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Marco Brambilla and Ntropic Light Up Times Square with ApolloXVIII

Installation artist taps VFX Studio for an artistic interpretation of the historic three-minute countdown to the launch of a Saturn V rocket.

New York, NY -- ApolloXVIII is an artistic interpretation of the three-minute countdown to the launch of a Saturn V rocket, on which video collage and installation artist Marco Brambilla worked for a second time on a large scale project with multi-faceted visual studio, Ntropic. As the featured Midnight Moment piece in Times Square, the moments leading up to the historic mission to land astronauts on the moon will stream throughout the month of March, beginning at 11:57pm each night.

ApolloXVIII re-interprets mankind’s relationship with space exploration in the electronic age. Taking many disparate design elements, creating the rocket, and environmental elements, integrating motion graphics and compositing imagery to add layers to the narrative, ApolloXVIII presents the countdown to an imagined lift-off of a Saturn V rocket across Times Square’s spectacular screens. The fictional mission combines archival footage and virtual renderings to present a new collective viewing experience that will place the public at the foot of a new frontier.

“It was great to work with Ntropic again and to have a trusted partner in executing ApolloXVIII,” says Marco Brambilla. “The project started in New York and flowed to Los Angeles where I worked closely with Simon Mowbray [Creative Director, Ntropic] on the piece, creating elements, and combining them with animation and complex image layering.”

Mowbray adds, “There was a lot of discussion between Marco's NY studio and Ntropic’s LA office. We were exploring different layouts, compositing techniques, as well as the creation of different CG elements that needed to be incorporated into the various panels - all toward development of the final aesthetic. Working with Marco is always an honor, and we’ve collaborated with him a handful of times in the past, including the complex and ambitious stereoscopic video installation "Creation (Megaplex)."

The relationship between Brambilla and Ntropic began with the making of a stereoscopic installation film “Creation (Megaplex).” The experience for Ntropic focused on creating art, without having the strategic proscriptions of a commercial project. It broke new ground technically - combining a massive number of 2D elements arrayed inside of a 3D space, animated onto objects, and in space with fluid pacing along a Z-axis. "Creation" was a yearlong process of art direction, design and animation, creating the sort of shorthand that is hard to establish on shorter projects.

“When I worked with Ntropic and Nate [company founder Nate Robinson] on Creation a lot of trust and shorthand came out of it, which always makes things simpler and more productive” says Brambilla. “For ApolloXVIII, Simon’s eye for creative detail was essential, and the partnership with Ntropic continues.”

The Ntropic team worked through both the New York and Los Angeles offices with the bulk of the visual work happening at Ntropic Los Angeles, where Mowbray serves as Creative Director.

Source: Ntropic

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.