Forms VIII: Mr. Kaplin
Made by Folk presents No. 8 in the Forms collaborative film series devised by London based, creative sound studio Mount Audio. The ongoing project sees Mount team up with leading visual artists each month to create a unique audiovisual piece, this time with the award-winning motion design studio Mr Kaplin.
The film explores the evolution of form through nature and the development of advanced technological structures.
Mount teamed up with violinist/violist Mallory Hamm to create the brooding score. Inspired by the journey into a dystopian future, the piece subtly evolves from gentle acoustic instrumentation to purely synthetic at its climax.
Tell us about Forms VIII
The piece began by thinking about the creation and evolution of form and what this might look like as we move through natural, man-made and AI worlds. We knew we wanted to create something more experimental than our commercial work normally allows so we began exploring those ideas in a fairly abstract ways and the piece developed from there.
How did the collaboration with Mount Audio work?
Mount Audio approached us this Summer to explain the Forms project and ask if we wanted to be involved. We really enjoy collaborative work and a totally open brief is always an enticing prospect so we were really excited by the idea.
It was an interesting process. Usually you are either working to an existing piece of music or providing a clear brief to a sound studio so it was fun to start with a blank slate and then pass the baton to Mount Audio. It was quite refreshing to take a step back at the end of the process while they did the sound – it makes such a difference that it really felt like a new piece after they were done.
Tell us about Mr Kaplin and how the studio was formed.
Mr Kaplin is a motion design studio based in East London founded by Robert Glassford and Daniel Zucco.
Rob and Dan met in Edinburgh around 10 years ago but it wasn’t until they had both moved away, to Japan and Australia respectively, that their creative partnership really began. Rob is from a filmmaking background and Dan design and motion design seemed to fit as a medium that allowed them to explore their overlapping skills and interests. After a few years teaching themselves animation and working on various small projects over Skype they moved to London and started Mr Kaplin five years ago.
How do you approach a new project like this?
Usually we’ll start with a discussion about our initial thoughts or first reactions to a brief and try to pick one or two potential directions to focus on. After the first conversation we spend some time separately developing aspects of an idea before coming back as a team to bring the threads together and hone it into something more concrete.
We usually spend a fair amount of time on look and story development before beginning a project but we knew we wanted to keep this one fairly loose so we kept the planning to just the broad strokes. We had the overall arc in place and created a few shots to help establish the mood so we knew where we were headed but a lot of the details evolved along the way.
Where do you find inspiration?
We try and keep our influences and inspirations as varied as possible. Films, TV and video games are a big part of our lives and therefore a natural source of inspiration but really it can come from anywhere. A lot of our character work starts with everyday observations for example whereas the typography project we did earlier in the year took a lot of inspiration from architecture and other art forms.
Do you feel it’s important to make time for collaborations?
Yes, it is definitely important to us. It really helps challenge and motivate us as a studio to bring in new perspectives or to try a new creative process. Working with someone outside the studio helps keep the momentum up on a project as well which is great when you are a small studio juggling numerous projects. It is easy for studio projects to fall by the wayside when a large client project appears but collaboration adds an element of pressure that helps keep it a priority.
What do you have coming up?
We have just finished a project with a great watch brand called MAM that should be released shortly and are in the early stages of development for a music video too which should be fun. We are also hoping to have a new character-driven studio piece finished before the end of the year.