This project started with a piece of music...
The brief was simple.
React to the music.
It could be live action or animation. Typography or imagery. Hand-drawn or computer-rendered.
So I started with the music and listened to it on a loop for days.
One of the earliest images that leapt into my mind was that of a 1950s sci-fi; gleaming robots and flying cars. The repeating motifs in the music lent itself to this sort of retro-futuristic aesthetic.
And as much as I liked the thought of working in this style, it just wasn't right.
But then my thoughts of robots became thoughts of bees. And what are bees but the robots of the natural world?
I'd settled on my theme. Now it was time for research...
My research initially focused on the bees themselves. I wanted to know all I could about them. How did a hive function? What did the different bees do? What did the interior of a hive actually look like?
As I collected images for a moodboard, I learned how bees actually see the world. Firstly, they see quicker than humans; like a video camera set at a high frame rate. Secondly, they see in ultraviolet, allowing them to experience colours that we are blind to. I knew I wanted to incorporate these two facts into my style, to help create an other-worldly look.
I worked on a test clip. The image of the bee was built with some video footage masked out into various shapes, looping and distorted to create the right shade and texture. This test helped me see what I was going in the right direction, and made me brave enough to push this 'layered video' style even more.
I storyboarded the film carefully, listening to the piece of music over and over to ensure that the story of the bees built along with it. I also spent a lot of time collecting the video footage I wanted to loop for the various elements of the film; the wings were plastic bags, the hive was honey I dripped down the side of a cup, the fur of the bees was some Christmas tinsel.
The animation itself was created almost primarily in After Effects, with some Premiere use on the video layers and Illustrator to create the vector files used as the masks for the different elements. Once I had the bulk of the visuals created, I concentrated on syncing as much of the motion to the music as possible; the flying of the bees, the pulsing of the petals, and so on.
There was only one title for the finished film.
It was a word I'd learned during my research. An old Irish word for 'The Bee Judgements', ancient laws pertaining to the keeping of bees.