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Blog posts tagged as 'making future magic'

Making Future Magic: the book

There were an awful lot of photos taken for the Making Future Magic video that BERG and Dentsu London launched last week; Timo reckons he shot somewhere in the region of 5500 shots. Stop-frame animation is a very costly process in the first instance, but as the source we were shooting was hand held (albeit with locked-off cameras) and had only the most rudimentary of motion-control (chalk lines, black string and audio progress cues), if a frame was poorly exposed, obscure or fumbled, it left the sequence largely unusable. This meant that a lot was left on the cutting room floor.

In addition, we amassed a stack of incidental pictures of props, setups, mistakes, 3D tests and amphibious observers during the film’s creation.

Clicking through these pictures, it was clear that a book collecting some of these pictures, offering little behind-the-scenes glimpses alongside the finished graded stills used in the final edit, was the way forward. As well as offering a platform for some of the shots that didn’t make the final cut, the static prints want to be pored over, allowing for the finer details and shades (the animations themselves had textures and colours burnt into them in prior to shooting, so as to add a disruptive quality) to come through.

Our copies arrived today from Blurb. The print quality and stock is fantastic – especially considering it’s an on-demand service – and for us it’s great to have a little summary of a project that doesn’t require any software or legacy codecs to view it and will remain ‘as is’. We’ve made the book available to the public and in two formats; you can get your hands on the hardcover edition here, and the softcover here.

More images of the book are up here.

Making Future Magic: light painting with the iPad

“Making Future Magic” is the goal of Dentsu London, the creative communications agency. We made this film with them to explore this statement.

(Click through to Vimeo to watch in HD!)

We’re working with Beeker Northam at Dentsu, using their strategy to explore how the media landscape is changing. From Beeker’s correspondence with us during development:

“…what might a magical version of the future of media look like?”


…we [Dentsu] are interested in the future, but not so much in science fiction – more in possible or invisible magic

We have chosen to interpret that brief by exploring how surfaces and screens look and work in the world. We’re finding playful uses for the increasingly ubiquitous ‘glowing rectangles’ that inhabit the world.

iPad light painting with painter

This film is a literal, aesthetic interpretation of those ideas. We like typography in the world, we like inventing new techniques for making media, we want to explore characters and movement, we like light painting, we like photography and cinematography as methods to explore and represent the physical world of stuff.

We made this film with the brilliant Timo Arnall (who we’ve worked with extensively on the Touch project) and videographer extraordinaire Campbell Orme. Our very own Matt Brown composed the music.

Light painting meets stop-motion

We developed a specific photographic technique for this film. Through long exposures we record an iPad moving through space to make three-dimensional forms in light.

First we create software models of three-dimensional typography, objects and animations. We render cross sections of these models, like a virtual CAT scan, making a series of outlines of slices of each form. We play these back on the surface of the iPad as movies, and drag the iPad through the air to extrude shapes captured in long exposure photographs. Each 3D form is itself a single frame of a 3D animation, so each long exposure still is only a single image in a composite stop frame animation.

Each frame is a long exposure photograph of 3-6 seconds. 5,500 photographs were taken. Only half of these were used for the animations seen in the final edit of the film.

There are lots of photographic experiments and stills in the Flickr stream.

Future reflection

light painting the city with Matt Jones

The light appears to boil since there are small deviations in the path of the iPad between shots. In some shots the light shapes appear suspended in a kind of aerogel. This is produced by the black areas of the iPad screen which aren’t entirely dark, and affected by the balance between exposure, the speed of the movies and screen angle.

We’ve compiled the best stills from the film into a print-on-demand Making Future Magic book which you can buy for £32.95/$59.20. (Or get the softcover for £24.95/$44.20.)

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