Distilled Happiness in 'Hello, I Like You'

This short animation seeks to convey one simple thing: happiness. Commissioned by the F5 Festival, it was created through a variety of animation techniques by Mixtape Club, also known as Michelle Higa, Chris Smith, and Jesse Casey. They describe the process in an interview below.

The Atlantic: How did you get into animation? 

Mixtape Club: We studied a wide range of subjects in school -- painting, printmaking, music, computer science, art semiotics. Animation was the place we found where we could pull together all the things we loved and use them all in one place to tell stories. 

What was the inspiration for Hello, I Like You?

Hello, I Like You was commissioned by the F5 Festival. They gave us the simple prompt of "happiness." The whole process started with some simple visual experiments, and from then on we were working the whole time with Huma-Huma, who made the music. The music and the visuals evolved organically together, with each new version inspiring something in the other. 

How did you animate the various objects in the film? What hardware and software did you use?

Almost everything started as a stop-motion sequence of some kind, with just a little bit of time-lapse and straight-up video, all shot with DSLRs. For most of the stop-motion, we used Dragon to control the camera. Aside from a few full-frame shots near the beginning of the piece, the shots were assembled in After Effects with some subtle compositing, color correction, and effects. We shot individual elements against green or blue screen, or on a glass multiplane with a solid color backdrop. 

What’s next for you?

We're excited about attending the Ottawa Animation Festival in a month to screen Hello, I Like You and see lots of other inspiring films. Lots of other projects are coming down the pipeline. Chris and Jesse are collaborating with They Might Be Giants and Michelle has an interactive public art installation going up in the Sacramento Airport. 

To see more work by Mixtape Club, visit http://mixtapeclub.com/.

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

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