Synchronicity around the World

by malducin

Attendants of SIGGRAPH 2000 had the chance to see the premiere of Hans H. Uhlig short film Synchronicity at the Electronic Theatre and Animation Festival venues. Mr. Uhlig works at ILM's commercial division and directed the project and Tony Hurd produced. Their amazing work has been submitted and accepted to several film festival across the US and the world.

Here is where it has been shown and/or accepted:

  • SIGGRAPH 2000 Electronic Theatre, New Orleans (July, 2000)
  • SIGGRAPH 2000 Animation Theatre, New Orleans (July, 2000)
  • The Walt Disney Company "Best of Electronic Theatre" (September, 2000)
  • The Los Angeles Short Film Festival (October, 2000)*
  • 3D Festival 2000, Copenhagen (October 2000)
  • The AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival (October, 2000)
  • The Art Futura Film Festival, Sevilla, Spain (November, 2000)
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Digital Film Conference (November, 2000)
  • Cartoombria International Animation Exhibition, Perugia, Italy (November, 2000)*
  • The Asbury Short Film Show of New York (November, 2000)
  • The Future Film Festival, Bologna, Italy (January, 2001)
  • SF Independent Film Festival, San Francisco (January 11-21)

* the film was withdrawn from this venues

It has also been submitted to the following festivals: Sundance, Slamdance,'s online short film festival, and the Firstlight Film Series sponsored by the Maui Film Festival.

Here is the program synopsis provided by Tony Hurd, Synchronicity's Executive Producer:


Synchronicity is an entirely computer generated ballet and allegory. "It's a story about growing up," says director Hans Uhlig. "The two dancers are born, and as their consciousness dawns they become aware of each other. Their initial reaction is apprehension and fear, and they fight over their identity like teenagers. Their eventual acceptance of each other causes the shell around them to break apart and they're bathed in sunlight."

Synchronicity is also an animated painting. It transitions from the photoreal to the surreal. It begins with an homage to the earliest known films, with art nouveau titles and sepia tones, and as the film and the story progress, a series of stylized film looks underscore the evolution of the characters.

"Our intention was to push the envelope. We wanted to create an entirely computer generated short film with photo-realistic humans." To make the characters as real and believable as possible, motion capture technology was used. "Computer graphics animated by hand has a particular quality. You can see the function curves. You see the ease in and ease out, and you lose the emotion. With motion capture you get all of the subtleties of the original performance, all the emotion of for free."

The complex choreography by San Francisco choreographer Paula Telander was captured using the Vicon 370 optical motion capture system. A ring of 7 motion capture cameras and nearly 100 markers were used to capture all of the subtleties of the performance. Vicon, Filmbox, Softimage, and Industrial Light + Magic proprietary software were used to reconstruct and apply the motion capture data to the computer-generated dancers.

The entirely computer-generated environment was created in Softimage, surfaced with Renderman shaders, lit and composited with ILM proprietary software, and ultimately demolished using a Maya rigid body simulation.

The film also has an original score by William Storkson and a 5.1 Dolby SR/D sound mix, courtesy of Skywalker Sound.

The film has also been covered in the following publications:

  • Computer Graphics World Magazine, October, 2000,"Reel People: Synchronicity"
  • Design Graphics Magazine, Issue 63, "SIGGRAPH 2000 Roundup"
  • The Hollywood Reporter, 7/21/2000, "Hot Tickets at the Electronic Theatre"
  • Ain't It Cool News, 7/28/2000, "What Do You Know About ILM's 'Synchronicity'"
  • Shoot Magazine, 7/21/2000, "The Curtain Rises: A Preview of the Electronic Theatre"
  • Creative Planet VFX Pro, 7/24/2000

Here is the complete credit list:

A Film By
Hans H. Uhlig

Executive Producer
Tony Hurd

Computer Graphics Supervisors
Tim Alexander
Jeremy Goldman
Hayden Landis
Sean Schur

Stefen Fangmeier

Digital Lighting Setup
End Credit Sequence
Christian Foucher

Computer Graphics Artists
Mario Capellari
Paul Churchill
Mike Conte
Lindy De Quattro
Vince De Quattro
Jeff Ertl
Todd Fulford
Peg Hunter
Dan Lobl
Jennifer McKnew
Patrick Neary
Scott Prior
Ricardo Ramos
Frederic Schmidt
Jeff Shank
Douglas James Smith
Ken Wesley

Digital Paint Artist
Patrick Jarvis

Digital Model Development and Construction Artists
Dugan Beach
Andrew Cawrse
Jim Doherty
Michael Easton
Aaron Ferguson
Paul Giacoppo
Rick Grandy
Paul Kavanagh
Corey Rosen
Susan Ross
Tony Sommers
James Tooley

Motion Capture Producer
Sandra Scott

Motion Capture Supervisors
Jeff Light
Mike Min

Film Recording Supervisor
Joshua Pines

Carey Burens
Jim Smentowski

Negative Cutter
Angela Chou

Paula Telander
Phyllis Cagnolatti

Tanyce Alaga
Sheri Spellwomen

Score & Sound Design
Bill Storkson

Sasha Levine
Valerie Matthews

Audio Post Production
Glenn Kiser
Mark Lindow
John Mardesich
Jory K. Prum
Brian Sorbo

Rerecording Mixer
Tony Sereno

Production and Technical Support
Michael Cordova
Anastasia Emmons
Tim Fortenberry
Tim Greenwood
Ian McCamey
Janine McGraw
Jim Milton
Mike Peters
Seth Rosenthal
Jesse Russell
Mike Sanders

Special Thanks
Vicki Beck
Gail Currey
Lynwen Goldspink
Jim Morris
Liam Scanlan
Dawn Yamada

Industrial Light + Magic

Dolby Laboratories
Kaydara, inc.
Skywalker Sound

And last but not least, wish all these guys good luck so they can continue showcasing their work around the world. Who knows, maybe it'll go for an Academy consideration.

My thanks to Hans H. Uhlig, Tony Hurd and Nagisa Yamamoto of ILM.