BENGALURU: Remember the logo release of the upcoming Bollywood film Brahmastra? It’s not something that can be forgotten easily, especially since the logo was released in the sky at the Triveni Sangam in Prayagraj during the Kumbh Mela, the largest crowd gathering in the world. The pictures were shared by the actor Alia Bhatt on Instagram and received over 15 lakh likes. The video, released by the Fox Star team on YouTube, has received over 36 lakh views. Behind all this was Bengaluru-based company Studio Trika.
The Studio Trika recalls how the Fox Star and Dharma productions team had approached them six months before the Kumbh Mela requesting them to do something that the country hadn’t witnessed before. The team decided to take up the challenge and suggested it be released at Kumbh Mela as the occasion is related to Mahashivratri and Brahmastra.
The time was perfect. It was Mahashivratri and devotees were taking a last dip in the river. That’s when the logo went live and the crowd couldn’t stop cheering and clicking pictures and videos on their phones. The logo was formed on the sky through a new medium ‘Flylight swarm formation’ with 150 drones spread over 300 metres. “It was huge. Many videos that were shared on social media have received over 5 to 6 million views,” says Chandrakanth Rajapure, managing director of Studio Trika.
It was sure not easy to put up the show as it involved lot of technicalities and coding. The team did a simulation on computer and a demo in China 15 days prior to the show. They also rehearsed at the location. “We reached the location on February 26 and would practice it on ground in the cold after everyone went to sleep,” says Shivaangi Ramesh, CEO. She adds that it was important to test on location as it works on Wi-Fi signals and the weather was also unpredictable. “There were many birds flying on the same level as well. So it was a challenge to fly these flylights. We call them flylight as they work differently from drones with just a copter and lights,” she says.
The 150 drones were arranged 1.5 metres away from each other and were already pre-coded to fly, create the particular formation and fly back to their station. The team had also created the formation of Indian flag to celebrate the return of Indian pilot wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman from Pakistan. “That was not part of the film logo release. We did it to celebrate the Indian spirit,” says Ramesh.
The major challenge the team faced was the lack of knowledge about projection mapping and how drones could also be used for entertainment purposes. The company that was founded 17 years ago aims to take entertainment beyond TV and theatre. It had started working on projection mapping a decade ago and still finds it difficult to get an artiste or technician with the knowledge in the medium. “Projection mapping is a combination of art and technology. We have done several projects for temples, the government and commercial clients. We did projection mapping on India Gate to start the clean India campaign. That’s how we developed the idea to also get monuments speak to the people on the need to preserve them. So we would do a show with narration so that it appears that the monument itself is interacting with the public,” he says.
The team has been into projection mapping at Mysore Dasara for the last three years. They have also recently showcased the medium at Miyazaki, Japan where they used Indian vedas to narrate the creation of life.
The company created a New Media Artist Collective three years ago with projection mapping artists from around the world. Ramesh says, “But there are none from India to join us. There are about 30 to 40 from around the world.” Rajapure adds that’s the major challenge. “There’s no awareness about projection mapping. No animation schools or colleges teach about it. If a part of the building is used to showcase something with projection mapping, it will create more impact than advertisements,” he says.