the initial idea was a celebration of fanfare to the studios,” Hall explained. “With that in mind, I wanted to create a narrative that took us on a journey connecting all these pieces. After much thought, it felt right to give the work a sense of style that tipped its hat to those opening fanfares – but in a whimsical way… and getting back to my roots in animation, I really wanted to create a unique vision that would make the opening something special in its own right.”

Working closely with a52’s CG team, Hall achieved his desired style by focusing on the staging of the various shots in the sequence, while adding countless details and textures to ensure that each world feels like a hand-crafted set, while the separate elements fit together into the action-filled narrative like clockwork.

“I was heavily influenced by the work of Terry Gilliam, particularly ‘The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’ because of its theatrical nature,” Hall added. “By giving it a lot of texture and layering the lighting, I was able to capture a stage-like quality, and the whole film became very much a labor of love. I wanted there to be layers of detail, so that every time it’s watched, viewers might see something new.”

The end-frame of Hall’s open, showing an iconic 3D sand sculpture forming the words, “10th of a Century: Newport Beach Film Festival,” is the image featured on the festival’s poster, program and within its print advertising.

Finally, Hall also confirmed that Autodesk Maya 2009 formed the vital component of the project’s production. “Especially with the new feature sets like the animation layers, it allowed for even great flexibility to create this imagery exactly the way I imagined it… if not better.”

About Elastic
Elastic is a full-service design studio launched in Santa Monica in 2008 by the founders of editorial company Rock Paper Scissors and visual effects company a52.

About a52
Established in 1997 as a home for the very latest high-end photo-real visual effects technologies and the industry’s most innovative and talented graphic design artists, visual effects boutique a52 creates award-winning imagery for the world’s most visually ambitious commercial and television projects. Having relocated to Santa Monica in 2007, the company’s work has earned AICP Show recognition, along with recent “Outstanding Commercial” Emmy, Andy, BDA, Belding, Clio, British Design and Art Direction, International Monitor, International Automotive Advertising, London International Advertising, One Show and PROMAX awards.

Project Name: 10th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival “Tenth of a Century”
Running Time: :30
Date Aired: April 23, 2009 (in-theater only)

Client: Newport Beach Film Festival
Founder & Head of Marketing: Todd Quartararo

AD Agency: RPA
Chief Creative Offier: David Smith
Creative Director/Art Director: Scott McDonald
SVP/Executive Producer: Gary Paticoff

Design/Production Company: Elastic
Director: Andy Hall
Executive Producer: Alex Gorodetzki
Producer: Jenny Bright

VFX/Animation/Finishing Company: a52
Executive Producer: Linda Carlson
Producer: Jenny Bright
Film/DI Colorist: Patrick Murphy
CG Supervisor: Kirk Shintani & Max Ulichney
3D Artists: Adam Newman, Paulo de Almada, Christopher Janney

Music & Sound Design: Robot Repair
Executive Producer & Sound Designer: Douglas Darnell
Composer: Kael Alden

Final Mix Company: Framework Sound
Mixer: Ken Dahlinger


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