LSO “Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano”

The all-London team of agency Superunion and motion studio Found combine dance, pyrotechnics, and motion capture into a spectacular campaign for the London Symphony Orchestra’s 2020/21 season.

Mike Sharpe, Creative Director at Found Studio: “In his fourth year with the LSO, Sir Simon Rattle leads a two-year exploration of music written in the first half of the 20th century. The title refers to a phrase used to describe the febrile atmosphere in Germany in the 1930s, as Europe lay on the cusp of profound social, cultural and political upheaval.

“With such an emotive theme, Superunion wanted to create something unexpected, something that would reflect the tension and volatility of the new season.

“This meant shifting away from the CG approach of previous campaigns and embracing practical live-action effects to create a dramatic, explosive and tension-fuelled abstract film.
 


 
“Conceived for both film and print, the resolution was of huge importance. We opted to shoot on the RED Helium camera at 5K so as to capture as much detail as possible.

“Filmed against black, from a dramatic top shot, we worked with dancer Ella Robson Guilfoyle, to interpret the motion capture data of Sir Simon Rattle’s baton into an expressive dance sequence.

“Costume designer Karen Avenell was commissioned to create a custom-made silk dress to further accentuate Ella’s movements.

The sequence would have been impossible to perform in real-time, so we broke it down into 19 individual bite-size movements. These were then edited together in post-production and re-timed to precisely match the motion capture data.

“This ‘base’ layer of fabric was then processed with a bespoke echo trail, to create a fiery flame-like effect.

“In addition, we filmed an array of pyrotechnics and practical effects [sparklers, flares, smoke grenades, and chalk dust] at high speed which were later composited into the sequence to enhance the volcano effect, culminating in an epic final shot.”
 
London Symphony Orchestra_Found_Studio_Superunion_Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano | STASH MAGAZINE

London Symphony Orchestra_Found_Studio_Superunion_Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano | STASH MAGAZINE

London Symphony Orchestra_Found_Studio_Superunion_Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano | STASH MAGAZINE

London Symphony Orchestra_Found_Studio_Superunion_Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano | STASH MAGAZINE

London Symphony Orchestra_Found_Studio_Superunion_Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano | STASH MAGAZINE

London Symphony Orchestra_Found_Studio_Superunion_Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano | STASH MAGAZINE

Client: London Symphony Orchestra

Agency: Superunion
ECD Stuart Radford
Account Director Mairi Murdoch
Senior Motion Designer Richard Pizey
Senior Designer Sam Ratcliffe
Designer Erik Brattested

Production/direction: Found

DOP: Thomas English
Stylist: Olivia Culotta
Costume Designer: Karen Avenell
Colour Grade: Caroline Morin @ The Wash

Dancer: Ella Robson Guilfoyle
 
 

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