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Video of the Day: Oscar-Shortlisted Animated Short Duet

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Music and sound design company Pollen Music Group recently provided the original score for Duet, a hand-drawn animated short from Disney animation legend Glen Keane that has been shortlisted for a 2015 Academy Award in the animated short film category.

Duet is the third such music project by Pollen for Google’s “Spotlight Stories” on the Moto X phone. The first two, Windy Day and Buggy Night, proved that smartphones can be used to create fully-formed, 3D interactive worlds. Duet is the first hand-drawn film in the immersive film series in which viewers can “pan” around virtual movie sets as the story plays out.

Scot Stafford may be the most versatile composer I have ever worked with,” said Keane. “He and his team at Pollen Music Group are pioneers. They lift high their craft and deliver not only virtuoso writing and talent, but are able to collaborate on the highest technical level imaginable.”

The company created two scores for the short: an interactive version for the smartphone experience and a theatrical version.

According to Pollen principal/composer Scot Stafford, his team took an unusual approach to pitching the musical relationship. Pollen put together 12 original sketches on spec, all of which involved live musicians. Then Keane was invited into their San Francisco studio to hear all of the options. The result, said Stafford, “was a creative process that felt very organic and natural.”

“Glen is an incredibly musically sensitive person,” explained Stafford, who has scored all three of the “Spotlight Series” films. “He brought a lot of ideas to the table. Our solution was to have a recording session where we allowed a ‘conversation’ to happen between the musicians and Glen directly. His animation is so musical and lyrical that we just followed the lines in his drawings. It was a true collaboration.”

The final score was recorded and mixed at Skywalker Sound with the Cypress String Quartet and other hand-picked musicians from around the world.

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