How to Destroy the Universe Festival

I was asked to create the visuals for the Seattle stop of the How to Destroy the Universe Festival. To be fair, I really didn’t know what to do for this project and I also didn’t have any direction from the promoter other than to “make it about the destruction of the universe.” I didn’t even know if I was supposed to do a video that was 6 hours or 1 hour in length. It was a little strange to approach a large project without any real guidelines.
I began in After Effects by creating some titles and then I began doing some universe building with planets and nebulas. Those were great and I really enjoy doing that kind of work. After Effects is  program that I love to work in because it allows me to add VFX into my stories. I think I’ve been drawn to it from all the years I’ve spent working in Photoshop doing composite images and graphic design work for all the bands I’ve been involved with.

Anyway, I jumped into the project with only about 3 weeks to create the visuals without really knowing what I was doing but determined to deliver a product I would be proud of. Eventually, I had a series of clips that I felt good about, but I didn’t have enough footage to fill any kind of length. That’s when I turned to something I enjoy, and that is creating composite video images where the footage would run in television screens.

With the idea of destruction in mind, I turned to old films and government test footage of atomic bomb detonation trials. I had 3d text titles already created, so I build some generic universe backgrounds with stars and faux camera movement to make everything less static and give some interest to all the layers I planned to have. Since the project was built in HD and all of the footage was not, I had to mess around with scaling and leaving gaps in the frame. That’s where the moving stars background helped me fill out the space. Other than that, I masked and pinned the footage to work as if it was being projected by the televisions in the composites and encoded everything.

As of now, I haven’t heard how the festival went or how the visuals I created were received, so I can only imagine everything worked out and the promoter was happy with the project I delivered.