Category Archives: Short Film

Artist Interview: Chris Speed Visuals

Chris Speed is an audio-visual artist from London who creates visual abstractions across moving images. His work is a cross-section of 3d, audio-visual design and synthesis – resulting in some pretty mind-bending art! Chris has worked on a variety of projects from music videos and promos to live projections for art and music events.

Recently I spoke with Chris about his project Error 404 and he was kind enough to share a bit about himself and also what went into the making of his Error 404 video project.

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Chris Speed I go by Chris Speed Visuals and I am audio-visual artist.

Why do you do what you do?
I got into video art through college and have always been a fan of abstract filmmaking. While at university I learnt more about the history of Vjing and visual music. Then I realized this is what I wanted to do, since many of my friends are DJ’s so adding a visual element to their performances seemed like a natural progression. However I have always kept an interest in making my own audio-visual art projects as my career has progressed.

What art do you most identify with?
When I first started I identified with artists such as Nam June Paik, Norman McLaren and Andy Warhol. But as time has passed I look to modern motion graphical artists such as Max Hattler and Jesse Kanda.

What are some things that you find inspiring?
I look to many different places for inspiration such as Brutalist architecture, light, colour, technology and nature itself.

Are there themes you pursue in your work?
Reflecting on my work it seems that certain themes emerge such as monochrome vs colour, nature vs technology and reality vs simulation possibly? I like to leave it open to interpretation as I think that is what makes art so powerful.

Chris shares some of the process behind creating Error 404 in greater detail:

My process for this project was based around a brief for an art exhibition in which glitch was the thematic structuring point.

So basically, after mentally storyboarding the project, I started by creating monochrome scenes, characters and animations within Cinema 4D then rendered them as PNG sequences with Alpha Channels. I then imported everything into After Effects then composited/rendered them as video files along with the opening scrolling code which I learnt how to do using a basic online tutorial.

Then I brought these mov files into VDMX where the real fun begins! Basically I set up a patch in VDMX with four layers, one for the characters, one for backgrounds, one for a syphon input and one as a main pass to control the video feedback. So with the pre-rendered videos set to their respective layers, I then created a custom patch in the video synthesis software Lumen and output it to VDMX and vice versa via the Syphon protocol.

I experimented with the blend modes for each layer till I got a colourful result I was happy with. Then with VDMX & Lumen already creating a feedback loop with each other; I wanted to add some more analogue texture and chaos to the distorted images.

I then sent the VDMX output to my Edirol V4 video mixer using the Intensity Shuttle capture card by Blackmagic Design. I also placed a BPMC Basic Cable within the signal chain for extra video processing. From here I spent hours using the effects on the mixer with the basic cable until I got a collection of results I was happy with. I edited together all the captured footage using Premiere Pro.

Finally, I wanted to make the experience audio-visual so I spent some time developing complementary sound for the project. For the majority of the opening segment I used a online Microsoft Sam speech emulator which I then warped and stretched with Ableton Live.

To match the analogue feedback of the images I wanted to do something similar with the audio so I used a contact microphone to pick up the electromagnetic waves from my speakers then fed that into a Korg Monotron Delay. I recorded the jam into Ableton and to conclude I synced the sound to the video back in Premiere Pro. The final result is Error 404!

For upcoming projects you can follow Chris on Vimeo, or check out his next project Pas De Trois below.

Artist Interview: Graphik H / H1987 (Hédi Benyounes)

Hédi Benyounes is a French illustrator and musician. He creates graphics under the name Graphik H. Drawing anything from cool celebrity portraits to surreal tattoo themed portraits. You can see other illustrations of his on Tumblr and Instagram.

Hédi Benyounes Illustrations

Hédi also creates music under the name H1987. You can download a free album on his Bandcamp and check out even more music on his Soundcloud. After watching his video for ALASKA we got to talking about the creative process behind his artwork.

Q. Skateboarding seems to be a theme in the ALASKA video, do you skateboard? What do you do for fun?

I love skateboarding. I did a few years when I was younger, but today I draw and create music.

Q. How do you describe your process when it comes to rotoscoping? Do you film? Do you have a favourite software? Where do you get your inspiration?

