Last week design and engineering studio Bot & Dolly revealed Box, an exclusive awe-inspiring short film presenting never-before-seen robot-powered projection mapping on moving objects. During the film Bot & Dolly transformed an ordinary canvas into mind-bending illusions that ultimately transported the actor, and that matter the audience, into a different dimension. In our behind-the-scenes video above, the creators of Bot & Dolly describe their inspirations, how a 3D software system like Maya was used to generate the film’s trippy visuals, and ultimately, what this innovation will mean for future creators.
Box has, in effect, set a new standard for projection mapping. In early cinema, there was a level of fantasy and intrigue so powerful audiences would literally jump in fear as they saw moving images of trains approaching on the silver screen. In this new era of over-produced 3D Hollywood blockbusters, we've lost that sense of magic and truly immersive physical experiences. Box is unique not only for the individual technologies that were employed, but also for the thoughtful blend of cutting-edge innovation and rich storytelling content. The team at Bot & Dolly exhausted every tool in their belt to grab the audience by the collar and bring them into a panoramic magical environment.
The crux of the technology comes from their custom software called BD Movie, that provides a bridge between high-end robotic systems and Maya. This program allows for the team to animate the functions of the robotic in 3D space. For the camera movement, instead of simply animating a path, they motion-captured the view of an actual person watching the performance and then applied this natural movement to a camera path. Their sound design, provided by Keith Ruggiero, was a thoughtful blend of the actual sounds of the robots, enhanced through surreal special effects, and an ethereal space-y soundtrack. Most importantly the theme of their content was linked to a childish love of magic. Harkening back to the original principals of illusion, the team digitally enhanced these concepts and provided a new-era approach to the magic that captivated audiences for centuries.
In short, Box presents a challenge to film makers and digital artists everywhere by showing that technology is nothing without the touch of human ingenuity and the age old principles of storytelling and magic.
Using the basic principles of magic and optical illusion, the creators divided the film into micro-segments like Transformation (seen above) and Levitation (below), showcasing Bot & Dolly's capabilities.
Below, check out Bot & Dolly's Box:
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