Inside View: Giovanni Bucci
Director/motion designer • Los Angeles, London • www.giovannibucci.com
By Christine Bunish
Markee: You take both a multinational and multidisciplinary approach to your work.
Mr. Bucci: “I’m half-Italian and half-Dutch. I started working in Italy, then I went to London and LA, and I’m actually spending more time in LA these days. Usually I’m directing and putting everything together for a project – a lot of times I’m doing the editing and motion graphics.
“I always had a passion for music and was playing in a band, then I went into video because I like the potential of how audio and video can work together. I don’t see any separation. That can be hard to explain to clients and agencies that aren’t used to working this way. It can be hard to step outside the box, but if they trust you they understand why it’s important to build the music and visuals at the same time.”
Markee: Tell us about your latest personal project, Addictions, which combines greenscreen, stop-motion animation, motion graphics, VFX and music to illustrate our addiction to technology and everything that manipulates our lives.
Mr. Bucci: “The idea came from my life experience. Doing this job you’re really involved with technology. Then you go out and meet people, but they’re busy with their smart phones and the TV in clubs. You interact with them but through technology, and it’s just a bit too much. We could use technology less and in a better way.
“I storyboarded the idea so I’d know what to shoot, but I wasn’t locked into the boards. In production you discover some things [you conceived] are really great and some aren’t. You can get really inspired in production if you’re open to it.”
Markee: Addictions is a metaphor about addictions in general, about being manipulated without even realizing it or without reacting. The girl who represents addiction controls a man who is slave to a bank of computers; she bombards him with nightmarish images, lights, patterns and sounds as she changes from one highly-stylized look – costume, hair and makeup – to another. How did you shoot such a complex piece?
Mr. Bucci: “I shot the greenscreen at Strani Rumori Studio in Italy with the Canon 7D camera and the GoPro HD camera for POV shots of my own computers in my studio in London. The backgrounds surrounding the girl are all CG; none of those environments existed.
“I created the design and animation with Paola Rocchetti using mostly After Effects, along with Photoshop and Flash. Half of the CG is from photographic sources: part of the London Underground, sidewalks in Japan, macro shots of liquid and tomatoes in balsamic vinegar. We used stop-motion animation for the scene where the woman becomes all black with Paola’s make up.
“Everything came together in editing and compositing. Every moment had to have the music and video match; everything had to feel connected to the music. So that made it much, much harder.”
Markee: Were you also responsible for the music and sound design?
Mr. Bucci: “I co-wrote the music with Marco Morano in London; I played the guitar tracks and Marco played the synthesizer and did the music production. We mixed some dark-ish electro/indie-dance elements with metal guitars, glitchy textures and dirty synths.
“We worked on the music at the same time as the visuals; we had the main timeline of the music in the edit and added the sound design and textural elements afterward. Most projects I’ve done have been with Marco. We know each other so well we don’t even have to talk too much! When the visuals and the music start working together really well you get an energy that’s more powerful than either the visuals or music on their own.”
Markee: How does a personal project such as Addictions relate to your work for clients?
Mr. Bucci: “A lot of clients are more knowledgeable about visuals than music; music can be a neglected part of the project. I’d like clients to think about ideas, not just making visuals and attaching some music to them at the end. I try to explain this to them, how the visuals and the music and sound work together, and often have a hard time.”
Markee: You’ve done work for Red Bull, Nike, Renault, MTV, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros. What’s ahead for you?
Mr. Bucci: “I am quite happy with the way I have been working so far, but I want to do better. For the future, I would like to work on very creative projects supported by bigger budgets. That would give me the possibility to fully develop ideas. A lot of brands lock themselves into unnecessary boxes and bureaucracy; it would be great if clients took the chance to be more free.”