Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Displaying their Talents on a National Stage

Imagine this: just a few years ago, as secondary school students, you would have watched the National Day Parade just like any typical Singaporean.  Never would you have dreamed that just years later, with the skills you have picked up from NYP, you can actually contribute to the National Day Parade with your awesome and creative visuals!

The SIDM students involved in this project.
This year’s National Day Parade was an amazing visual spectacle that upheld the high expectations of a nation. I am proud to say that part of it was created by our team of students studying Motion Graphics and Broadcast Design, Digital Media Design Animation and Digital Visual Effects from the School of Interactive and Digital Media (SIDM).
(From lef to right) Linus, Mogan and Zaki.
I had the opportunity to meet three talented young designers from the team – Linus Quek,
Mohammad Zaki Bin Abdul Rahman and Mogan S/O Mathiyarasan – and discovered more about  their experience creating the visual display for NDP.
For the past two years, NYP has been working closely  with the NDP committee to produce stunning visual displays for the parade. This year, the SIDM students were once again given the privilege of embarking on this project, with the theme of a traditional ethnic motif blended with a modern twist.

At the start of the project, the team performed extensive research on the different traditions and cultures in Singapore. If you have watched the beginning of the performance on August 9, you would have noticed the intricate spiraling patterns and striking colors on the huge screen. Their inspiration for that mainly came from the rich heritages of the different ethnic groups merged into a continuous flow of vibrant artistry.
“One of the biggest challenges we faced during production was finding the ‘traditional side’ of Singapore”, Linus said.
“One of the biggest challenges we faced during production was finding the ‘traditional side’ of Singapore”, expressed Linus, a member of the production team. Most of the students have been exposed to modern and new design sensibilities, but many have never worked on historical and cultural projects. The depth and uniqueness of Singapore’s ethnic groups meant that the team had to conduct extensive research into Singapore’s historical roots to draw inspiration from its cultural heritage.

The Chinese saying, “A minute on stage takes ten years of practice off stage” can be aptly applied to the project. To produce the first cut for the eight-minute visual media display, the team took three months to conceptualise, execute and develop a short design screenplay for the multicultural performance segment. Another two months were taken to put the finishing touches on the video. How about that!
From concept...
The group toiled day and night, with some even staying overnight just to finish the details of the media display. reality!
The team also had to learn how to handle themselves professionally when dealing with the demands of the  client. Occasionally, they had to make changes upon the request of the NDP Committee but they took it in their stride and their lecturers were always there to lend a helping hand if they needed it.

While others may see this project as a daunting task, the team was actually cool-headed. After all, since Year One, SIDM lecturers have been gradually preparing their students to learn to deal with large jobs  and how to have the courage to be creative in the face of ambiguity . The School equips its students with the technical skills needed to meet the demands of the industry, so working on a project of this scope was a natural progression for them.

It is truly a testament to exceptional training they received since completing their ‘O’ levels and enrolling in Nanyang Polytechnic!
Mogan felt that a strong bond with his lecturers and fellow students served as important motivation for the team.
 Mogan, another team member who helped put the display together said, “The motivation that drove us came from the knowledge that we’re not alone. When the going got tough, we told ourselves that we were all in this together. We took comfort in that and pushed on.”

Despite the stress, the team had their fair share of good times. Another member, Zaki, beamed as he told me how he savored the moment the group finished conceptualising the idea and was about to embark on the real work.
Zaki (centre) was excited to begin production.
“It’s really exciting to finally get the stills in motion,” he said.
It is easy to see why,
All three members I interviewed agreed that it was a wonderful experience to take part in the NDP project and that they learnt valuable skills like how to work under pressure.

For those aspiring to enter the Motion Graphics and Broadcast Design course in SIDM, Zaki has this piece of advice, “You must have a strong passion for design and digital media. Only then will you be able to enjoy the whole experience of this course.”

By Ho Khin Wai, Year 2, Diploma in Banking & Financial Services
Khin Wai is an NYP Year 2 Banking and Financial Services student from School of Business Management (SBM). He started writing for NYP Portal in 2011 out of interest and was soon "addicted" to it. He has also written book reviews for Straits Times YA Classified. Besides writing, he loves singing and has performed for various events in NYP under NYP Soundcard.

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