Timur Civan and Nigel Stanford Collaborates for “Automatica: Robots Vs. Music”

by planetMitchLeave a Comment

This isn't a new video, but the behind-the-scenes is new 🙂

There are lots of people that I've admired and Timur Civan is one… and it has been a joy watching him bloom and grow as time goes on.

So who is Timur? Well, he is responsible for one of the most popular planet5D posts ever: What do you get when you put a 102 year old lens on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II?

I hope you enjoy this little peek into how the video was made!

In case you haven't seen it, here's the original video:

AUTOMATICA 4k – Robots Vs. Music – Nigel Stanford

Short Takes: “Automatica: Robots Vs. Music”

Via ASC:

Cinematographer Timur Civan harnesses an array of technology to help craft this video for musician Nigel Stanford.

(Photos and frame grabs courtesy of the filmmakers)

In 2013, New York-based cinematographer Timur Civan, director Shahir Daud, and New Zealand-based musician Nigel Stanford collaborated on “Cymatics: Science Vs. Sound,” a slick, stylish music video demonstrating the science of visualizing audio frequencies. Four years and 12 million YouTube views later, Stanford, Daud and Civan have reteamed for “Automatica: Robots Vs. Music,” a sequel of sorts to “Science Vs. Sound” — except this time, instead of adapting technology to transform the experience of listening to music, Stanford transforms the experience of making it in the context of “a future world where robots have some kind of artificial intelligence and have achieved a form of singularity,” he explains.


As in “Cymatics,” Stanford appears in “Automatica” in the part of a “mad scientist of music,” but the real star of “Robots Vs. Music” is the Kuka Robotics Agilus Sixx — a compact, six-axis industrial robot arm usually employed for such functions as packing boxes or milling plastic pipes. With “Automatica,” Stanford wanted to see if he could program the robots to play the drums, piano, and electric bass and guitar, and to mix and scratch on a pair of DJ turntables.


Cinematographer Timur Civan (second from left) checks musician Nigel Stanford's placement as director Shahir Daud (far right) and crew prepare to roll camera. | Photo Credit: ASC

The production employed three Agilus robots, but the script called for nine in total — some armed with instruments, others with cutting lasers — an order fulfilled through a mix of clever editing and visual effects.

“Our end goal was to create visuals that are intricately tied to the corresponding audio, and a camera that enhances that sensation through motivated moves,” says Daud. “Timur had to juggle all of the mathematical requirements for every shot while still trying to make our orange robots look sexy.”


Each Agilus Sixx weighs 110 pounds, is capable of carrying a payload of 13 pounds, and moves fast enough to accommodate high-speed assembly-line work or laying down a sick drum solo. But to accomplish any musical performance in real time would have required the filmmakers to bolt the robot to the floor; otherwise, the torque required to move the arm fast enough would flip the robot out from under itself.

“Our robots were sitting on movable bases, so they had to be moved super slow — 1/4 speed, 1/8 speed, 1/10 speed,” explains Civan. “We’re essentially shooting time-lapse footage.” The cinematographer chose to shoot the video in 6K full-frame Recode Raw, at 3:1 compression for stop motion and 5:1 for real time, with Arri/Zeiss Ultra Primes and a Red Epic Dragon belonging to Stanford. A 900-pound 12′ Gazelle motion-control crane allowed him to sync his camera moves with those of the robots, and enabled the compositing of elements that had been captured at different frame rates for playback at a 25p time base.

Read full article at ASC “Short Takes: “Automatica: Robots Vs. Music””

Note: it is our policy to give credit as well as deserved traffic to our news sources – so we don't repost the entire article – sorry, I know you want the juicy bits, but I feel it is only fair that their site get the traffic and besides, you just might make a new friend and find an advertiser that has something you've never seen before

(cover photo credit: snap from ASC)

Leave a Comment