The Food Series by Vaibhav Studios

The Food Series by Vaibhav Studios
Anyone who has seen the Nick Idli party video will testify to its catchy animation and the addictive music. In fact search for Idli song on YouTube and you will be amazed to find the plethora of comments praising the animation and the concept. On a similar vein, there are 2 more food related ident videos for Nick – One was for a Garba occasion and the other is a Rap battle between Vada Pav and Samosa! It’s a well-known fact in the industry circle about the ingenuity and the skill of Vaibhav Studios, whose brilliant brains are behind the concept and execution of these delightful videos.
Nick Ident – Rap
Nick Ident – Garba
Nick Ident – Idli
Nick Ident – Egg Opera
Tell us a bit about yourself, the type of work you like/do and your (professional) journey up until now ? How did you join Vaibhav team?
Hi, I'm Dapoon Rai Dewan, I hail from Guwahati, Assam. Was always into art and animation ever since my childhood, and that’s all I ever wanted to do. Although my family was always supportive of my passion, but taking it up as a full time career did raise some concerns. I took up B.Sc. (Hons) Electronics instead. And after flunking twice in it, I was finally free to chase my dream.

Circa 2010, I was on bedrest because of a road accident. During this time, I made plenty of personal animations which I would regularly upload on social media. I’ll forever be indebted to Rekha Thorat who noticed my work and recommended me to Vaibhav. This was in 2011. And I've been happily working with him ever since.

Tell us a bit about the inception and the process of the Food idents creation? When and how did you conceive the ideas behind it? What was the inspiration?
So the idea of making animated music clips with real food items was the brainwave of our director Anand Babu. Two years ago, he had made a personal music clip with pista and badaam in his free time (called the Pista Song). It excited Vaibhav so much that he immediately pitched it to Nickelodeon for a series similar to this.

The inspiration behind that clip, Anand says, was a song named Pista from the movie Neram. It struck him to use real pistas as actors, and that’s how it evolved.

Take us through the process of creation of the videos. Were there any challenges (technical or otherwise) faced by you while trying to create the animation?
Oh yes there were a lot of challenges.
First and foremost, because this involved puppetry, everything had to be done in real time. Usually in animation, we meticulously create an illusion of movement over a period of time, which when played back, seems instantaneous. But here it had to done live. The puppeteers were no less than live action actors, actually living in the moment of every shot. So spontaneity was something we had to learn, along with the concept of retakes.
Rigging the food items was tricky. Each of them had to be rigged differently depending on their type. Some are soft, some are hard, they come in different shapes and sizes. They had to be rigged with extreme care such that they could be maneuvered easily without breaking. So our rigger used metal rods, wires, and threads depending upon the type of food and the performance. Many of the background dancers were hung on strings tied to a common stick that could be handled by one puppeteer.

Space was also another challenge. We had the characters, props, sets, lights, everything set up in one tiny space. Add to that the number of puppeteers handling the food items, making sure the dance movements are right. The puppeteers had to be careful not to bump the into each other, or appear on camera.

After the shoot is done and we’ve finalized the takes, our artists start the task of wire removal. And because most of our shots don’t have green screen, they have to painstakingly remove the wire manually in every frame. It is admittedly the most arduous of all tasks.

All in all though, the whole process is a fun learning experience. We have many happy accidents when we’re shooting where we unexpectedly come up with good performances that we hadn’t thought of initially.

Overall how was the experience of making this film? What sort of response did you receive to the film? Also a bit about the previous films in the similar food series, a bit about them as well.
Like I mentioned, the whole process has been a great learning curve. Animation is indeed a world of never ending possibilities. There’s so much more that can be done through this medium, it’s unbelievable. The response to our rap film has been through the roof. When the film was released online, it almost immediately went viral, as was the case with our previous food idents.

The first in this series, The Idli Song, was an instant hit. It took us by surprise how far and wide it got circulated. It was even seen playing in a South Indian restaurant!

Our films have also bagged many awards. Last year, they were awarded Gold and Silver at the Promax and BDA Award, Singapore, for best online ident, best sound, best promo, best original music composition, best animation. We also won 6 silvers at Clio Awards 2019

Do you have any side projects going on - similar to this? or otherwise?
Apart from two more Nick idents (which are a different series), we have our main project going on, that is our maiden feature film Return of the Jungle, and our 2D animated award winning series Lamput.
Top 3 favourite animation films/ who are the artists that inspire you?
Oh they keep changing over the years. But from the recent years, they are
a. Monsters Inc
b. Inside Out
c. The Illusionist

A lot of artists inspire me, Glen Keane, Pete Docter, Pascal Campion, Bill Watterson, Mario Miranda, Vaibhav Kumaresh, it’s hard to pick.

Even friends I’ve worked with, Anand Babu, Rajiv Eipe, Sumeet Surve, and a lot more, have been a constant source of inspiration to me.

What would you like to say about 'design / animation industry, India'
In the recent years, I’ve pleasantly seen a rise in independent local content, be it short films, series, ads, designs, comics, and/or even feature films! I would love for this trend to grow, so we have a thriving local Indian design/animation industry.
If you could be one, which would you be vada bhau or mosa bhai? Or the chutneys! Or a whole new character 🙂 ?
Oh hands down Mosabhai! I had a great time writing his rap lines. I like his calm composed , yet strong demeanor that he exudes. He was a great character to animate.
Future plans with this series? Are there more planned?
As of now, I can’t really comment on this.
Any words of inspiration to the young aspirants entering our Animation army?
Be passionate, be patient, be persistent.
This field is a lot of fun yes, but it also comes with its share of hard work and struggle. It takes years to master the craft, and yet it’s a never ending learning curve. If you’re passionate, patient and persistent, you’ll enjoy those initial learning years and won’t even realize when they speed by.

Keep yourself driven by drawing inspiration from other amazing artists. Watch and learn from them, read books, study movies, explore. This also helps you refine your taste.

Be brave and take risks. Do things you haven't done before. I'm not saying bite more than you can chew, but take a leap of faith now and then. Test yourself. Even if it's a simple exercise, try doing it the best way you can, that stands out.

There'll be times when you'll be extremely frustrated because you're just not getting it right, or the way you want it to be. Know that it is okay, it's a normal part of growth. Know that you're on the right path.

You're frustrated only because you have set high standards, which I think is important.
Keep at it, and one day, just like that, it'll come to you. I call it the 'breakfree' moment, where you break free from all the confusions and learn how to channelize your thoughts.

It's extremely important to overcome this difficult hurdle, because it'll help you face more hurdles ahead.

Do not run after money. I understand I can’t generalize here, but in your early years, try to always strive for learning. Even if they pay less, work in studios that help you learn, grow and explore, that make you think.

Money is important yes, and at one point it will become indispensable, but if you invest in learning in your early years, it’ll help you grow as an artist. Your value as an artist shoots up, and that converts into good money too, making for a satisfying career. It all works out in the end. It has so far worked out for me.