Motion graphics magic
Nanyang poly students all fired up over their National Day Parade contribution, which will accompany the performances
When you watch this year's National Day Parade (NDP), do not focus on just the performances.
Look at the front of the raised stage and you will see animated graphics accompanying each act.
These motion graphics were the laborious undertaking of 17 students from the Motion Graphics & Broadcast Design (MGBD) course in Nanyang Polytechnic.
The students, who worked on NDP as part of their final-year project, were split into two teams, which spent three months each brainstorming and designing visuals like a bamboo forest, fire whips, and wayang kulit (shadow puppets).
Their work will be displayed for about 14 minutes - during Act 1: Badang and the Singapore Stone, and Act 2: Our Four Civilisations.
Ms Patey Ng, 20, one of the Year 3 students in the production team, was overjoyed when she was first told she would be designing motion graphics for NDP.
Ms Ng said: "It is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I felt really honoured and privileged, but most of all, I was excited to begin working on it."
For the first three months, the pre-production team sourced for reference materials and came up with storyboards to help them visualise the ideas.
These storyboards were designed in style frames before being modelled in computer applications such as Cinema 4D and 3ds Max.
The production team took over the project for the remaining three months to improve on the graphics that the pre-production team did.
Another big challenge was remodelling and changing the graphics for Act 1 because the initial version did not match the client's expectations.
Ms Ng said: "Although it was physically draining, we reminded ourselves that the final results would make it all worth it."
And it did.
She said: "The first time we went for a technical test at the Singapore National Stadium, we finally got to see our motion graphics animation on the fascias. The client told us we did a good job and I've never felt so relieved."
The poly's School of Interactive & Digital Media has been working with various NDP committees since 2011.
The supervisor for the project, Mr Stephen Lim, a senior lecturer for MGBD at the poly, told The New Paper that the experience has been invaluable for each batch.
Mr Lim said: "Every year, there are new challenges. With every change in venue, there will be new stage layouts and different screen dimensions to work with.
"As lecturers, it is important to remember that for each batch of students, these challenges give them an exciting new experience, especially given the project's scale."
FIVE HIGHLIGHTS OF NDP2016
1. Indoor and outdoor fireworks
Fireworks are always exciting to watch and this year, the National Day Parade (NDP) crowd will be treated to an indoor fireworks display for the first time.
The ones used for this year's NDP will be five times the scale of the SEA Games last year. The fireworks display, along with lasers, flame and lighting projections, will be showcased for about two minutes during the Finale.
2. Aerialist performance
Twenty aerialists from the Singapore Armed Forces Music and Drama Company will be dancing while suspended at heights of between 5m and 13m from the ground.
None of them had any prior experience as aerialists.
Catch their stunning performance in Act 4 and 5.
3. Aerial-and-automated unicorn
A moving unicorn will be one of the props in this year's parade.
The inspiration for this display was drawn from remarks by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last year, when he called Singapore a unicorn - one of a kind, a special animal, no other in the world.
The unicorn will grace the stadium in Act 3.
4. More inclusive
In Act 6, 150 special needs participants from seven voluntary welfare organisations will be leading the 55,000-strong audience to sing the song Home.
Four hundred and twenty participants from the Singapore Soka Association will also be changing the colours of their skirt-like props to recreate five hand-painted images done by students from Touch Community Services.
5. Act 1: Badang and the Singapore Stone
While this local legend may not be very well-known, Badang displayed traits - strength, agility and resilience - that allowed the nation to weather hardships through the years.
Look out for the explosive battle between Badang (played by Rizman Putra Ahman Ali) and participants from Martial House, Dance Inspiration, Singapore Silat Federation and the Singapore Armed Forces, who represent the warriors.