London Symphony Orchestra

CLIENT: Superunion / The Partners
CREATIVE DIRECTION: Stuart Radford / Marc Spicer
SOUND: London Symphony Orchestra


Mainframe was delighted to be invited to collaborate with The Partners on the visual identity and accompanying moving image work for their 2018/19 Season, creating a unique and striking animation depicting incredible new landscapes utilising motion capture data collected from conductor Simon Rattle's direction of Elgar's Enigma Variations.

The animation travels through four abstracted landscapes; rolling hills, caves, mountain peaks and flowing streams. The texture and geometry of each section reflects the different environments, using music to forge their shape and structure.

The music itself generates the width and height of the landscapes which grow with the intensity of the piece, creating thematic particles reflecting the scenery in which they appear; the direction and flow is determined by the dramatic swings of the conductor's baton itself. The most impactful movements generate stark, icy mountains and cause molten lava to burst from caves, whereas the subtler movements determine finer, more gentle details. The elevation and scale of each individual plateau is directly shaped by the conductors movement and rhythm, increasing and varying as the music builds to it's final crescendo.

The landscape is procedurally generated in Houdini through a motion-capture of Sir Simon Rattle’s conducting movements. 
The width and height of the base landscape geometry is set by the distanced travelled of a point in 3D space located at the tip of the conductors baton. Mesh density and variation of shaders of the different landscapes vary according to the intensity of the baton swings.

Different growth solving techniques as well as heavy particle and volume based remeshing have been applied to the base geometry to generate four distinct landscape looks throughout the piece. Compositing of the CG elements, colour grading and additional environmental effects have been added in Nuke.

Adam Jenns, Exec Producer for Mainframe “When the team at the Partners (now Superunion) approached us with the brief we were genuinely excited about the project and the possibility of making something extremely innovative for a great client. It was a pleasure to work with a design company and client that wanted to push as hard as we did to make something we could all be proud of.