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How could you use animation to create an immersive party experience?

That was the big question that we had to ask ourselves when the Manchester Medics Society, or MedSoc, approached us to make some animated wall art for their annual charity ball event with this years theme being the ‘Roaring 20s.’

The first aspect to consider was the venue. The committee had chosen to hold the event at the Imperial War Museum North. With it’s tall, irregularly shaped, metallic screens arranged higgledy-piggledy around the vast space, the museum provides and fantastic and truly unique venue for any event. Each of the 21 screens has a corresponding projector, usually used by the museum themselves to show historical videos and animation periodically throughout the day. These screens could aso be used for events, projecting images or looping videos of up to 15 seconds long. Enter MIC (stage left).

The Museum provided us with guide masks for each screen so we knew exactly what space we were working with for each one.

Upon seeing the space itself and it’s unusual qualities in addition to having been given a lot of creative license by the organisers, we decided that we wanted to create sections themed around different aspects, iconic to the 1920s. We settled on splitting it between the Gatsby-esque, sophisticated, but wild party for the main dancehall (with a starry ‘outdoor’ extension for the welcome area), and a bootlegging speakeasy for the bar and casino area.

The ‘Dancehall’ was designed to be sophisticated but high energy, with large curved art deco windows lining most of the walls, a balcony and a grand staircase, complete with animated party guests, drinking, smoking and dancing the charleston on their 15 second loops for the entire night. Outside the windows more prominently in the welcome area we had animated twinkling stars above a city at night, and on screen 21 we created and art deco styled welcome message sign in front of which 1920s cars drove to signify the arrival of guests. This section was all themed in different shades of suave purple with an emphasis on light and energy.

The ‘Speakeasy’ was designed to be a more subdued, earthy affair. Red brick walls plastered with genuine 1920s film posters; barrels, kegs and tables covered in bottles; and a bar with a light-up sign above reading ‘Luckie Hannah’s Lounge’ which jokingly flickered to reveal the names of the two event organisers, Luke and Hannah. Themed mainly in tones of the red brick walls and sections of brown, we created an more base and earthly atmosphere in this section which Hannah told us after the event gave off an atmospheric red glow.

Hannah and Luke had asked us to help them create a ‘Roaring 20s experience’ for their guests. The animations were designed to enhance the environment, as a whole and give it life, not to take centre stage. MICs animated walls, in addition to hired casino tables; a live 1920s style band; professional hired dancers (who did take centre stage) and of course the guests dolled up in accordance with the theme; made the ball a ‘roaring’ success … if you’ll pardon the pun.

Afterward Hannah and Luke collected up a some quotes from party guests who made such comments as:

‘A fun and exciting evening which rekindled the spirit of the roaring 20’s.’

‘An amazingly immersive experience, pulled together by the moving wallpapers, fantastic dancers and a great 20s band’

‘We had a lovely time and the theme was lots of fun – it was clear a lot of work had gone into the venue and decoration’

‘The tone of the evening was elegantly balanced by upbeat jazz music and creative animated wallpapers. Overall, an excellent 1920’s evening.’

MIC are proud to have been part of this event, and would urge anyone planning to host something similar to think back on this post and consider how tailor made animation could create a unique, immersive and unforgettable partying experience for their guests. MedSoc did it and so could you!

Don’t forget to keep checking back for new updates and posts from the MIC blog! and check out our website for new projects and updates!