Happy New Year!
Welcome to 2018 everyone! Doesn’t it feel weird saying that? We hope you had a wonderful Christmas break! We’re kicking off the new year with something a bit different: photo-restoration and 2.5D animation for a local museum! Emsworth Museum is administered by the Emsworth Maritime & Historical Trust (EM&HT) and is fully accredited by the England’s Arts Council. The museum is dedicated to preserving the stories of its town through both its triumphs and tragedies. The aim was to create a short animated video using photos to share tales of the town’s past. As a promotional video for their website and social media pages, it would also be played inside the museum itself. The goal was to inspire visitors to visit the museum and check out the artefacts and stories around them. You can check out this project in our portfolio.
Digitising Old Photos
With the folks at the museum, we planned out a series of photos that would together tell a story. We wanted to use photo-restoration and 2.5D animation to really bring it to life. We wanted to show that the museum held many more of these stories just waiting to be uncovered. Once we were happy with the idea, we started scanning the photos from the museum’s archive onto our laptop. Moving on, we then edited them back at the office to remove any scratches, rips, dust or other blemishes.
Bringing it to Life with 2.5D Animation
For some scenes, we cut out the subjects from their respective backgrounds, added subtle animations in parts and placed the individual layers in digital 3D space. This is known as 2.5D animation, where the digital camera is animated through the layers to make it feel like a real video. In other scenes we created a film reel effect to advance the story quickly and make it feel a bit like an interesting history lesson.
Searching the Archives
A part of the video involved a story from an old newspaper, an article from The Hampshire Chronicle in 1902, to be exact. We were given a rough date by our friends at the museum, and sought after the article at the Hampshire Archives in Winchester. This entailed using their special readers to magnify these tiny rolls of microfilm, using analogue controls to scroll down and find our content. It was surprisingly fun searching for text in a document the old fashioned way! Once we’d found our story, we then used a separate machine to scan the microfilm for us to edit digitally. We found a piece of software that proved rather handy for stitching the many scans together, called Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor) – it required a bit of manual editing afterwards, but it really helped lift the heavy load.
Music & Sound Design
Underneath it all, we designed an immersive soundscape for each scene to really capture the atmosphere and bring them to life, coupled with a customised soundtrack to help move the story along and create a different feel at key points. We think it really comes together quite nicely – and our client was super impressed, too!