CHICAGO and AMSTERDAM -- Last October during the HPX Digital festivities which are a key part of the renowned annual Halifax Pop Explosion event in Nova Scotia, Canada, FITC Design and Technology Events founding director Shawn Pucknell planted the seeds which produced the stunning opening titles that recently opened FITC Amsterdam. Produced by creative studio Leviathan and featuring the first-ever collaboration between the studio's leaders and another frequent FITC presenter, New York City-based illustrator and designer Sara Blake (a.k.a. ZSO), this experimental project is a perfect testament to FITC, festival attendees, and the artists behind it.
First was the iconic graphics package from Blake which was chosen to represent FITC Amsterdam 2014. Pucknell's otherwise wide-open briefing to Leviathan's Jason White did request that Blake's graphics would be reflected in the Amsterdam open, while also providing more than 60 presenter names that needed to appear. From there, White and company - including Leviathan creative director Bradon Webb and scores of creative and production partners - busily got to work preparing to inspire today's audience in Amsterdam.
"The FITC (which stands for Future, Innovation, Technology, Creativity) conferences truly embrace exploration and discovery by creating an open platform discussion about our common processes," White began. "Speakers and audience members get to explore inspirations and fears, challenges and breakthroughs. We thought it would be interesting to take the essence of our shared creative process and deliver a message of fascination and discovery through a creative odyssey."
Each step along the way in rendering this project was extensively researched, meticulously planned and painstakingly produced. The resulting story features a metaphor of a painter in his studio, taking a deeper look into the elements that create art, showing the amazing potential within these details, capturing the hidden world beneath the creative tools we use.
"We designed the narrative by building an uplifting experience of expanding possibilities for the audience," Webb explained. "We discussed the artistic process and how ideas can emerge, for example, from within tiny drops. Our research led us to a great inspirational story about getting out there and following your passion, and that's what we set out to tell."
Leviathan's behind-the-scenes video reveals some of the wizardry behind the unique microphotography which sets this open apart. Among their tricks, the team perfected a hybrid technological approach to handle “focus stacking,” going so far as to build their own stop-motion control rig and software solution leveraging Zerene Stacker and Leviathan's internal render farm to crunch high-definition frames comprised of up to 200 still images apiece. Shot around-the-clock over the course of three weeks, the team captured more than 150,000 images for the open's microscopic section.
"Each year we look for a creative partner to work with on the titles for FITC Amsterdam, and we were thrilled when Leviathan accepted the role," Pucknell said. "We've just seen the final cut and were blown away with what they've created. Amazing work, and so perfect for our Amsterdam event!"