TIFF 2018 Campaign Animation
Campaign creative for the 43rd annual Toronto International Film Festival. Taking inspiration from their year round home, The Lightbox, and their ongoing mission to transform the world through film, the internal creative team created a campaign that celebrates diversity, art, culture, and community.
My role in the 2018 campaign animation came pretty early on in the process, though the execution wasn’t until the piece was almost complete. The festival’s Artistic Director, Cameron Bailey, had a very specific tone he wanted the piece to set, and we knew that in order to fulfil his vision we were going to have to rely on sound. My initial pitch to the team was to open with the sounds of the overwhelming cacophony of life outside The Lightbox with bustling street noises and the iconic sounds of Toronto. As the character approaches “the lightbox” and is drawn into the glow, the sound is absorbed and focused until all you hear is the box itself. I put together a quick audio demo to give a sense of what I imagined and used that as part of the pitch.
We would eventually refine this original idea and combine it with the notes from Mr. Bailey, including that he wanted something with lots of bass, and had the euphoric feeling of 2001: A Space Odyssey's use of Also sprach Zarathustra.
Armed with all this information, and a nearly finished animation I set about building out the sound.
The first step was to build out the “score” using Logic. I laid down a musical base of drones, twinkles, bells, and other tones upon which we would add sound effects at a later stage. Because Mr. Bailey specifically mentioned the euphoria sound of Also sprach Zarathustra I wanted to consider sampling it, and using Paul Stretch to slow the sample down to create a unique droning like effect.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a royalty-free version of the song, so that idea was out. So I did the next best thing; I found the original score online, and set about rebuilding that euphoric crescendo moment myself in Logic. Once I rebuilt the iconic crescendo, I took that element, slowed it down with Paul Stretch and layered it in with the other parts of the musical score, and I had my bed upon which I could add the sound effects.
I rendered out the music as stems, and brought them into Final Cut Pro X along with the completed animation elements. I then started to layer in the various sound effect elements until we had built up something that we felt sounded pretty good. As always I made use of Final Cut Pro X’s roles feature to keep all my elements organized.
The final part of this process was creating a surround mix. Because we were going to be screening the animation in theatres that had 7.1 Surround Sound systems Mr. Bailey really wanted to make sure that we took advantage of this and used the full surround stage. Unfortunately we only had a 5.1 setup in our edit suite, but we knew we could get things pretty close and finalize it in the final mix sessions. I had never really mixed in surround sound before, so this was a exciting learning experience, and thankfully Final Cut makes it incredibly intuitive and user friendly, so the process was not only easy, but also incredibly fun.
Once we had something we were happy with, it was time to deliver to Deluxe for the final mix and mastering. I bounced the various elements upon which I had used effects, used X2Pro to export an AAF, and bounced stems just for safety. I then headed over to Deluxe to work with their incredibly talented team to remix my 5.1 mix into full 7.1.
The end result was a beautiful animation, with original music and sound design, all in 7.1 surround sound. This animation played before every single screening at the festival and was seen by thousands of film lovers across the 10 day festival.