None of us would think that the ordinary social interactions we took for granted would shatter like an illusion. The pandemic revealed how meaningful these connections were to us. Such large-scale physical isolation triggered mental health conditions or exacerbated existing ones for many, creating a hidden but real mental pandemic. Inspired by personal and others' experiences, Disconnected is a short film that pays homage to the most suffocating time which many suffered during the pandemic, reminding us of how precious the "normal" life could be. This piece aims to present the psychological impacts of isolation in a restrained yet compelling manner.
A crucial portion of the project is to interpret the accumulation of stress and tension over time effectively. Starting with the idea of being locked at home, we ideated about how the daily objects around us could become indications of anxiety.
The first concept we latched on was the detail. During the quarantine, these familiar objects became our companions 24x7 in the daunting jail cell called home. Closely studied with a high level of detail, the smears and wears signify the laying up mental burdens.
The visual of the piece plays an essential role in this simple narrative. Using Redshift Renderer, we were able to achieve hyperrealism with astonishing details, presenting ordinary objects extraordinarily.
Another key framing device is falling. We tried to depict the fragility of the mind by placing the objects on the edges. Gradually pushing them over the tipping points, the gravity is ubiquitous and persistent. The act of freefalling resembles the experience of a mental breakdown, helpless and inevitable.
One key challenge during the process was how to address such an abstract topic clearly while keeping it open for interpretation. We solved the problem by iteratively simplifying the narrative, using straightforward acts, and leaning on art direction to tell the story. A huge part of the effort on the project was devoted to creating the detailed materials in Redshift. The final visual quality successfully pushes the piece to the next level.