To address the need to cover a long period of history in sweeping fashion, Spinifex proposed a stylistic approach that allowed the visual storytelling to be both abstract and dramatic. Typical for the group’s assignments, where the end-product is most often a one-of-a-kind immersive experience, the deliverables were custom tailored to suit the unique venue.
The viewing experience of “The Past Meets the Future” involves the presentation moving across different media: The content first appears in 16:9 HD format, until the screen grows in width to a 7:1 ratio, displaying 7k images. Building upon its track record for presenting audiences with stories that seamlessly make historical use of digital technologies, Spinifex designed this project’s cinematic content to expand and maximize the changing presentation media.
According to the Spinifex production leads, art director Jamie Tuffrey and motion director Matt Lock, the project represented a unique challenge in delivering to the clients’ high expectations within a conservative budget. Live-action production involved a single day of production on green screen, where the source footage was then composited into the digital world, comprised of matte paintings, visual FX and limited 3D elements.
“We decided not to go into a full 3D world, but rather to create the scenes with clever use of 2D motion graphics and matt painting,” said Lock. Working with Director Yang Qingsheng, with whom Spinifex also collaborated on numerous projects, such as the Beijing Olympics, Shanghai World Expo and Hennessey, original footage was captured on the Red Digital Cinema camera at 4K, which allowed great latitude in the composite. China was chosen for the location due to Director Yang’s expertise in Chinese culture, and the ready availability of costumes and props.