Depicting Temporal Scale in Here Be Giants
Here Be Giants is my thesis film for my MFA in Digital Animation and Interactive Media from The Ohio State University. Narration is provided by MFA actor Sifiso Mazibuko, who brings the character of Dayu to life, imbuing him with a grace and power that lends him gravitas. The narration and imagery is bolstered by powerful music from Composer Larry Groupé.
Technical considerations for Here Be Giants included designing ways to depict various scales of time. The final design decisions draw from landscape timelapse photography as well as live action cinematography combined with my own artistic interpretations. The visual imagery used to convey the passage of time was created in Autodesk Maya using paint effects, texture deformers, properties of the physical sun & sky and fluid containers.
Both performance capture and keyframe animation were used, the latter was often randomized to provide visual cues to temporal scale. Particular attention was paid to lensing, speed of camera movement and editorial pacing to convey scale and to provide the visual language for the animation. These visual considerations were paired with sound effects and music to help convey the idea of temporal liquidity. Structurally the narrative echoes the temporal visual themes following a nonlinear path.
Motion blur, particles, depth of field, atmospherics and volumetric decisions were added in post. Final color grade and film grain was added with FilmConvert to give the images texture and a rich, natural color palette.
Here Be Giants was guided by an intersection of my interests in the mythic qualities of landscape, personal documentary and temporal scale. As we age our perspective on the world invariably changes. Things that were said to us as children take on new meaning, and we gain an appreciation for the accomplishments and sacrifices of those that came before us. The influence of my parents and grandparents and their desire to pass along their knowledge helped me to shape the characters in this story.
In a similar way, as we age we also gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the world around us. Our relative minuteness in the vast landscape both in time and space. The structure and tone of Here Be Giants is that of a personal documentary, the subject of which is two-fold: the human character Dayu and the character of the landscape around him.