The Price of Freedom
It is rare that we come across an opportunity that is hard to turn down. Late 2018 we came across Kevin Ashman, a Welsh Author and Poet and a piece of his writing really stood out and caught our attention.
With a growing Motion Graphics and Animation team in-house at Rockadove, it is really important to ensure there are opportunities to flex our creative muscles and produce styles of video content that might not necessarily lend themselves to a corporate video project.
The Poem “The Price of Freedom” was very much that. The narrative focused around WWI, we heard it for the first time at a poignant time of year, Remembrance Day. Kevin was looking to produce a video, a visual representation of his words…and we jumped at the chance!
Challenge number one was how do we visually represent the narrative, without distracting from the messaging and making a mockery of the content. Our initial thinking was to create parallax images of real war photography. This is a process that takes a still photo and breaks that down into layers, recreating the missing information/visuals from the separated layers. This then allows us to create motion and depth in what would have been just a still image.
Matt from our Motion Graphics team came up with a concept of ink bleeds that reveal scenes that represent the messaging. This would allow a lot of creative freedom and would mean we can transition really well between the scenes. We sourced and created appropriate imagery that best represented the content, then utilised ‘matt layers’ and ‘ink bleed alphas’ to allow us to reveal the images. Matt decided to use a simple colour palette with the prominent red being a key colour. This developed over a few weeks into what the film is today; a beautifully crafted animation.
With all good video content, an often-overlooked element is the sound design. Sound is something you never really want to notice, but without it, it loses a depth and quality that helps bring it to life and engage the viewer. We dedicate a lot of time to this, dare we say, unappreciated element of video production. In this case one of our editors, Sam, worked on creating a bespoke sound design, to represent each scene. The beauty of sound is the manipulation; believe it or not we have even included the sound of frying bacon in the film, to give that sizzle in places where the ink bleeds. One of the fun elements of sounds design is creating foley sound, the art of finding things that sound like other things. You would never know watching it!
Narrated by Michael Sheen
We weren’t the only people who had picked up on the wonderful words of this poem. The famous Michael Sheen, who we have been fortunate enough to film with multiple times over the years was also a fan of the poem and even agreed to narrate the poem for the video. This obviously gives additional impact and kudos to the project which massively helps bring the narrative to life.
A project we are incredibly proud of, that has gone on to become an Award Winning Animation at the Wales International Film Festival. Has been viewed around the world and by flexing our creative muscle has allowed us to push boundaries that has only helped us deliver more interesting and engaging content for our clients.
On Sunday, we will stand in silence, in memory of those that sacrificed their lives all those years ago. Thank you.