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driven 007 x spyscape

We were asked by Curious Space to join them in developing a room about James Bond’s iconic Aston Martin DB5 for Spyscape in New York.

The initial concept called for the room to be filled with parts of the DB5 as if the car had been caught in the moment of being blown-up, like a Cornelia Parker artwork. Each part of the car would be mapped and projected onto with iconic scenes from James Bond movies. All edited together in a dream-like sequence.

The project presented three major challenges. The first was that the time-line was short. There were just three months from the initial conversation to the exhibition’s opening, with Christmas right in the middle. The second was the sheer volume of James Bond content available to us. There are 24 James Bond movies, totalling a massive 52 hours and 56 minutes. The final challenge was geometry, the DB5 is an entirely curved object with almost no straight lines. In order to project onto it successfully we would need an awful lot of polygons, resulting in a complex UV unwrap and lineup.

The room which featured the car parts was just before the room where the real 007 car was displayed. We wanted to activate people’s memories of this car and the iconic scenes it has featured in so, with the help of EON, we began to comb though the films identifying moments of action as well as moments of stillness.

Once that was done we had to sift through the films again to find the right type of content which would work when projected onto the cars.

As we were tight on time we ran a technical process in parallel to the creative work. We had to establish a design for the space, get that modelled, unwrapped and built into a Disguise project, while simultaneously working with Curious Space and Spyscape to make sure the car parts could be built, delivered and installed on time and on budget.

Jonathon Lyle, a long time collaborator of ours began a projection study while Dandelion and Burdock began the complex process of unwrapping the cars in a way that would allow easy animation and editing on their surfaces.

Once both the creative and technical part of this process had been completed we need to go though the edit and fit each clip specifically onto the designated car part. We used NDI from NewTek so that we could preview compositions in After Effects in real-time in the Disguise visualiser. This prevented any tiresome back-and-forth with renders to make sure all was working correctly.

Finally, we spent a very intense week on site commissioning the projector convergence, lineup and content. Lining up onto complex, curved geometry is extremely difficult because you have very few corners to work with so we went through a very long process, gradually altering the lineup vertex by vertex. Generally the process of video mapping a 3D object works by aligning the vertex of the 3D model to where it exists on the physical object. This is easy on, for example, a pile of boxes or a building but achieving a seamless result on one of the most beautiful, curving cars ever built was a real challenge.

The doors opened to the James Bond experience at Spy Scape in New York at 10am EST 8th March 2019. There had been just 45 working days from concept to delivery.


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