Diving into the Creative Minds of Schnellebuntebilder

10 01 2015

We first came across the work of Schnellebuntebilder on our latest project with MTV. Fascinated by their film, MOMENTUM, we were intrigued to know more.

A quick search of Schnellebuntebilder and it becomes quickly evident that these guys are doing some mind-melding work, incorporating physical movement into sound and translating that across film and virtual reality. Take a look at MOMENTUM for instance, or the incredible making-of that the group put together. It’s clear that the Berlin-based trio are up to some amazing things, so we caught up with them to talk MOMENTUM, virtual reality, and inspiration.

Tell us about your three-way collaboration at schnellebuntebilder — who does what?

We (the three founders, Johannes, Sebastian and me) are mostly working together during the concept phase of the projects. When it is about realising the projects, we split up. Johannes is specialized in generative art developing the look of the visuals and Sebastian is digging into code the deepest. So he is our Badass-Nerd. I specialize in illustration/style development as well 2D and 3D animation. Til this day, our team has grown to 6-10 people, depending on the projects, involving some seriously talented folks such as Ronny Schmidt, Uli Streckenbach, Michael Burk and Ann-Kathrin Krenz.

How did you come up with the concept of MOMENTUM?

Besides our commercial work we love to do free experimental projects.

In 2013 we worked on a dance-exhibition for the DEUTSCHE HYGIENE MUSEUM. There, we developed four exhibits exploring the possibilities of transforming human movement into visuals and sound. You can find the videos documenting three of the exhibits here: Epilog, Blink of an Eye, and Stepsequencer.

After that we were invited to take part in the “Choreographic Coding Lab” of Motionbank, a project of the FORSYTHE COMPANY, working with choreographers like William Forsythe and Deborah Hay. There we met the guys of klingklangklong. Together we were researching a common language for movement/dance defining parameters like energy, smoothness, speed, reach density etc. We called that “Trackable Qualities of Dance.”

Using the results of our studies we worked on a dance theater play called “Tortured Mind.” The special thing was, although the stage was completely empty, the dancers and actors could interact with various objects. All objects were represented by their sound, which was triggered by the actors in real time. Nothing was faked, everything was completely live depending on the movement of the protagonists. Therefore we had to dig deep into realtime tracking. So this was a lot of late-night-programming and frozen pizza.

After all that we were eager to finally let all the research and technical development result in a audiovisual artwork, in an exhibit people can actually use and interact with. In January 2015, MOMENTUM world premiered at CES in Las Vegas.

How was the virtual reality created?

MOMENTUM was created using a KINECT camera. All data provided by the KINECT was analyzed and transformed into sound and visuals using vvvv, Max and Ableton Live. For more information, watch the BEHIND THE SCREENS (below).

What are the upcoming plans for this experimentation in sound/movement/matter?

Whenever we find the time besides our commercial work we experiment and try to push things further. Next step was to literally step into virtual reality. So – again together with klingklangklong –  we developed a new exhibit based on MOMENTUM using the Oculus Rift called MIRROR. So that was a big step for us. Because the Oculus gave us the opportunity to create a truly immersive user experience. MIRROR was first shown on the NODE Festival for Digital Art.

You can find a sneak peek and a description of the project here.

And we are working on a music video for the adorable SISSI RADA completely filmed with the KINECT 3D camera.

More to come soon.

Where do you find inspiration for your ideas in respect to film/art?

That´s a tough one. I´d say our main source of inspiration is the internet. Connecting with other digital artists all over the world is inspiring our work every day. Of course there are films like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey or Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void that are inspiring our work. And not to forget: living in Berlin is a great source of inspiration in general. Berlin is such a crazy melting pot connecting creatives from all over the world with its lively art scene and a super exciting subculture.