For the ALASKA video, I used images found on the internet and worked in photoshop drawing image by image.

On the other hand for my COLOR video, I used a process where I drew on sheets and scanned them.

Q. In your music your drums sound like a cool mix of synthetic and acoustic sounds but still played, do you play drums? The MPC? What’s your favourite way to make beats?

For my music, I do everything by computer. I do not play any instrument. I use sampling a lot. I mix the samples with my own compositions so that neither one nor the other is recognized.

Q. When I listen to your old beats and work my way up to H1987 – ALASKA, it seems like the progression is from direct beats to a more sparse and ambient style. What are your musical influences? What are you listening to now?

Indeed, I have been composing music since 2005 and there has been an evolution towards some more atmospheric things. I listen to more and more composers like Philip Glass who inspires me a lot. I listen to a lot of different things depending on my mood. I like to discover new music every day so I search in the old songs and the new ones. I do not really have a definitive playlist.

To find out more about what fuels Graphik H / H1987 – Hédi Benyounes creativity, I asked if he would share a few things he personally found inspiring.

For capturing the motion of skateboarding Hédi mentioned this Rodney Mullens video.

For drawing and animation style, Hédi suggests this Morgan Gruer – Reflections video, a short 2d animated film composed of approximately 1,100 individual drawings.

And for music have a listen to pianist and composer Philip Glass play his piece Mad Rush.

HX-01: An Animated Short Film

When I have some downtime I like to explore sites like Instagram and Tumblr because I come across a lot of art that is really inspiring. I also find out about new artists I may not have heard of before. Looking through the thumbnails on my Tumblr feed today I saw a slick colourful visual of bars spinning around a spiral and just had to click it. I was pleasantly surprised when I came to the page of Hexeosis, an art director/designer from Santa Monica California.

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I looked at some of the other work by Hexeosis and got lost staring into the colourful infinite. When I catch myself staring like that it means I really like something. So I was pleased to see that Hexeosis actually has a kickstarter campaign running to make a full length, full colour, full HD sized animated short film.

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If you support the Hexeosis kickstarter campaign, you stand to get a lot of cool stuff. Varying on the amount you pledge of course, you are eligible to receive a wallpaper pack, digital HD download, regular or deluxe edition blue-ray disc, postcards, stickers, a signed copy, even producer or executive producer credits.

Hexeosis describes their short film as:

This full length video will be a journey in and out of forms and patterns, mandalas and psychedelic landscapes. Colorful calm moments, energetic dynamic sequences and thought-provoking, mind bending constructions woven together into an overall seamless rhythm and flow.

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If that sounds right up your alley and you enjoy the work of Hexeosis I encourage you to check out their personal site for more gifs, images and videos. As well as take a look at their kickstarter campaign.

Bach: The Well Tempered Clavier for Sinfini Music

When I was a child I use to listen to the well tempered synthesizer by Wendy Carlos and marvel at the sounds I was hearing. So when I saw this video in my news feed with a similar title I had to check it out, and sure enough I wasn’t disappointed. The well tempered clavier for sinfini music explores Bach’s 24-part comprehensive study in every major and minor key. For the key of C major, Bach had created 2 wonderful compositions, which this video explores through a very creative use of sound design and computer animation.

A brief introduction to Modular Synthesizers

For those looking to make the jump into the world of modular synthesis, Max Brodie, a music producer/composer out of Manchester UK, has provided you with a brief introduction to the wild and crazy world of modular synths. When Max isn’t making cool videos about synthesizers he’s writing music for companies like American Express, Volkswagon and Vodaphone. Check out his portolio site, where you can watch his demo reel and see some of the other brands that also enjoy using Max’s music.

Galen Pehrson’s The Caged Pillows

Galen Pehrson’s The Caged Pillows is a surreal short film exploring the isolation of technology and media consumption. The soundtrack has great artists like Daft Punk, Death Grips, Future Islands and Devandra Banhart. Voice actors include the likes of Jena Malone, Rose McGowan, Gemma Ward and James Franco. The piece was originally commissioned for the launch of ruinsmag.com, a think piece digest with a focus on stimulating conversation around urban futurism. You can watch the film here on Vimeo.