Ethereal, Visual, Poetry

Abstract Shapes And Compelling Sounds For The Modern Cinematic Haiku

Haïkus In Motion, a small sampling of the cheeky and playful series, is a collaboration between 28 year-old French freelance motion designer, Sébastien Girard, and sound designer Gabriel Bouty. Updating on weekly basis, the series takes inspiration from the Haiku, a traditional Japanese poem comprising just 3 lines, and adapts them for screen. This experiment has resulted in beautifully simple visual and sound poems that began in weekly doses. “They are not short films,” says Sébastien. “Just some animated poetry with a small musical touch.”

Week 49:

With the project just a few months old, the duo have admitted that they chose weekly editions in order to push their creativity, and specifically for Sébastien to enhance his 3D skills. “I am a perfectionist,” Sébastien tells us. “I’ve got a particular attention to the relation between sounds, visuals events and small details.” Brilliant blue and white colours smother the screen like a silky Milky Way in Week 44. Week 17 Cut to another screen: a caramel balloon floats in space. Suddenly it begins dancing wildly, taking on viscous qualities like a chunk of chewed-up of bubble-gum. It wrestles and punches the spaces around it as intrepidly as the beats that accompany it. The sonic and visual interplay is taken to psychedelic levels in Haiku 11, where delicate strings flourish into palpitating flames and swell to the rhythms of the visceral music. “For me this is the most impulsive piece of all,” reflects Sébastien. “The movements and colours represent what I was feeling when I listened to the sounds.” We are utterly convinced.

With new heights and challenges being set, the duo have committed to bringing new eyes and ears to the creative table. “Now each team must make a piece every two weeks,” he comments. “We have split the task to make it more comfortable.” Sound designer Aristide Hersant-Prévert and motion designer Anthony Loquet from the Doze Studio Agency have joined Sébastien and Gabriel in their poetic endurance task.

We wanted to find out more, so joined Sébastien and Gabriel for a chat:

The Plus: What background prepared you for working with motion graphics?
Sébastien Girard:
Firstly I was a video technician working in control rooms or on TV sets. I did this job for 4 years and that experience attracted me to motion design. Each night after my work I learned how to bring graphic pieces to life. So you’ll understand that I don’t have an artistic education prior to this job. But I also have a strong technical background with computers and software.

Week 44:

TP: What inspired you to make videos analogous to the Haiku?
The intention was to develop the ability to imagine or create something from scratch for a second time. I want to explore some atmospheres that I like, dark and abstract…. And this is clearly not the world of my everyday customers! So I think this is personally a great way for me to express myself and explore new techniques. And with a time constraint, I’m forced to do it in an impulsive way.

TP: Which Haiku videos are your favourites and why?
Week 44 : This one is the perfect example of what I expected from haikus. In this one, I worked really hard to recreate some painting video experiences I saw (such as this). This is definitely my favourite with the dark atmosphere, the fluids and the sound design; we are lost in space, which brings us in an uncomfortable state and I love that!

Week 17:

Gabriel Bouty: Week 17: This haiku is one of the most natural that we made. I started it with the desire to do something lighter. When I sent the haiku to Sebastien, I didn’t know how to include lightness into our usually dark universe. The idea of this living candy caramel, who wanders on the screen is just great! It also corresponds to what is expected of our small experiments: a very short visual and musical story, focused on a simple subject.

TP: What makes Gabriel a great collaborator and sound designer?
We have the same tastes and interests for music, movies and tech stuff. So I think this is a really good thing to have a common universe to create something together. Technically, there are no rules, sometimes this is him who starts with audio and sometimes it’s me who comes with the motion graphics. The only difference is that I always need a music track to inspire and motivate me. I think Gabriel has the ability to compose without anything, all things come from his head. He has amazing powers to create some rich atmospheres both from scratch or by understanding visual feelings.

TP: You make a new Haiku video every week. How do your ideas for each week keep flowing? What triggers a new idea?
My ideas come from everywhere. It’s depends, sometimes it’s just a motion graphic piece I saw a few days ago, sometimes it come from music, but ideas often appear when I was exploring new tools or new software techniques. Oddly I take my inspiration into still frames or photographs. Contrary to what we can think, still frames are my first trigger, the movements or other stuff come later, naturally.

TP: What have been your biggest influences?
I can’t tell you what my influences are, but I really love geometric graphics, sci-fi movies, and architectural photography. I also love extreme sports, I practice skateboarding and snowboarding as often as I can). Like many other graphic designers I love listening to music. Since I was child I keep trying to discover new songs, new bands, and new styles all the time. Music is everywhere with me, from morning to evening – I have a real addiction. I think everything started when I’ve listened Amon Tobin for the first time when I was 13.


TP: What other projects can we expect from you?
This is not the first collaboration between Gabriel Bouty and me. Gabriel is the music composer of a great band, called Nïats and I have already make a music video for them. He and other musicians are currently writing new pieces for a second EP so we can maybe expect to another music video next year.

Week 11:

For more on here.