The New Yorker Festival

Every year, The New Yorker puts together a collection of live interviews and presentations. The lineups are released weeks in advance and then begins the job of promoting it. The Design Director at the time contacted me to work on a video that would be used on the website and at the festival, which would showcase who was speaking. The concept for this was based on some photos that he contracted, which were used for various ads in the magazine.

These photos were constructed and taken by James McNabb for the New Yorker Festival print ads. It featured a replica of Manhattan made from wooden buildings. Yes, he made all of them by hand, via a band saw.

 
 
 

 

TESTS

So knowing that this video should play off the printed images, I started experimenting with cityscapes, and how the speakers would interact with the buildings. At first, I keyed into the shadows that buildings make, and how the titles could interplay with the shadows. But I soon realized that it would be too boring and repetitive.

Then I started thinking of each person's name acting as a neighborhood in this cityscape, and having the camera do a flythough the buildings, showing the name for a few seconds, then moving on to the net.

Experimenting with titles created via shadows

Another experiment with titles created via shadows

Testing the idea of type surrounded by buildings. This became the concept for the rest of the video

 

 

THE BUILDINGS

The next step was to get the timing of the video down. I had a list of names, and knew that I could make two videos. I would split the names up between the two videos and keep the beginning and the end the same. I started doing a few versions with camera paths. Because this was in a city setting, I wanted to have a moments where the camera was flying through the building. A few first attempts had too much camera movement, and was really disorienting.

At the same time, I started designing the building. I had a way of filling a set space with copies of these buildings and because the buildings would be moving, they didn't need to be two detailed. I used the print campaign photos as reference and came up with 15 buildings of various heights and wood colors.

 

Test of camera fly-through of city blocks

 
Drawings for the buildings

Drawings for the buildings

The buildings that made up the city, rendered.

The buildings that made up the city, rendered.

 

 

CITY LAYOUT

I had the city size figured out, plus all the buildings, and knew where I needed the type to live. Now I needed to figure out the camera path, and how to plan a fly-over without making the viewer sick.

 
 
Final city layout with type and Central Park

Final city layout with type and Central Park

This is the final video in wire form, just to make sure the camera movements were smooth.

 
 
Final camera path above city

Final camera path above city