Inside the 'Box': Behind the Scenes of Bot & Dolly's Magical Short Film
In case you missed it, a few days ago we shared an incredible short film entitled Box, produced by design and engineering studio Bot & Dolly that must be seen to be believed. Using projection mapping, robots, and two 4x8 canvases, Bot & Dolly create an inspiring 3D landscape, all in-camera, all in real-time. And, as promised, the behind the scenes video has been released, giving us an inside look at the incredible digital "magic tricks." So, if you were dying to know just how Bot & Dolly did it, read on.
To create Box, Bot & Dolly used their state of the art robotic systems to move the camera, as well as the blank 4x8 canvases, while projecting 3D imaging created in Maya onto them in a process called projection mapping.
For those who haven't seen the short film, check it out below:
The Creator's Project jumps behind the scenes of Box in order to talk to Design Director Bradleyy "GMUNK" Munkowitz and Design Technologist Tarik Abdel-Gawad about the process they employed in order to make such a groundbreaking film.
One of the aspects of this project that makes it so unique, is that Bot & Dolly used projection mapping on moving objects, something that has never been done before. Munkowitz explains that the film, though an exercise in the technical capabilities of mixing robotics and projection mapping, is really a story about magic and illusion. So, if you noticed those titles in the film, like "Transformation" and "Levitation," they were referring to the different principles of magic. Very clever!
Bot & Dolly created software called BD Move, that allows animators to control robots with Maya, which is essentially the cornerstone technology behind Box. Abdel-Gawad starts with a flat render in CG, then projects it out onto the panels. The Creator's Project article explains how it works:
This program allows for the team to animate the functions of the robotic in 3D space. For the camera movement, instead of simply animating a path, they motion-captured the view of an actual person watching the performance and then applied this natural movement to a camera path.
Now, go behind the scenes of Bot & Dolly's Box, and find out how they used their own magic to make this incredible film.
A big thanks to The Creator's Project for sending the BTS video our way!
Now that you've pulled back the curtain, what do you make of Box? Are these filmmaking techniques something you could see yourself implementing in your own films?