We’re suckers for a good title sequence here at DN and you could say that animation is also very close to our hearts, so it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Florian Raphael Panzer’s creative Playgrounds Student Titles 2013 – with its message of throwing caution to wind and breaking away from the daily grind – was going to be welcomed with open arms to our pages. The fact that it features the names of many of our favourite animators too doesn’t hurt matters either. Beginning when he was still a student at AKV|St.Joost in Breda, the Netherlands, Panzer spent 10 months – from initial brainstorming to final Vimeo render – creating the sequence with a shifting team of volunteers in order to have it ready to present at this year’s festival. We asked Panzer to join us for a Q&A about his inspiring title sequence.

Could you share your thoughts behind the concept for the film?

In our highly digitalized world we notice a significant stream of designers who pursue for tradition. They are exploring the old ways. Working with ‘real’ materials, ‘scissor and paper’ simplicity versus the digital magic of 0s and 1s to make outstanding work. They are embedding analog elements in a digital environment and creating beautiful progressive pieces.

With the Playgrounds Student Opener 2013, I want to catch exactly that zeitgeist. Story, designs, animation, everything should be kept to a natural, analog approach to animation. But at the same time I make use of the advantages of the digital possibilities by merging the different worlds; combining both genres and multiplying their strength.

The festival was always a place for me where this attitude was present. Highly creative people gather and share their experience. People searching for the same – the exceptionalism – in their work. Searching for meaningful ways of art and choosing non-conventional paths to fulfil their visions. I hope with the Playgrounds Opener I can reflect that vibe and even more, motivate the audience to keep up these values and emphasize the creative atmosphere of solidarity at the Playgrounds Festivals 2013.

I was interested to search for a film in between the boundaries of 2D, 3D and stop motion animation.

How did those conceptual concerns affect the way you approached production?

I was interested to search for a film in between the boundaries of 2D, 3D and stop motion animation. So a hybrid solution taking the best aspects out of the different areas. We tried to reach an analog 2D look with animated paper textures and hand drawn matte paintings. We reduced the use of the different passes (in the 3D program) to a minimum to keep it as close to a drawing as possible. In the animation of the main character Andrew, we orientated towards stop motion animation and finally tried to use the advantage of a 3D space moving camera. The film is fully produced in 3D.

Did that analogue/digital hybrid method of working extend to the film’s soundtrack?

For the soundtrack I found a collective of young talented sound designers, Soundbreeders. They also tried to tackle the experiment and create a mix between analog and digital soundtrack to support the story and mood of the film.

Did the story change much from initial concept to the final piece?

The story of the film was changed a lot during the process, partially because of the ever-changing grouping arrangement. Some people helped for 2 months, others for a couple of days. The team was constantly changing. In the beginning the moving storyboard was a 5 minute short film with a pretty closed/defined story. But during the process we changed the concept until it became what it is, even after producing the trailer for my graduation. So despite already being in production, the concept of the end was changed twice with two characters first added and then deleted from the story.

How did you build the shifting team who helped you deliver the film?

In the beginning of the production I was looking for professional support from production studios and sound companies which didn’t work out in the end. But I got feedback and advice from some good people from the industry though. Luckily a lot of friends and fellow students agreed to help me along the way. They really shaped the film, added extra detail and helped producing it. I’m very glad about the support I got. I really need to thank these guys, without them the film wouldn’t be finished yet.

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