A graphic journey through mankind’s most brilliant scientific achievements.
Chinese gaming and internet-based technology company Tencent commissioned Framestore to create a three minute film of epic proportions to open its 2018 WE Summit in Beijing. The film was screened on three custom-built LED screens that formed a 300 foot wide, 180 degree arc around the circular conference venue.
Often described as the “Chinese TED talks”, Tencent's annual WE Summit event brings together a host of speakers from across the spectrum of science, industry, and academia. Past speakers have included theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee. The 2018 keynote was delivered by Nobel laureate Kip Thorne, famous for his work on gravitational waves and astrophysics.
For the event’s ambitious opening film – viewed by a 2,000 strong theatre audience and over 9 million watchers of the conference’s live stream – Framestore conceived and designed a narrative based around Janus the Roman god of past and future, and collaborated with L.A. based creative studio, Midnight Sherpa, who executed the creative.
Says Angela Zhu, Creative Director at Framestore, ‘Very early on in the piece, we introduce a two-faced head of Janus that is looking to the left and also to the right. This character was the perfect visual and conceptual device to enable us to explore the past and also look to the future. Ultimately, we wanted to take the viewer on a journey celebrating mankind’s most brilliant scientific developments - from the evolution of physics to quantum physics, mathematics to computer science, biology to bioengineering, astrology through to astronomy and the discovery of gravitational waves – developments that will ultimately inform all of mankind’s future scientific breakthroughs.’
In the film, graphic representations of the five elements Fire, Water, Earth, Wood and Metal are broken down infinitely into molecules, atoms and then to microscopic traces of DNA. Then graphic meridiens of the screen transition into abacuses which evolve into computer chip circuitry which transition to illustrate the computing power of the Hubble telescope that allows us to reach into space and back in time. Then we see representations of the ancient constellations - Qinglong (Dragon, Suzaku (Phoenix), Baihu (Tiger), and Xuanwu (Turtle) before traveling through the eyes of Janus to reveal visions of the future represented in a cool blue light - and a reminder of man’s past scientific achievements represented in a warm red.
‘We choose an abstract and futuristic motion graphic style to tell this conceptual story. The pacing goes from mysteriously to energetic. Music evolves from ethereal to electronic. A two-tone colour palette sets the past (warm) apart from the future (cold). The sequence of subject matters are arranged in a logical progression and with clever transitions to give the sense of one camera move and a single take. The last binary scene recaps the entire storyline in one memorable long swirl.’ Angela Zhu, Creative Director.