THUMP Identity

May 2016 ––
The fine peoples at the Vice electronic music label Thump hit up Mr Munkowitz to create their new bumper that goes in front of every video and piece of content from the channel. So Munkowitz called upon his favorites from the Potrero Porn Productions Crew ( + ) and they immediately dug into the brief, musing on how Thump and electronic music culture live in a symbiotic relationship, each reacting to the evolving impact of the other. In the treatment they focused on the juxtaposition of two sound driven worlds that evolve in reaction to one another.

As a result, three physical treatments of the logo would be shot in-camera and then edited together to create a visual rhythm between organic metal and reflective strings. In the final moment, Thump’s logo would emerge in a clean, multi-planar acrylic form, with moving light sources cascading across for the final reveal. In the end however, only two of the three setups made the cut as the fine people at Vice wanted a more homogenous aesthetic, yet the guiding principles still prevailed and informed the imagery captured in-camera.

The Film

–– 01

Initial Research

–– Fluid Distortion
The best part of collaborating with the Potrero Porn Productions crew is the purity the guides the open experimentation during the research phase. Utilizing Cymatic techniques has always been a huge interest to the team, mostly for the hyper-organic results it produces when displacing and distorting various substrates.

Frequently, the initial research clips always come out pretty kick-ass, and this exercise was no different. Using water and shallow troughs, the team vibrated and rippled it with delightfully pornographic results. Coupled with stark lighting and sharp specular highlights created some deliciously high-contrast displacement studies.
–– 02

Cymatic Gallium

–– 03

The usage of the Cymatic Gallium instead of the water pools was a creative push to create something novel by utilizing a material that had rarely been affected by audio-driven vibrations before. Gallium is special its low melting point of roughly 85 degrees F, allowing it to melt at body temperatures. The setup was to allow the liquid metal to vibrate across a black acrylic plane, swirling in recessed typographic pools that collectively made up the construct of the Thump logo.

To create the organic ripples that affected the Gallium, the team hooked up a series of Synthesizers and cultivated a series of custom built sine-wave frequencies from a large speaker that caused the metal troughs resting on it to ripple and form detailed sound wave patterns. These sounds were then synchronized with the camera's frame-rate, thus achieving the time frozen formation look, and also were used in the final sound design and mix so the visual feedback felt real and authentic.

Thump Logo

–– 04

For the final Thump logo, again the team wanted to stay in the practical realm, as they wanted the footage to fit in with the rest of the practical mayhem. So they laser cut two copies of the letters, one an opaque white acrylic and the other a crystal clear acrylic. They glued the two materials together for each letterform, and then placed them on a piece of black drape and shot downwards, framing the logo in the center of frame.

For the lighting, they used a variety of sources to pan across the logo at various speeds, and also using a variety of tones, frequently hand-held and sometimes programatically with a custom iPad-controlled scheme. The washes of light and color inspired creative editing of the resulting footage, enabling a layered logo formation that was textured, had beautiful internal shadowing, natural depth and a physical presence to it all.

The Process

–– 05

Surprisingly, Vice had quite a small budget for this extremely visible piece of content, so the team had to be incredibly resourceful on how to pull it all off. So Munkowitz, calling upon all his connections from the SF locale. As a result, he assembled a Seal Team of inspired peoples to generously donate their time at very modest costs; focusing instead on the love of creating and collaborating together to make some Advanced Beauty. Another bonus was good friend Jonathan Rowe donating his space at Madrone Studios so the team could shoot in the basement on a homie favour.

Creatively, one of the key ingredients in the team was with local DP Devin Whetstone, who took his Alexa Mini and Master Prime 100mm Macro lens and donated them for the endowment of professional results. Other key members were superGaffer Chris Galdes, ultraGrips Dakota Wilder and Patrick Walsh and additional Creative love from frequent collaborator Mr Mike Williams. Overall, it was an amazing team giving their time and passion to make it great, donating their time towards the good vibes and pure intentions to collaborate and create for the Love.

Monarch of Mood

at Madrone Studios
for Vice US | THUMP
THUMP Logo Bumper Credits

Monarch of Mood: GMUNK
Gallant Knights of Gallium: Peter Clark, Conor Grebel
Duke of Photography: Devin Whetstone
Summoner of Light: Chris Galdes
Wizards of Wub: Conor Grebel, Peter Clark
Cavalry of Craft: Dakota Wilder, Mike Williams, Branden Paris
Video Butcher: Peter Clark
BTS Minstrel: Bedtimes
Production Kingdom: Madrone Studios

Client: Vice US | THUMP
Design Director: Dersu Rhodes
Publisher: Joel Fowler