“A Kauri Cries” A Project Giving a Dying Tree Species a Voice Thru a Unique Way To Make Music

by planetMitchLeave a Comment

Our friends at Syrp have put together this fascinating video that is a bit behind-the-scenes but at the same time, that explains what is happening in the video. It turns into a very unique public service piece asking for help preserving trees.

They've also kindly included a real behind-the-scenes and some photos.

Tho hopefully people heed the message as it would be a shame to lose these beautiful trees.

Project – A Kauri Cries; giving a dying tree species a voice.

Produced for Auckland Council and Keep Kauri Standing by Tom Cosm, Thick As Thieves, Syrp, Liquid Music + Sound, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Nikon.

Syrp recently participated in the creation of a public awareness campaign and video in collaboration with a number of New Zealand’s greatest creative minds in aid of promoting preventative measures to stop thespread of dieback, a disease ravaging New Zealand’s native Kauri tree population.

Dieback is a brutal and untreatable disease. Microscopic spores in the soil infect tissue and cause the tree to bleed sap, effectively starving the kauri of nutrients. The spores can be spread in soil as small as a pinhead, making the recommendations for cleaningfeet and gear and sticking to the track, currently ignored by 83% of forest visitors, all the more important.

The campaign’s creation was complicated process – film vertical tracking shots of a tree with dieback, take the footage and create a musical score, which will then be played by members of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

A Kauri Cries | Performance

A Kauri Cries – Behind the Scenes

Snap from BTS “A Kauri Cries”

Syrp’s motion control expertise was called upon for the initial stage – the tracking shot of the tree. Using five vertical Magic Carpet Long Tracks and Genies, Nikon cameras were tracked up and down the kauri, recording footage of the dieback. The placement of each setup was carefully selected, to avoid the roots of the kauri tree and prevent further damage. This imagery would then be processed and turned into a musical score.

Snap from BTS “A Kauri Cries”

This task of unfathomable difficulty fell on the lap of New Zealand based electronic musician and production specialist Tom Cosm. Tom used the motion tracking shots of the dieback to create pitch and volume, which eventually were converted into notes using pattern-finding algorithms and code.

Snap from BTS “A Kauri Cries”

Snap from BTS “A Kauri Cries”

Once converted, the score was then given to five members of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. The resulting musical piece and performance personifies the slow and preventable demise of one of New Zealand’s forest giants–a literal kauri swan song.

During the shoot, the crew were briefed on both safety for themselves and the kauri, all gear that touched the forest floor was rigorously disinfected and a Ranger was present to oversee the shoot at all times. Every precaution possible was taken to ensure that no harm came to any kauri on this or future shoots.

Visit the website; A Kauri Cries

(cover photo credit: snap from Syrp)

Leave a Comment