Apparently, ‘3D printing’ has become a cool thing in the world of contemporary pop music. Will.i.am is the Chief Creative Officer of 3D printing company 3D Systems – whatever that means – and Bloc Party’s Kele has released the first 3D printed record. Right now, Cut/Copy joins the hype with what appears to be the first 3D printed video clip. How can a video possibly be 3D printed, one might ask. Well, read the article and find out.
Cut/Copy is an Australian electronic band, which released its fourth album Free Your Mind last year’s November. We Are Explorers is the band’s brand new single and for this video clip the band has been using stop motion techniques. Stop motion, what is that? Well, take a look at The White Stripes’s famous Lego clip Fell In Love With A Girl from 2002. As you can see, the Lego bricks are moving, due to the fact that the makers have constantly been putting them in different positions. After each position, the team made a new photo and the combination of many photos is called stop motion.
Stop motion is a concept that lends itself to the application of 3D printing techniques and We Are Explorers perfectly reflects this idea. In the video you can see two light green figurines taking a stroll through the night whilst picking up a CD from the ground – coincidentally the latest by Cut/Copy? The figurines move in ‘stop motion’, which would normally mean that a lot of slight adjustments to the figurines would be required in order to make them ‘move’.
However, Cut-Copy did things a little differently, as their light green figurines were all made using a 3D printer. Since the 3D printed dolls were unable to move, the electronic band has printed out as many as 200 different figurines to fix the job. In addition, the video uses UV-reactive filament that glows under a black light, making the video even more alienating. Take a look at the clip by Cut/Copy in conjunction with video producers Masa Kawamura, Qanta Shimizu and Aramique Krauthamme.
But that’s not it, yet. Cut/Copy uses an even more 3D printing-minded approach, by enabling its fans to print out the figurines themselves. The files are downloadable via BitTorent and the band encourages its fans to create their own music videos using the figurines. Their BitTorrent page states: “This is an open call for exploration.” In other words: the idea is for fans to take the figurines on another journey in a different video.
To BitTorent’s blog, Krauthamer explains the process: “The idea started with “What if we 3D-printed a music video?” Both Masa and I have done different kinds of stop-motion and we had been discussing the possibility of creating a narrative where every frame of movement was 3D-printed and shot in the street. When we heard “We Are Explorers”, we immediately began imagining this story of tiny 3D-printed characters running through the streets of a major city on an epic journey.”
Aramique Krauthamer and Masa Kawamura add: “Once we had the idea and storyboard figured out, the next step was designing our two characters. Mau Morgo designed them in Cinema4D. Meanwhile, Qanta Shimizu, the technical director on the project, figured out exactly how many figurines we would need print in order to accomplish every motion needed for the narrative. We worked with NextFab in Philadelphia to prep all the Cinema4D files for 3D-printing.”
“We ended up with roughly 200 figurines, and used them in groups of 8 for each type of movement. For example, the running or walking sequence requires 8 figurines and is designed as a loop, so the 8th figurine transitions into the movement of the 1st. We also printed the figurines with a yellow UV reactive filament and shot the figurines at night under black light flashlights. I think our director of photography, Sesse Lind, did an amazing job lighting each scene with a very non-traditional approach.”
Well, what’s left to say? Free your mind and produce your own Cut/Copy video clip.
Credits images/ video: Cut/Copy.