Shaun Hamontree (Co-founder of the MK12 Tactical Design and Research Bureau) was the headliner of day two at FITC. His studio, MK12 began as a motion graphics studio nine years ago in Kansas City, MO and has grown to a multi-platform production company creating content for the web, film and video games. The pinnacle of MK12's achievements was reached when they were selected to create the opening title sequence for the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace. Watch it here:
How did a little studio from the midwest get from an office in a single bedroom apartment to creating graphics for her majesty? They began small, making their own short films that were one to two minutes each which they published online. Their 3D animation work (created in Maya) got noticed and soon they were working on paid projects. Those projects caught the attention of FX Cartel who asked MK12 to do some work in film and the rest is history. Each film project lead to another bigger film until the group landed the best job a motion graphics shop could ask for -- James Bond. MK12 is now only one of four groups ever to have created the opening sequence of a Bond film. Hamontree said that sounded intimidating, but the similarities between all Bond opening credit videos helped. "We knew we needed a naked girl and we knew we needed a gun" he joked.
The process taught Hamontree and his colleagues at MK12 a lot. Here are a few highlights:
- Make a green screen to shoot in front of. It doesn't have to be expensive! MK12's first green screen was made out of curtains.
- Particle animation is really really hard. They neede to rent a server farm to render their particle animation sequences.
- Start a server farm.
- Take a business class! MK12's biggest collective shortcoming was that nobody had studied busines.
- If you want to get into the film industry, go for it. The barrier to entry is lower than you think.
What's next for MK12? They're going back to their roots and are creating more short videos to release online. Who knows where it will lead them to next?