Tsui Ling Toomer
Director of Photography:
Erik Van Kirk
Bent Image Lab
A few years back I directed a video for They Might Be Giants song Iím Impressed. It ended up being more like working on a short than a music video. When they contacted Chel at Bent Image Lab about making a video for their new kidís album Here Comes Science I didnít hesitate. They sent us the song, I did an animatic, we went back and forth a bit and then they basically let me go for it.
The idea was to illustrate the concept on computer assisted design in a way that might inspire kids about the technology. I really wanted to play with two extreme scales: miniature and gigantic. I tried to think of what would the 8 year old me want to see... a robot dinosaur.
Everything on the miniature scale was built in stop motion. We tried to make it obvious that Corkbotís stuff was made from familiar objects. The art department came up with a lot of fun stuff. One of my favorites is the tuna an drafting table. Corkbot himself is a real cork, with drawn faces that were mounted to plastic domes, and steel wires for his legs and arms. Normally iíd use aluminum wire (much softer and pose-able than steel) but I wanted them super thin and I didnít want them to break.
For the robo-dino stuff, I shot some HDRI images at sunset right outside of portland. We then took these and used them both as background plates for the CG as well as HDRI images for the renders. The schedule was short so we had to wing a lot of thing (which is how I like to work anyway) and then figured out how to composite it together in the end. All-in-all, a really fun video to work on. Itís also the only thing Iíve done in a while that I can show my son.