Being Beethoven

Being Beethoven

Imaging the audio as visual

Cymatics

One of the key aspects of our brief was to devise a visual representation of the composers gradual hearing loss. Our aim was to find a visual representation of how Beethoven could possibly continue to create music when he simply couldn’t hear it.

Rather than take a purely graphic approach to this we felt that rooting the visuals in the real world would better represent sound as a physical force that can be felt and seen as well as heard.

We shot a series of sequences using Cymatics, a technique of passing sound vibrations though a physical substrate to create a visual effect. In this case we used vodka due to its high viscosity.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

We shot a series of sequences using Cymatics, a technique of passing sound vibrations though a physical substrate to create a visual effect. In this case we used vodka due to its high viscosity.

By feeding differing sound frequencies and tones through a sub-woofer to the steel dish containing the liquid we were able to film the visual effects created.

 
 

By feeding differing sound frequencies and tones through a sub-woofer to the steel dish containing the liquid we were able to film the visual effects created.

These effects express sound as a physical force that Beethoven could actually feel as he was composing, a factor that fed directly into the dramatic and contrasting nature of his work, especially later in his career.

At every step of the way Graphical House were a joy to work with — bringing intelligence, creativity and a keen eye, whilst always delivering beautiful results.

Phillip Cairney
Series Producer & Director

Silhouettes

We were also asked to deliver content that could support critical sections in the series where Beethoven himself is speaking (through the voice of actor Peter Capaldi) expressing deeply personal moments often through letters or writings.


Here we referred to the visual language of formal victorian silhouettes, which we brought to life through subtle movement, depth and animation

 
 

Here we referred to the visual language of formal victorian silhouettes, which we brought to life through subtle movement, depth and animation

 
 

Rostrum

And finally we shot a wide variety of rostrum footage of archive material. Predominantly portraits of Beethoven himself, we filmed large format transparencies on a light-box through various glass objects to express the sense of fracture and distortion that is such an important part of Beethovens story.

 
 
 
 

We approached Graphical House to create an identity for the Being Beethoven series, having worked with them successfully on other projects. Just as it had previously, the team’s approach led to outstanding results. Their art direction transformed the overall aesthetic and atmosphere of the series, giving it a coherent look that managed to be contemporary yet entirely in keeping with the subject matter. At every step of the way they were a joy to work with — bringing intelligence, creativity and a keen eye, whilst always delivering beautiful results.

Phillip Cairney
Series Producer & Director