What do you get when you give a group of nine motion & video designers absolute freedom to create whatever they want to create, inspired by the words of a spoken word artist? A whole lot of amazing visuals, that's what.

One of my closest friends happens to be the spoken word artist in question. The nine designers happen to be my colleagues at We Are Blossom and Greenhouse Group. And the spoken word piece happens to be called 'De Nachtwacht' (The Night Watchmen). It's a piece of performance art created during the COVID-19 pandemic, reflecting on the obstacles many in the creative arts industry have faced and which some of us are still facing today.

In this creative collaboration I gave every designer one or two snippets from the full recital. The only requirement was that each individual had to create a moving picture to bring their snippet to life in a 1:1 and 9:16 ratio to be shared on social media. How they did this and which techniques and skills they would use was up to themselves. Once everyone had made their magic happen I would put the whole thing back together, resulting in a videoclip with very different but equally awesome styles and creative expressions.
I handed myself the opening sequence and another random section from the recitation. With the opening sequence of course came the job of coming up with a title animation, which would then continue into the first part of the spoken word piece. I decided on a color scheme I liked, handmade a font from scratch in Adobe Illustrator, and brought the whole thing to Adobe After Effects to get things going with a fluid shape animation.
Since all contributors have some connection to the city we work in, Eindhoven (NL), I decided the basis for the first part would be set in a distinct Eindhoven panorama depicting several well-known buildings. Since the spoken word piece is a bit dystopian the streets would have to be empty. An endless night with no one out and about, kind of how 2020 felt as a whole. Ammirite? I created most of the scene in Adobe Illustrator after which I brought it to Adobe Photoshop for some textures and shading.
To emphasise the words I decided on a contrasting bright yellow font to play with the bleak and desolate scene. Inspired by old movie posters using bold typography I finished my first part off in Adobe After Effects to the sounds and beats of the audio. I decided on creating a 16:9 version of this one as well, just for the fun of it.
Carrying on with my second snippet I had already come up with the basic idea for it. The voice-over talked about riding your bike home late at night, which gave me the perfect scenario to flex my 3D skills again by creating an infinite street on which a bicycle would be swaying from left to right.

I quickly set the stage by building a row of similar houses with lights emitting from various windows on one side of a globe, and a row of street lights on the other side of the globe. I found a 3D model of a typical Dutch bike (I very much encourage the use of kitbashing) and had it move from left to right on the rotating scene with a fixed camera position.

In the capture below you can see the bicycle doesn't really behave as it would in the real world, as it's pushing through the floor. However, you can also see the scene works from the camera's point of view by now having a visible horizon as well as the scenery in this close cropped shot. It's always about what you CAN see through the camera, rather than what you can't see in the mechanics behind the scene, in my opinion anyway.
I then took the final 3D render into Adobe After Effects to add some wriggly typography and distortion, and to mess about with some RGB-splitting on both the type and the scenery to come up with this funky retro 3D style execution.  
With my own two snippets now done and the other parts delivered right on schedule I put everything back together. Resulting in the magnificent, fun, quirky and moody video's you'll find below. It goes to show, teamwork really does make the dream work. Be sure to check out the designers' Instagram pages tagged in these video's to find more of their creative endeavours.
Creative Skills
Concept, Illustration, Animation, Audio Design, Storytelling

Software Skills
Adobe After Effects, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Audition, Blender 3D

Cesar Schilder
Tommie Retera
Luuk de Graaf
Walter van Turnhout
Nick Janssen
Niel Heesakkers
Leah Koenders
Bo in 't Veld

Spoken Word
Danny Kuiper
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