The Swarm

August 03, 2007

Daft Punk's Special EFX

David Prince

UPDATE: Check out our full Daft Punk Alive 2007 coverage.

Photographer Katie Glicksberg was at Red Rocks and took these great shots. Her full Flickr photoset is here.

As the Daft Punk Alive 2007 tour moves across the United States and into the history books as the one of the most exciting live electronic music spectacles of all time – Tuesday night’s stop at Red Rocks and tonight’s Lollapalooza show in downtown Chicago’s Grant Park are two of the most interesting venues they will fill – two of the unsung stars of the show are not on stage and not dressed in robot gear.

Baptiste Andrieux and Jean-Marc Demmer, partners in the Los Angeles based production company Eight VFX, have been working with the French duo for over a year to create the visual effects, lighting, and 3D computer graphics that provide the visual thrills accompanying the nearly two hours of Daft Punk music.

As Demmer explained in an interview with Studio Daily:

Built on a foundation of 70s-era motion graphics, the visual starts simply, then opens up and builds momentum, in sync with the performance itself. “The stage is a pyramid that expands with the music, beginning with a simple line going back and forth,” Demmer explained, “and it’s the life of this line, the journey, that guides us through the show.” As the show progresses, the CG surroundings take on added dimensions – a floor, walls, etc., all “built” around Daft Punk.

You’ve likely seen Eight VFX‘s work in film, commercials, and music videos. The company worked closely with director Oliver Gondry on his noted spots for HP (including the incredible looking one starring his brother Michel), Zune, Pepsi, and Chevrolet, as well as his music video for The Vines. Eight VFX also worked with Asif Mian on his video for The Roots’ “Medley” and Nagi Noda on Tiga’s “Far From Home” clip. But the Daft Punk stage show is the first opportunity they had to create visuals for a live audience.

Originally, the Daft Punk collaboration was for the duo’s return to the stage at the 2006 Coachella Festival. As Nick Parish wrote in Creativity soon after that performance:

Daft Punk performed in a pyramid composed of LEDs, they were framed by neon tubes that conveyed video, and a curtain carrying additional messages. Eight’s primary responsibilities were the motion graphics that began pumping through the pyramid one third of the way into the show…“We basically created a 3-D map of the pyramid,” says Baptiste Andrieux, executive producer and founding partner at Eight. “We had to find a way to create images that would interact best with the pyramid.” In the week leading up to the concert, Eight’s team rehearsed the show with Daft Punk while noting what the group – directors themselves, first of their videos and now a feature-length film, Electroma – liked and disliked. “The pyramid was pure video moving,” says Andrieux. “You forgot completely you were looking at a concert, you were just in this 3-D space.”

For the Alive 2007 tour, Eight FX reunited with Daft Punk in Los Angeles this spring for a month of rehearsals and new work, updating their original stage set-up, graphics, and lighting with 15 minutes of new effects and a costume-change encore. The results have been garnering rave reviews since the tour kicked off in L.A. on July 21.

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