The Double-Blind Experiments is a creative collective of VFX artists and sound designers who embarked on a quest to explore the depths of their own creativity. When they set off on each experiment they have no idea where they will end up or what they are creating. On their second outing they flipped the project on its head, changing the rules to see what it would mean to the end result. They assembled an expanded team of very talented people and got to work.
Annuli is the second experiment and follows the success of Double-Blind No.1. The first experiment was created by five VFX artists, a sound designer and editor from post house, Cutting Edge. Freeing the artists from the constraints of a client brief, they were able to find individual inspiration. Each artist followed their instincts, creating their own shots in isolation of the rest of the team. When the shots were reassembled something amazing happened, they had created an experimental short which gained international traction and was screened at over 60 film festivals, winning 20 awards.
The team shot live action plates, which acted as a canvas for their animation, motion graphics and VFX. The shoot involved a deserted warehouse, a bikini model, two guys in hazmat suits and a goat, because “why not?” Each artist was given random shots which they transformed by experimenting with different creative styles and techniques. The shots were edited back together with the intention of producing a cohesive piece with no planned narrative.
We second experiment was a chance to do things differently. Fifteen artists came together, and instead of starting with footage, the experiment began with a bed of sound that was broken into short audio clips. Artists took inspiration from the sound, and started to explore once more.
Creative Director of Cutting Edge, Zenon Kohler tells us, “The first experiment got such a wonderful response. It was a creative outlet for our team so when it gained so much attention it was delightfully unexpected.”
Zenon went on to explain, “We knew it was the right time for another experiment because we as a group we had been doing some other exciting creative work. We ran a charity art auction with bowling pins called CEX, and we had just recently completed VFX and footage-fucking for a series of wild sci-fi music videos for Alice in Chains. We wanted to keep up the creative momentum.”
The sound designers at Cutting Edge created a bed of eclectic sound and composition. The sound was cut into clips of varying lengths before being randomly distributed to the artists.
For the artists, this experiment consisted of only two rules:
- Take inspiration from the randomly supplied sound clip.
- Create a visual representation of this sound, beginning and ending with a circle of a predetermined size… fill the space between two circles.
With such an open brief artists were left to find their inspiration individually.
“The hardest part for me was definitely deciding on a concept from a single snippet of sound! There was initially a lot of overthinking it until eventually I decided I wanted to create a feathered creature. I quickly arrived at some kind of micro life cycle, which was a surprise even to myself to be honest!” said Matt Crump, Cutting Edge VFX Artist.
Motion Designer, Victor Bandeira added, “I think I wasn’t inspired by the sound in an abstract form like everybody else, so I tried to create something that would give the impression to anyone watching it that my animation was actually creating the sound.”
The footage was compiled to create Annuli – Double-Blind No.2.