The Novation AFX Station is the latest collaboration between Aphex Twin and the audio product company. Novation is one of Focusrite’s family of brands that develops and markets proprietary hardware products. Used by audio professionals and amateur musicians alike, its solutions facilitate the high-quality production of recorded and live sound.
By this time, I’d been working with Novation for about a year. Naturally, when it was time to launch this new hardware, Novation asked if I was interested. We created a cinematic product launch video for the limited edition AFX Station. It’s a signature synthesizer designed in collaboration with electronic music producer Aphex Twin and his visual collaborator Weirdcore.
Aphex Twin and the Novation AFX Station
Richard David James, best known by the stage name Aphex Twin, is a British Musician. He’s best known for his idiosyncratic work in electronic styles such as techno and ambient music in the 1990s, and has also been associated it the electronic subgenre known as intelligent dance music.
The video I produced celebrates and announces the collaboration between Novation and Aphex Twin and the signature series synth.
It was important to keep the feel of this video on-brand with Aphex Twin’s existing media. As a result, I incorporated digital noise in a visual sense. However, I didn’t want random, senseless noise. Aphex Twin has been known to hide messages and layer meaning into his work. So, I chose to take inspiration from that and use his music to drive the noise the visual noise in the video.
Research & Development
To layer in some extra texture and noise, I explored a few ways to leverage Aphex Twin’s music. I began with the song he provided for the animation and I converted it to Binary and animated those digits in a waterfall effect for a backdrop.
In CGI, many aspects of a scene are controlled with a simple grayscale image texture. When working with animation, you have a 3rd dimension (time) and so I chose to create a grayscale video map, controlled by the volume levels of the track used in this animation. This video map later would control the brightness of lights in my rendering software (KeyShot) and opacity of various channels in my editing software (DaVinci Resolve).
To inject some color into the animation, I used several glitchy animations and leveraged blending modes and some compositing tools within Fusion.
While exploring the worlds of Algorave, Ambient, Techno, Experimental and Electronic music, I thought the collaboration between man and machine was really cool. This gave me the idea to use some datamoshing for some more cool effects. After rendering some animations, I opened them in a hex editor and replaced some of the characters with the binary I extracted from Aphex Twin’s song. As a result, I broken, glitchy video files were used sparingly throughout the animation.
This animation was designed to be broken into two separate pieces that could stand alone. Therefore, the first 15 seconds would act as a teaser and announce the product. Then, the 60-second piece would act as a full product video and highlight more product features.
I like to find ways to extract more value from a collaboration whenever I can. In this case, I created a media pack to help with the launch of the Novation AFX Station. I created several studio renderings as well as some looping videos formatted for use on various social media channels. The result was a collection of media, all with a cohesive look and feel.
Great work is seldom created in a vacuum. Novation is always great to work with, providing clear direction but also inviting exploration and input. Hence, I feel honored to have helped create a piece of media to promote a legendary artists’s signature monosynth. As a creative myself, I really enjoyed working on a video for a company that empowers creatives and artists.
All imagery shown on this page is property of and published with permission granted by Focusrite PLC.
CAD – Provided by Novation
Music – Aphex Twin
Rendering & Animation – KeyShot 9
Post Production – Black Magic Design Resolve & Fusion
Effects – After Effects, 010 Editor
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