The Incredible Journey is an animated short documentary celebrating the 40th anniversary of the salvage and homecoming of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's famous ship, the ss Great Britain.
The animation was developed within a collaborative Visualising Oral History project between the ss Great Britain Trust and the University of the West of England. Based on interviews with people involved in the rescue efforts, as well as memories of the Bristol public, a script was developed and the film divided into three parts: the salvage operation in the Falkland Isles, the journey across the Atlantic and the homecoming into the Bristol docks, where the ship was built and launched in 1843.
In my position as project manager and animation director, I worked closely with the scriptwriter, researchers, academics, sound designers and animation artists. Having been lucky enough to be granted access to the oral history archive, as well as museum artefacts, original blueprints and photographs, I worked on setting up a pre-selection of material for the teams to work with, before discussing project milestones, deliverables and production schedules.
Part 1: The Salvage
... is all about the Salvage operation in the Falkland Isles. Produced in 3D/CGI, the ss Great Britain was modelled based on original archive blueprints and combined with digitally painted backgrounds of the Falklands landscape.
Part 2: The Journey
... is all about the 8000 mile tow from he Falkland Islands to Southwest England. Produced in a combination of 2D & 3D graphics, 3D images of the flotilla were combined with 2D textures, graphics and archive material.
Part 3: The Homecoming
... is all about the return of the ss Great Britain to its birthplace, the Bristol docks. Produced in 2D digital, rendered images of the ss Great Britain were animated alongside archive text, drawn characters and backgrounds.
A dedicated team of sound designers worked together with a composer on creating an atmospheric soundscape for each part of the animation, using the original Oral History recordings.
The vimeo account Visualising Voices shows a collection of animatics and tests, showcasing the development of the project.