In the spring of 2013 Director Dave Green contacted BEMO, a design oriented boutique VFX studio in Los Angeles, about contributing to the feature film Earth to Echo. In this film, three young friends come to the aid of a mysterious visitor from a distant planet (Echo). There are moments in the movie where we see through Echo’s POV, which has been referred to by the production as “Echo Vision.”
This is where BEMO came in. They developed the look and feel of what it would look like to communicate with these children through the eyes of Echo. Part robotic, part cosmic and at times rather emotional, BEMO produced close to 100 shots of Echo’s POV and created the look of ‘Echo Vision’ that has trickled out to the trailers, main titles and even movie posters.
Brandon Hirzel, the creative director and founder of BEMO, had the following to say about this project:
“As an artist and Creative Director, I am always on the lookout for unique intuitive software to include in my tool-belt to help bring my thoughts and visions to fruition. ‘Echo Vision’ was a creative exploration of data visualization and synesthetic motion graphics, which gave us a great opportunity to utilize this incredible software called Yanobox Nodes.”
“The use of the Yanobox Nodes plugin in After Effects was a huge support in creating ‘Echo Vision’. It gave us the ability to start with an already complex preset and then customize the parameters to fit the look and feel of our shot. The 3 dimensional look of nodes fit seamlessly into our other assets to create a beautiful array of visually composed data and provide a strong analytic presence. That’s what we love about Nodes, the ability to make art with data, and ‘Echo Vision’ was the perfect platform to explore this.”
“We wanted “Echo Vision” to carry an emotional undertone while being well versed in the technical analysis of what Echo was experiencing. We merged a wide range of techniques to make this happen and get the look we were after. Nodes played an integral part of creating this visual language. We modeled a lot of the kids and environments, then projection-mapped the footage back onto our 3D scene to get full control over the shot. Once we owned it, we could displace the footage in a multitude of different ways, as well as add precise visual accents to help portray what Echo was feeling or communicating.”
“Nodes helped a lot with those accents. The software is very diverse. It has a beautiful technical look with the ability to move organically. We found that bringing that organic animation into a technical world helped preserve a lot of the emotion that was happening in each scene. This was our underlying goal, to communicate emotion within a technical-based visual language.”
More on Brandon Hirzel, founder of BEMO vfx, design and animation studio in Los Angeles, CA.
Brandon Hirzel is the founder and lead creative director of BEMO. He’s been a fan of storytelling, and as a visual artist strives to tell stories and express himself through his art. Visual Effects, Film and Animation have been a great medium for that. With all of the amazing software and technology available today, he uses live action footage as a canvas and applies his vision to it in many diverse ways. Brandon has always greatly enjoyed the process of collaborating with other artists and creatives, the reason why he founded BEMO.
Earth To Echo, releases in theaters July 2, 2014. Earth to Echo with all related materials: Copyright © 2014 Relativity Media.