ABC News Democratic debate : screen design by K Brandon Bell

ABC News Democratic Debate : set animations & screen designs

I’m thrilled to have just completed a ton of work with ABC News on the third Democratic Debate, broadcast live on Sept 12, 2019.

I worked with University of Memphis Graphic Design junior E. Marshall to complete animations for over 13 LED & laser projection surfaces, including screens behind the candidates, in the podiums, in the moderators’ desk, in the corner of the set, on a side “hero” screen, extremely long screens running along the sides of the room, the ceiling, and various walls through the venue. I met with ABC throughout August to create the final looks, and Marshall & I then spent a week at Texas Southern University in Houston, finalizing on site at the debate venue.

We created animated graphics for 13 different screen surfaces within the custom-built set at Texas Southern University. The debate featured presidential hopefuls Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.

See here for more beinhd-the-scenes photos.

You can watch the full debate here.

Read more about this project in The Daily Memphian.

MEM200 video shoot : photo by Sélavie Photography

Projection Design for the City of Memphis’s Bicentennial Celebration

This project started with some very fast-turnaround motion design & projections created for the Memphis Brand Initiative‘s fund raiser with the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce at the beautiful Old Dominick distillery in downtown Memphis. This was a test event: basically a proof-of-concept in advance of a larger project for the City of Memphis Bicentennial celebration throughout 2019.

The City of Memphis celebrates its 200th birthday in May, with Shelby County following in November. MBI’s concept was to stage surprise pop-up installations all around town and into the county, spotlighting some Memphians of this next century. We solicited nominations and directed a full-day video shoot at VIA Productions, DP’ed by Ryan Earl Parker, with stills taken by Sélavie Photography. From here, we created a large batch of motion graphics-activated video that we could project onto walls throughout the area.

University of Memphis Graphic Design students Chad Malone & the mononymous Marshall helped create some of the motion graphics media we used, and 9 other students from around the Department of Art were instrumental in making the actual projections happen. In May 2019 alone, we’re doing 27 separate activations on Friday & Saturday evenings. You can read more about it here, via Memphis’s daily newspaper The Commercial Appeal.

The students who went out into the field to zap those buildings with projected video at night, are: Lauren McFerrin, Marshall, Lockard Simpkins, Bruno Guerrero, Ethan McVay, Gustavo Espino, Cheryiah Hill, Aubrey Ford, Amani Figgs & Moises Martinez.

The video is a quick breakdown of some of the Nov 2018 test graphics, with MUSIC BY DAZ RINKO, who performed at that event.

You can check out a beautiful gallery of photos from the video shoot here.

And…more photos from Nov 2018 here

Projection design for Opera Memphis | by K Brandon Bell & University of Memphis Graphic Design students

Projection Design for Opera Memphis Festival

This is an ongoing educational project with Opera Memphis, involving Graphic Design students at the University of Memphis. The full-length opera The Falling & The Rising was the subject this year–it’s a beautiful piece about our soldiers and the sacrifices they make. And…it’s the first opera co-commissioned by the United States Army.

Read more about the 2019 Midtown Opera Festival project here.

Last year (2018), the screens were designed through the endeavors of University of Memphis graphic design students Chad Malone, Cassie Farrier & Parks Perdue. They and Professor Gary Golightly worked alongside me to create stage projections for Opera Memphis’ Midtown Opera Festival.

In 2018, it was a pretty intense project, giving us only 2 weeks to design, build, and program projections for 6 pieces.

2018 photos by Sélavie Photography

TED Talks Live Set Graphics

Screen Graphics for Live Broadway Events & Televised PBS Special

I am very proud to have worked as screen producer and designer for this 6-night series of live TED Talks on Broadway, which took place Nov. 1-6, 2015 at NYC’s beautiful Town Hall theater in Times Square. Seth Easter Design did the physical set and handled all the LED details, Sarah Rossi Photography shot a bunch of custom images for the show, animator Dan Baker helped out with custom motion graphics, and I worked closely again with Peter Acken as he programmed the show content in the media server.

PBS began airing the talks in three primetime specials starting March 30, 2016.

Watch “TED Talks: Education Revolution” (aired Sept 13, 2016)
Watch “TED Talks: War & Peace” (aired May 30, 2016)
Watch “TED Talks: Science & Wonder” (aired March 30, 2016)

The themes were Education Revolution, War & Peace, and Science & Wonder, and featured speakers and performers such as Elvis Costello, Anna Deavere Smith, Chris Anderson, Adam Driver, Meshell Ndegeocello, Rufus & Martha Wainwright, Thomas Dolby, and others from NASA, Pixar, DARPA, MIT, Radiolab, Stanford and more.

TED Talks education screen designs

TED Talks Education Set Graphics

Screen Graphics for Televised PBS Special

I produced & built After Effects- based digital screen graphics for TED’s very first broadcast, filmed live at Brooklyn’s BAM Harvey Theater. I worked closely with set designers Seth Easter Design to create a customized show look and a series of motion & still graphics to help TED move from stage to screen.

Hosted by John Legend and featuring speakers such as Bill Gates & Sir Ken Robinson, this groundbreaking program aired on PBS (courtesy of NYC’s WNET) in May 2013.

Watch the whole thing online now.
Robin Hood Foundation : live interactive data visualization

Robin Hood Foundation Live Graphics

Live Interactive Motion Graphics 2009, 2010 & 2011

For 3 consecutive years I implemented custom live solutions for this incredible charity event.

In partnership with Brian Oakes Design and Robin Hood, this series of applications was created for the Robin Hood Foundation’s Gala charity extravaganza, held at NYC’s Javits Center.

The challenge was to develop remotely-controlled motion graphics that could display live event information on a series of 20-foot projection screens. As attendees donated their money and/or time, the results were displayed on demand, in real time, through these custom apps.

More info on the first event >>

Tony Awards Virtual Sets

65th, 66th, 67th, 68th & 69th Annual Tonys :
Live-Controlled Scenic Animations & Motion Graphics

For 5 years, my team & I photographed the theater sets for nominees & built custom virtual video sets for the Tony Awards broadcast, allowing the performing shows detailed control over every aspect of the scenery, live during the show.

Tonys 2015 photo gallery >>

For the five Tony Awards ceremonies from 2011-2015, I was tasked with digitally recreating and animating theater sets that were manipulated live during broadcast, for each of the performing nominees.

My team & I started the process by shooting thousands of photos (and several gigs of reference video) inside the various theaters, in order to capture lighting changes and set elements. The photos were then carefully mined for textures and scenic pieces that are needed. Finally, the finished video-based “sets” are painstakingly constructed from this large bank of imagery and then animated in After Effects and Cinema 4D to the specifications of the director, set & lighting designers.

Lots of hard work and long hours were put into separating & layering the video content so that we could do things like dynamically shift hues and cue lighting & set changes during the performances. Sarah Rossi & Dallas Raleigh shot a BUNCH of custom images for the show, and Dan Baker was always a huge help with creating the sets and animations. Genius programming by Peter “Evil Jesus” Acken.

 

 
We made content for 13 performances & many more segments for 2015:

A photo gallery for the 2015 Tonys production can be found here.

 

 
All in all, my team & I completed content for 15 performances & segments for 2014:

A photo gallery for the Tonys 2014 can be found here.

 

 
In 2013 we completed content for 13 performances & segments:

 

 
And we created content for 13 performances & segments for 2012:

You can see a highlight video of 2012 set designs and performances here.

 

 
And the previous year, we completed content for 10 shows for 2011:

Art Direction by Seth Easter Design, Set Design by Hasbas.