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PMC Interview Series: The Giggle Group – Bristol, U.K.

PMC’s Interview series is attempting to shed light on the diversely reproduced process of projection mapping by reaching out to top professionals in the field and getting their take on the medium. The second group to get back to us was JB3Creative, a company known for projection mapping that has since merged with The Giggle Group an independent animation, VFX and video content production company based in the Paintworks, Bristol. We reached out with a questionnaire to better understand their process.  To read the previous interview with URBANSCREEN <-click here.  Comment with questions that you would like to ask and check back for more featured articles like this in the near future.

For this PMC Interview series we spoke with Jonathan Brigden of the Giggle Group.

Story story story! If there isn’t a narrative and a real story driving the content then there is no real point to the endeavour.

Q: What is JB3 Creative / Giggle Group and how did it all start?

JB3 started in 2013 after I had run Knifedge for 13 years. We finished that company and immediately we won some interactive work for Nissan and a exhibition installation for Historic Royal Palaces at the banqueting House In London’s Whitehall. In January 2014 I merged JB3 into the Giggle Group and became Managing Director of the bigger group in September 2014.

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Q: Who are your top clients?

    Vodafone, Sky and HSBC.

Q: Walk me through your creative process, from the moment the client contacts you to the actual show.

I personally lead on all projection work. The company does lots of other content creation from short films to Children’s TV animation but I am the specialist in projection mapping. I usually take the brief and ask all the tricky questions of the client. the biggest question is why do you want projection mapping. It’s amazing how often that there usually isn’t a good answer to that question. We then meet and get an idea of the story. There always has to be a story. I so often see projects that have no narrative to it and, in my opinion, it falls flat. We try to get under the skin of the brand or event and dig out a story to tell. The creative director works on script, mood-boards and then story boards. we do a load of technical pre-production with the programmer so that we can set up the project correctly. Eventually we get to the stage where we can sign everything off and start production. Our animation team will get cracking and the creative director will oversee the total production to make sure it stays on brief.

Q: How much does do these experiences cost?

We focus on the content side of the project and the content can be anything from £10,000 GBP to £300,000 GBP. We have done a simple immersive experience for Hermés and a simple logo drop for Game of Thrones for £10K and a full creation of content for a rock and roll show for £300K

game of throwns giggle group projectileobjects

Q: What tools do you use?

Content is created in everything from photoshop, After Effects, Maya, 3D studio Max, and Cinema 4D. We have been very faithful to catalyst over the years as it has never let us down and we have superb programmers. We use anything from Barco, Christie and Panasonic projectors.

Q: What about staging, set design, etc?

We often design the staging. Over the last 5 years I have made it a stipulation (where possible) that we design the entire show / event. We have often come unstuck when working with misunderstanding show runners / lighting designers etc.

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Q: How long does it take to setup?

It depends We recently did a show that was in and out on the same day and we have been in production on set for 4 weeks for the Josh Groban  world tour.

Q: What is the hardest part of the process?

The creative process is by far the hardest and working back and forth with the client. It can sometimes be the CEO of a huge brand or the lead singer of a huge band. The same problems crop up.

Q. For indoor events, what issues or problems, and how did you solve them?

Again, there aren’t major issues. We knew we had a problem on the  2011 Josh Groban world tour that the projectors were going to always be in a slightly different place every night and we were doing day get ins. Richard Bleasdale flew to Bossier City Louisiana and (when we could drag him away from the B52’s at Barksdale air force base) he programmed some patches for us so we can remap the 3D set that we had designed and had built. This enabled the operator to remap everything.

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Q. What was your favorite project?

Favorite project was designing the entire event for the world premiere of Game of Thrones season 5 earlier this year. We work closely with Sky on a lot of their events and conceive and design the whole event. The centre piece was projecting the dragons from the show along the moat wall of the tower of London. They set the show logo alight. Fought with each other and even went off to fetch fresh meet to ‘flame’ and eat. The whole event was conceived and delivered within 6 weeks and the animation done in 3. there were 6 projection towers and the show was run through catalyst.

Q. What’s the craziest thing you’ve been asked to do for a project?

We were asked to create an immersive royal banquet that ended up on a journey to the Olympics down the Thames. We had to shoot a 1 take shot of a journey from Chiswick to Tower Bridge slowly taking in the whole of the river journey. The big problem was that the footage could not look or the diners would feel sick so we spent 8 weeks stabilizing all the footage from the shoot to create a tranquil journey. The animation team worked long into the evening to make that work.

olymics river giggle group

giggle group olymics projectileobjects

Q. Any additional thoughts you’d like to share?

Story story story! If there isn’t a narrative and a real story driving the content then there is no real point to the endeavor.