Thursday, October 23, 2014

《公子爱挑战》The Dukes’ Theme Park Challenge – Big Rides, Big Opportunities for SIDM Students

From left: Kelly Boon, Andrew Chen, Michelle Wong and 
Chua Si Min (not pictured: Matilda Sim and Ong Ru Wei).

SIDM students Chua Si Min, Andrew Chen Zhi Quan, Kelly Boon Xin Min, Matilda Sim and Ong Ru Wei have added something big to their portfolio. These five Year 3 Digital Media Design (Animation) students, along with Michelle Wong, A Developmental Technologist who graduated with a Diploma in Digital Media Design (Animation) in 2013, have recently completed work on 《公子爱挑战》(The Dukes’ Theme Park Challenge), a weekly 30-minute MediaCorp game show which sees host Quan Yi Feng competing against popular male artistes across seven popular theme parks in South East Asia.

Working on your first, nationally-broadcast television show can be a thrilling experience with plenty of ups and like any good theme park ride, this two-month project took them on an exhilarating adventure that included both figurative and literal roller coaster rides.

The Work

When describing her experience, Kelly said, "I was nervous because this was my first client project, but it was a satisfying and enjoyable experience because the final outcome was nice."

The team had to work closely with MediaCorp on developing the programme’s animated segments and overlays, including the opening title sequence and transitions.

Working on a high stakes industry project gave the students a better appreciation for the critical feedback they received from their lecturers.

The team was required to create animation and artwork that conveyed the fun and excitement of a theme park. Andrew said the hardest thing about this project was getting the art direction correct because this new series had no prior artwork for them to work with or adapt.

Research, Rollercoasters, and Late Nights

To get the ball rolling, the team spent a week conceptualising the artistic direction of the show.

Andrew said, “MediaCorp was very open to ideas, so we were free to propose what we wanted.” To deepen their understanding of the show, the team followed Quan Yifeng and Shane Pow as they filmed on location at Universal Studios Singapore.

A sneak peak of the episode with Shane Pow.

The team got more than they bargained for when the production crew asked them if they could ride some of attractions with the hosts. They gamely agreed and they successfully endured the Revenge of the Mummy and the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure.

Andrew also had the ultimate walk-on role as an extra who had to distribute challenges to Yi Feng and Shane.
Guess who? It's Andrew! 

The show’s mascot is a PaperBagHead person who dishes out challenges to the participants.

But it wasn’t just fun and games. Going to Universal Studios Singapore (USS) allowed the team to observe the tone of the show, while giving them the opportunity to conduct on-the-ground research at USS.

As deadlines started to loom, the team also had to work late into the night. They stayed at SIDM until the labs closed at 9pm and they even brought the work home where they worked as late as until 5am.

Si Min said, “The rest of the team worked from home till about 2am, but I don’t sleep much, so when I worked till 5am, my parents weren’t surprised.”
Gaining an Edge in the Industry

Michelle feels that the team gained valuable exposure to the industry because they got to work closely with MediaCorp. For example, Leonard Giam, a Senior Digital Artist from MediaCorp, came down to NYP to teach them the finer points of using Adobe After Effects.

Screen captures of the opening animation that the team created.
In creating the map for USS, the team had the advantage
 of visiting the theme park to conduct research and take detailed photos.

This lower third animation will be overlaid on the programme.

The team also paid a visit to MediaCorp where they saw for themselves the work of the staff. Michelle said that, “The way they edit is very different, they are very organised. For example, they have a dedicated station just for editing.”

She also feels this experience will allow her juniors to make contacts within the industry. “This gives them a leg-up if they want to pursue a career in MediaCorp because the Producers already know them.”

Si Min agrees and feels that the experience will give her an edge in the job market. She said, “A lot of people watch MediaCorp channels, so it is a big thing in the portfolio.”

《公子爱挑战》The Dukes’  Theme Park Challenge Premieres on 23 Oct, Every Thursday at 8.00pm on Channel 8.

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