The Mind of an Urban Fox Hunter
Animated Spoken Excerpts from Night Haunts by Sukhdev Sandhu
Chapter 1 of a 3 part series
A dreamstate diary entry spoken proudly by an urban London fox culler. Its purpose is to illuminate the dark regimented sport that sometimes surfaces all over London after midnight. The details are as true as the eye and may indeed shock you. Using all of the words from the text written by Sandhu I hoped to typographically electricute the tale and bring life to the treachery.
Having limited knowledge of the software I resumed my experimentation with optimism. Some of the important aspects that I intended to learn would definitely benefit future work and eliminate some overall technical boundaries. Some of these techniques included material control, light positioning, camera swing, key frame editing and 3d type setting. Using the illustrator version of my fox I created earlier I was able to give it 3d coordinates quite easily. These coordinates were then pasted in the "point of interest" element of the camera, so that where ever i moved the camera to, it would always face the foxes center.
The process was excruciatingly long and the render times were endless, sometimes seven hours! I was not able to make as many changes as I had wished but was ultimately happy with the end result.
The voice that one hears is a voice "emulator" and absolutely not real. I was incapable of finding a suitable voice for the part before the deadline and used an old application. This application is called "Ivoxu" and is a plugin that works on most DAW's. Its a simple text-speech software that can be manipulated into sounding semi-realistic. If I had had more time I would have booked the sound studio at LCC and record a proper sample.
Work Journal (Adobe After Effects)
Being short of Cpu strength I decided that I was unable to place the entire chapter within one episode. This combined with high resolution cache burning made it obvious that I had to focus on a piece instead of the whole thing. It is my intention to continue with this project and complete the rest of the chapter in my own time.
Work Journal (Illustrations)
After i had read the book from cover to cover i discovered that my true interest was the chapter on the urban fox hunters of London. An very distinct element of human nature allowed to run freely within the confines of a civilized neighborhood. I began to sketch fox caricatures with the initial intent of creating a storyline based on what was being said in the text.
I quickly realized that I could use this chapter for the outcome in which I utilize the complete text, a difficult task considering there are 10 full pages of text. I wanted to focus on the frequency of death that a fox community would experience in a night. Based on the figures I wanted to create a Compuserve GIF of a visual transition from alive to dead using the rhythm of the fox culling. This caused a problem for me because I was no longer able to place the required amount of text within a single GIF file, a problem only After Effects could solve.
Work Journal (Examples )
As a group our Typographics class was asked to rendezvous outside Canada Water station. Escorted to the Cafe Gallery through mist and London gale we arrived fresh as ever. What we were there to see was Mark Titchner's exhibition, a truely intuitive artist when it comes to mixed media and subliminal enchantment. I found alot of his work made me gaze subconsiouly for long periods of time, almost luring me into a clautrophic state. His work taught me that I shouldn't limit the possibilities I have when editing a video, the stucture and timing can be both cluttered and effective.
The two other videos are prime examples of how narration and kinetic type are used together to create a suspenceful minimal atmosphere and captivate the listener using accentuation of the spoken words in creative ways.
Collection of Inspiration
The images on the top row are of several different Illustrators (La Petite Illustration, Sunflowerman) all ink and watercolor on a single book page, overlaying the text so that it is just barely visible. This is what inspired me to recreate the effect in pages of Sandhu's book. The images below are of a roommate and I greeting a friendly cub. Although not for too long as we were scared we would transfer too much of our scent and leave the mother a reason to ignore him. A peaceful creature the fox relies on scraps for sustenance, which is unbelievable since we hunt and despise them. They are basically natures answer to rapid urbanisation, and were squashing their numbers on a regular basis.