Recently we caught up with MoSoMoS Industries’ Mathew Amonson, director of the promo for NBC’s upcoming “Making It,” with Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. Although necessarily short, the piece is many-layered and quite full with perspective shifts and lots of moving pieces. We asked Amonson how this came to be.
“After receiving a brief,” he said, “we threw out some very unconventional and stylized abstractions. NBC responded to it in a very encouraging and positive way and encouraged us to take it further. We refined the ideas into a cohesive visual flow through a world of craft and art processes as we float through countdown, blast off through a dimensional portal and then land in the new universe of the show dedicated to craft and creators.
“I really wanted to push the boundaries of what we could do visually so I incorporated long flowing motion control shots and massive perspective shifts. To do this, it would require a motion control system that didn’t exist.
So we made one!”
As impressive as this sounded, it also must have come with a solid set of challenges. We asked Amonson about some of them. “Acting as producer at the same time as directing is always a challenge, and usually means less sleep and more responsibility, but it was important for me to save resources wherever possible so I could put them directly into artwork and (the) team to make the best piece possible.”
Amonson told us this meant really finding a tight, dynamic team. “Stanley Kubrick’s production process has always been an inspiration for me,” he said. “He always ‘put the money on the screen’ and had a very minimal team packed with top level creators. I was very lucky to have access to an amazing community of artists, fabricators, and animators. The piece wouldn’t have been possible without the talented, generous, and diligent efforts of everyone on my team who seamlessly shifted between roles and responsibilities as challenges arose.”
According to Amonson, one of the biggest challenges they faced was, in fact, the custom building of the motion control system to fly the camera freely through the set and create dynamic shots. “I used a lot of pre-existing time-lapse/moco components that were never intended to be used in the ways I use them.
“Having no real background in motion control, I had to fully immerse myself in it and absorb every piece of knowledge I could find. This involved a lot of testing, re-wiring, and modifying of components from Dynamic Perception, eMotimo, 80/20. We also added small joiners, supports, stabilizers, cable routing, and mechanical, wiring components to complete the build.”
Having gone through all of that, it sounded like Amonson became hooked: “Now I’ve become a bit addicted to the world of custom Motion Control Systems. Dragonframe really opened-up this world to me. It is the core of everything I do in the world of motion control and the software development team was incredibly helpful and responsive in helping me understand all the possibilities of the software as well as creating some new solutions for me on the fly. Thanks Guys!”
You’re welcome Mat! Always here to help and, of course, we love to see the program being put to such good use.
To learn more about the making of the “Making It” trailer, see the bts video: