Phosphene Creates Animated Projection for Broadway's "Hedwig and The Angry Inch"
April 30, 2014 --
Director Michael Mayer added ?Collaborating with John on the ?Origin of Love? animation was fantastic. His vision was beautiful to begin with, but experiencing the way he worked with me and our choreographer Spencer Liff to detail each dramatic moment in the piece was revelatory. I hope I'm lucky enough to get him on all my animation projects from here on.? To insure that the projection Phosphene built met all the necessary technical specs, Bair worked closely with Hedwig Projection Designer, Benjamin Pearcy, of 59 Productions (New York/London). ?John and Phosphene created beautiful images which we formatted and assembled to integrate them with the live performance. We divided their content into sections, split them into a series of files, programmed them into the media server and cued them at certain points during the piece of music to insure that they happen at the right time every evening, even if the tempo changes. The animation is absolutely spectacular. The images are beautifully hand drawn and, although we are using computers to deliver the projection, the fact that it is of an analog origin makes it a perfect fit for the context of the show,? stated Pearcy. In the musical, Hedwig talks about having kept an illustrated journal when she was a boy, which is the lead in to ?The Origin of Love.? So, the illustrations are meant to look like they could have been hand crafted by Hedwig. Bair explained: ?Ideally, the entire projection would have been drawn by hand, frame-by-frame, but as we only had 3 to 4 months to shepherd the project from conception to final execution, we utilized Adobe After Effects and 3D Studio Max. It allowed us to take an early version of the song, write an animation script, very quickly try out ideas, draw up some images and start animating them to see how it felt. We built a replica of the stage to drop into After Effects so we could move things around on the virtual screen and ultimately, once parts were starting to work, we developed a series of filters to let us draw a digital line which was manipulated in After Effects until it looked roughly like a hand drawn image, with jiggle and randomness. Once that was locked in, we printed out every single frame of the whole piece painting in a texture that fills in between all of the lines. We have created approximately 2000 hand painted frames, in addition to generic hand painted textures.? The Phosphene creative team was led by Bair and included Producer Vivian Connolly and Animators Greg Radcliffe and Karis Oh. ABOUT PHOSPHENE Phosphene is a New York-based independent design and visual effects house led by founders/co-owners John Bair and Vivian Connolly.
In 2010, Bair and Connolly launched Phosphene with visual effects for Barry Levinson?s ?You Don?t Know Jack,? Phillip Noyce?s ?Salt,? George Nolfi?s ?The Adjustment Bureau,? Jodie Foster?s ?The Beaver? and Brad Anderson?s ?Vanishing on
In 2012, Phosphene was a VFX partner on ?The Bourne Legacy,? 2013 Golden Globe nominee ?Hope Springs,? and Stephen Frears? ?Muhammad Ali?s Greatest Fight? before teaming up with director Sebastián Cordero to create over three hundred shots for the acclaimed science fiction thriller ?Europa Report.?
In 2013, Phosphene partnered with Bill Condon and Dreamworks on ?The Fifth Estate? as well as with Alfonso Cuarón on the Warner Bros./NBC pilot ?Believe.? In addition, Phosphene was a visual effects partner on Woody Allen?s ?Blue Jasmine,? Ben Stiller?s ?The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? and John Turturro?s ?Fading Gigolo.?
Phosphene received a Visual Effects Society Award and an Emmy nomination for their work on ?Boardwalk Empire.? And in addition to their Emmy-nominated work for Todd Haynes? HBO miniseries ?Mildred Pierce,? Phosphene was the VFX partner on all four seasons of ?Treme,? NBC?s ?30 Rock,? ABC?s ?Pan Am,? CBS? ?Blue Bloods? and FX?s ?The Americans.? Phosphene recently wrapped up Cary Fukunaga?s ?True Detective? and Ryan Murphy?s ?The Normal Heart? for HBO. Phosphene is currently working on Bennett Miller?s ?Foxcatcher,? Steven Soderbergh?s ?The Knick,? Tom McCarthy?s ?The Cobbler? and Josh Boone?s ?The Fault in Our Stars.? Phosphene is located at
Neil Patrick Harris? return to Broadway in the new production of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, the musical with book by John Cameron Mitchell and music and lyrics by Stephen Trask, directed by Michael Mayer recently opened to rave reviews at the Belasco Theatre (