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A Must Listen & A Must Watch: 3D Printing & Stop-Motion Mesmerize in Sultan’s ‘Magnetic’ Music Video

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Dan Sultan

Recently I realized that all of the music on my digital playlist has grown stale. From daily entertainment to the gym list, and even upon asking my friends to lend an ear and share some of their new favorites, I have been seriously challenged to find anything that gets me revved up. But what a pleasant surprise as I clicked on Dan Sultan’s new music video, not watching at first, but just listening as I got ready for the work day. From the simple strains at the beginning to the soulful vocals that carry us through a story of temptation and frustration, indeed the song is ‘Magnetic.’ I suddenly knew I’d discovered at least one new favorite in a song that takes the listener up and down, drawing us into some serious rock and roll energy.

And that’s before I even actually checked out the visual aspects. Sultan, an Australian known for his raw edge and ‘working-class blues’ style, has been taking a lot of new risks in the past couple of years, after recovering from transitions in his band to working with new producers. He’s a serious artist full of vision, and shows he is more than willing to explore innovative new approaches in thrilling his fan base. With ‘Magnetic,’ the award-winning singer, songwriter, and guitarist draws you in with a gritty song and a captivating video that wastes no time in displaying its industrial angle, with 3D printers as his opening act, just putting the finishing touches with superiority on the rather intimidating statue that will carry you through the short minutes of the song and video with ferocity.

printers-sultanDropbear Digital is behind the futuristic techno flair seen in ‘Magnetic.’ Based in Melbourne, Australia, the company founded by designer/filmmaker Jonathan Chong is known for its talents in film and stop-motion animation, as well as dynamic collaborations with others who complement their painstaking—and captivating—work. While we may have a rudimentary understanding of how the processes work in the trio of 3D printing, stop motion, and projection mapping seen in the ‘Magnetic’ video, how the designers pulled together the end result, integrating it with the pumping song, is nearly unfathomable.

Two months were dedicated to the making of the video, which involved a community of 3D printers making over 60 pieces for the range of expressions shown by the statue starring in the short musical film. Together, the teams created a 3D printed head that moves, along with a mouth and eyepieces that could be manipulated to flow with the song accordingly in the series of shots. And with Dan finally being ‘transformed into a living work of art,’ Dropbear had many thanks to give upon the premiere of the video at FasterLouder. They offered ‘massive props’ to Shawn Miller for the 3D work and VFX, along with being very grateful to the stamina of Christopher Langton, who was responsible for a massive 3D printing endeavor with five 3D printers running continuously until the job was finished. They also pointed out that technician Jean Pool endured ‘two months of studio darkness’ to handle all of the projection mapping required of the project.


The video was animated with over 2,700 photographs, all of which come together, causing you to see eyebrows arching, lips moving in sync, and the head moving to the beat. All of this happens with a great light—and sound—show, working to express Sultan’s songwriting inspired by not only the world of excess but also that of maturing and growing as a person too. The lyrics are clear and decisive in terms of a desperate need for change in a world of too much. Most of us can relate to that issue which allows the song and the visuals to resonate all the more.

sultan-colorSultan will kick off his ‘Magnetic Tour’ in November, acting as the headliner for shows in Fremantle, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney. The tour celebrates his fourth LP which is set for release in 2017, following previous musical pop and blues success as well as his famed award for Best Rock Album at the 2014 ARIA Awards for ‘Bluebird.’

While we’re certainly seeing some incredible progress with 3D printing integrated into film during ‘Magnetic,’ this does not mark the first time we’ve seen the technology in a music video. We’ve previously noted the innovation of No Te Va Gustar of Uruguay, working with both Fabrix 3D, a 3D printing and prototyping company in Uruguay, and digital animation company Enano Maldito, resulting in the rather dark yet powerful music video for ‘La Puerta de Atras.’ Another great example of the uses of 3D printing in a music video, among many we’ve looked at, emerged as Dom&Nic created incredible special effects for ‘Wide Open’ by the Chemical Brothers. Discuss in the Dan Sultan forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source: The Creators Project / Images: Dropbear Digital; Dan Sultan]


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