What happens when you combine passions?
Volstok has always been about pushing productional boundaries and found a passionate partner in crime in Skillshot for this project.
During a wild brainstorm with Chris Van de Graaff, Richard Van der Vieren, and Volstok’s creative directors Thijs and Wouter, the room almost exploded with ideas.
The urge to create
We wanted to combine live action skate footage filmed with a drone camera with fluent cel animation.
Communicating these visual and abstract concepts to the team was the first challenge. Volstok designed haunting creatures and moodboards to create an entire world that stretches beyond the frame.
Character designs and visual impressions resulted in a clear view on the emotions that we wanted to evoke. We wanted to create a visual story, loaded with action that would punch you in the gut and would leave you wanting more. Adding a clear flow and storyline was crucial to give this mixed media experiment a well defined purpose.
With an exceptional drone operator and some very wild animation ideas we ventured out of our comfort zone and took on a challenge without a clear destination in sight.
Looking for the perfect line
It led us to “De Wasserij”: an old laundry plant ready for demolition, where we teamed up with skaters Kevin and Simon. They had no idea they’d be facing some intimidating monsters.
Chris and Wouter plotted the perfect line for the drone to fly, carefully choreographing the skaters’ actions to leave plenty of room to interact with the animation. We’re not going to lie: it took A LOT of tries to get the perfect take. There were drone crashes, skater crashes, failed skate tricks, failed lines… You could feel the tension and the urgency to do better with each take, resulting in a collective sigh of relief when we finally nailed it.
High fives all around!
First to combine drone and 2d
But the next hurdle to tackle was even more intimidating: combining animated action to the live footage. Volstok has always been very comfortable mixing the two, but this was an entirely different challenge: matching a flying camera with skaters on the move while giving a convincing animated performance.
Volstok’s Creative Director Thijs planned out a rough path for the animation with Lead Animator Sören, imagining the choreography all over again, before cel animation could start. Several rough passes made sure we’d take advantage of each interesting visual opportunity, carefully building layers to achieve the most convincing result.
The cherry on top
Audiotheque did an amazing job, adding even more of a unique atmosphere to the visuals with their remarkable sound design. It was the finishing bite the project needed!
We can all say this was a rewarding challenge and we hope you enjoy the result as much as we enjoyed challenging our talents.
Make sure to have a peek behind the scenes!