The spirit of radio made visual by Gentleman Scholar

Design and animation studio Gentleman Scholar has created an an elegant campaign for Qatar Foundation’s QF Radio.

At the centre of the campaign is an "ambling dream" of a spot (above) directed, produced and post-produced by Gentleman Scholar, who worked not only with agency TBWA\Qatar, but also a marketing team assembled by the First Lady of Qatar who, as chairperson of the Foundation, was actively involved in evaluating and approving the work during various stages of the creative and production process.

Gentleman Scholar describes the spot, Anthem, as at once an exercise in motion control, a stirring visual representation of radio, and a tribute to the distinct cultural elements of Qatar that the station covers. Directors William Campbell and Will Johnson meshed a tapestry of the nation’s icons – including falconry, Arabian horses, and dhows – along with features from the radio station’s music, sports and entertainment programming, into a tumbling bundle of wires that serve as a physical manifestation of sound waves.

Behind-the-scenes shots of Gentleman Scholar's team capturing exactly the right breed of horse (above, top) and using a motion control rig to capture the camera move around a dancer (above, bottom) so that the move could be exactly replicated in CG in Houdini

The studio modified Houdini in such a way as to allow the audio to drive the animation of the wires.

“Because this was their first visual spot, QF Radio was concerned with how we would pull off the visual representation of audio,” notes Will. “Gentleman Scholar looked at everything the station covered day to day and began connecting one thing to the next, bringing audio waves to life in a unique form that was both engaging and easy to absorb.”

The studio says that they motion visuals – which aired in Qatar and Dubai and will soon debut in the US – lent themselves so readily to print that the campaign expanded into newspapers and periodicals, as well as billboards and posters (below). Gentleman Scholar also teamed up with an outside company to convert the spot to stereoscopic 3D for cinema.

Gentleman Scholar took extraordinary measures to satisfy the cultural specificity sought by the client, traveling to Qatar for the shoot to ensure that the particular breed of Arabian horse and iconic falcon were featured in the spot.

“QF Radio was understandably very specific about accuracy in regards to their cultural symbols,” says Will. “A horse isn’t just a horse – we are talking about a very specific Arabian breed which ranks among the most recognizable and valuable in world, and wore make-up for the shoot.”

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