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The Looper Projects

Emergence: Rear Window

Animator extraordinaire, Marcus Kulik was inspired by the view from his own apartment window where he spent this summer documenting police brutality and street life in the heart of the CHOP on Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.

Seeing the convergence of people correlating with resurgences of the Covid-19 pandemic nationwide as well as the clashes with societal structures for equal treatment for our black brothers and sisters, Marcus puts his own magical spin into picture for the “Rear Window” execution in The Looper Projects series.

3d | Animation | Color Correction | Sound Design

Ground control to Major Tom

Design/Animation: Marcus Kulik
Modelling: Marcus Kulik, Ryan Davies
Story: Marcus Kulik, Eric Edwards, Bobby Hougham
Sound Design: Dave Hummel
Color: Marcus Kulik

The Process

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are all looking at the beginning of a long dark tunnel, but it is a tunnel and we will eventually come out the other side. The landscape will be different but we will emerge once again. We have seen leaders attempt to guide their nations, states, and cities through this experience with wildly varying levels of success. Some are spinning false hope or making light of the issue ignoring the pain this is causing. Others are recognizing how bad it is while encouraging the population to remain vigilant to the cause and not losing sight of their hope in the future. In the spirit of the latter, we want to focus on our emergence from the tunnel in our not so distant future.

Our theme for the second 6 months of 2020 was “Emergence”. This could be literally about recovery from COVID, it could be about a butterfly escaping their cocoon. It could have been done cinematically or with iconography, graphic shapes, shadow puppets, marmots or whatever the artist chooses.

Inspired by the view from his apartment window, Marcus developed a “Rear Window” story of an urban neighborhood who’s denizens come together to breathe life into their environment only finding that to be a fleeting thing.

Initial Thoughts

Marcus Kulik:
OVERHEAD
“Rear Window” viewpoint
Stylized geometric buildings rise out of empty street blocks forming simple city scene

COLOR DESATURATED/ DEPRESSING
Lights come on as buildings rise

Simple representations of people (cylinders/ simple ball character) start to exit buildings slowly, swirling w/ negative energy

COLOR TURNS MORE PASTEL/ WARM
characters start to gather together on corners, park, cafe. As they get closer negative energy dissipates and characters glow with warm light.

LOOP either cut back to empty city blocks or have characters enter buildings and the buildings sink back down into the ground.

Rear Window Mood Board

Collaborative Brainstorming

Eric Edwards:
I like it.
Instead of the buildings rising what if things are revealed by moving light like in your upper left ref. So light moves and it starts to reveal the buildings.
Instead of the characters swirling with negative energy it is represented through light and color so at first it is dark and stark and as more characters come out and populate the block light comes in and there is also more color.
In addition to all this it is very atmospheric and foggy like how Roger Deakins always shoots colored lights in fog so as more characters come out of the buildings when they light up there is cool colorful fall off of their lights in the fog.
One by one they start to go back into the buildings and so the light and color goes away.
The beginning of this shows a rudimentary way of revealing buildings with moving light; thats the basic idea. combine that with real 3d and fog etc.

Marcus Kulik:
Nice I like that idea, essentially the sun would be rising to light the buildings from darkness, and could be traveling the entire loop and set at then end. I do want to stick with the idea of having negative energy around the characters that dissipates when they are able to socialize again. It would be subtle but when they gather they would add color and light to the city

 

Eric Edwards:
It’ll be an interesting puzzle to figure out how to do both the revealing with light and also include the fog

 

Bobby Hougham:
sounds interesting… DEFINITELY like the idea of using your experience from this summer and creating a sort of rear window homage with a twist.

Development

atmosphere reference
Marcus Kulik:
Could use a blade runner 2049 approach, have such thick atmosphere that without light everything just falls away into fog. with light the silhouettes/ shadows are defining the shapes
Marcus Kulik:
Got some simple lighting/ environmental tests done today

Building Layout WIP
Ryan Davies:
took a pass on these buildings, thoughts? 2 hours on the clock right now
Marcus Kulik:
Ryan, looking good, can you try a layout that has a more interesting street layout, like the img on the moodboard with all the taxis has the split?

If you want to just sketch some layouts on paper real quick instead of making them in 3d I could use that.

Ryan Davies:
Marcus anything feeling warmer?

 

Marcus Kulik:
Ryan awesome! 2 is good, I’ll probably pull the camera out a bit closer to 1 for the building density

neighborhood sketches

Refining the Rear Window

Bobby Hougham:
It looks good! here are my thoughts:

It seems like the day/night thing should be motivated by something. Your initial idea of the cyclical nature of people gathering instigating tensions or covid rate climb isnt really coming to play here as is. what if in the middle of the dark, people start coming out to gather which motivates the light shift somehow to daylight. this could also be optimistic that “people bring the light”. something to consider to bring this back to original concept and a better read on story.

Finishing

Bobby Hougham:
Hey Dave this here is the video. Marcus, Eric, Sevrin let’s collaborate with Dave on the sound design ideas. i have a few, but my ideas aren’t the bible for this. lets see what makes sense!

I was thinking that we could have some building low grade wind/breeze air movement and some city sounds, echoing, its night time, the city is desolate etc.

the glowing ball builds, (a deep bass thrumm? that builds as the ball intensifies?)

then on the explosion, digital silence for a beat, then WHOOOSH!!! and then when the city is daylight maybe the city sounds feel more vibrant and alive.

 

Dave Hummel
I like your notes and I think they’re spot on. I think we could also add a little psycho-acoustic element as well. Things in the dark could sound far away which means they lack high end sonically and have lots of reverb. When the light breaks through, the city sounds can sound closer, brighter and more direct sounding.

 

Marcus Kulik
Dave love the idea of the audio being distorted in some way until the burst. Playing up the rain and some howling wind is what I was thinking, and could create a really cool eerie mood if it’s distorted/ far away or something.

Would like to hear some spooky low wallas that build but then get blown away with the fog, rain, trash, etc.

 

Eric Edwards
really feels alive now.

 

Marcus Kulik
I think you nailed it!

 

Sevrin Daniels
Yep, thanks Dave, it feels complete!

 

Bobby Hougham
Thanks for the effort to get this across the finish line! While the herculean effort was definitely Marcus’s, this was a team exercise and everyone helped get it to this point. Thanks again, good job! you guys are amazing.

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