Happy 21st, Pasifika!

Many peo­ple don’t realise that even tra­di­tion­al work­flow tools can ben­e­fit from using pro­gram­ming tech­niques.

One of my ear­li­est cod­ing expe­ri­ences was writ­ing an auto­mat­ed script for Adobe Page­Mak­er (a print-based lay­out appli­ca­tion) — this took a CSV file export­ed from the Microsoft Access adver­tis­ing list­ings, and cre­at­ed cor­rect­ly-sized ad box­es with the adver­tis­er’s name (sav­ing pro­duc­tion time of about 16 hours). In anoth­er project, I used JavaScript to pro­gram expres­sions in After Effects to auto­mat­i­cal­ly cre­ate a script-based numer­i­cal on-screen counter (from 100,000 to 259,000 — with motion blur). These approach­es allow much more con­trol and flex­i­bil­i­ty than tra­di­tion­al man­u­al­ly-based work­flows.

For this pro­mo­tion­al video for AucklandNZ.com to cel­e­brate 21 years of the Pasi­fi­ka Fes­ti­val, I used par­ti­cle emit­ters to con­trol a sep­a­rate time­line with 3,000 images (auto-import­ed) and ani­mat­ed using this par­ti­cle sys­tem. With a few sim­ple para­me­ters, I was able to con­trol siz­ing, speed and trans­la­tion lim­its to cre­ate the right effect. I then added a few type ele­ments for the years, and placed every­thing with­in a ‘space tun­nel’ (actu­al­ly a large graph­ic with a polar co-ordi­nate dis­tort fil­ter).

I designed a quick end­frame in Pho­to­shop, then asked the graph­ic design team to make sure it was on-brand and add any flour­ish­es required.

Once com­plet­ed, I then worked close­ly with the Pasi­fi­ka events man­age­ment team to get a sound­track cleared for use, then edit­ed it to match the ani­ma­tion.

About the Festival

The Pasi­fi­ka Fes­ti­val began in 1992, and has grown into one of Auckland’s biggest cul­tur­al events. It came to life through a joint ini­tia­tive between the then Auck­land City Coun­cil and the South Pacif­ic Island Nations Devel­op­ment Asso­ci­a­tion. The Fes­ti­val aimed to bring Pacif­ic Island com­mu­ni­ties clos­er togeth­er and to cel­e­brate the rich­ness and vari­ety of their val­ues, cul­ture and lifestyles. It has grown to become the biggest cel­e­bra­tion of Pacif­ic Island cul­ture and her­itage in the world.

Date: 21st March 2013

Client: ATEED

Category: Code, Video