Images courtesy of Frame 48

7 reasons why "Hum" has us singing its praises

Besides being a visually stunning ode to curiosity and the power of friendship, here are 7 additional reasons why we’re singing the praises of Tom Teller’s student film, Hum.

“Hum” is a tale of a robot seeking enlightenment

Inspired by Plato's, Allegory of the Cave, Hum tells the story of a solitary, dish-washing robot, who’s enlightened to the world outside thanks to the appearance of an unexpected, small friend.

It's the product of a junior year advanced production class

Hum was created over one semester (February – May 2015) at Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. Tom and his team had a budget of just $2000. 


3/ Live action and animation are uniquely combined

All of the CGI assets were created during two months of pre-production. During this time, a precise animatic was created using timed storyboards and temporary music, and this story reel provided them with a roadmap for both production and editorial. The live action shoot, according to Teller, took place over two days at a location in Orange, California, with a crew of roughly 15 people. The film was edited in just three days, which allowed them to get to the VFX in fairly short order.

Max was "essential" for lag-free animation

Being a longtime Max user, Tom naturally turned to it when building out the workflow for Hum. “It was essential to our pipeline,” he says. “Having the ability to run any necessary simulations directly in Max was beneficial but the main advantage was the speed of the program. We were able to animate without any lag, even when some of our assets ran over 10 million polygons."

And seriously, that hummingbird looks amazing

Says Tom, "Max worked like a charm" on this little guy. "We were going for subtle yet effective and Max pulled it off perfectly." They used VRAY inside of Max for all of their renders, and according to Teller, the synergy of the two was “fast and smooth.”

Post production was completed in just six weeks

Tom and crew built their assets before shooting, leaving them six weeks to do animation, rendering, and compositing (tight, right?) They were able to accomplish this by delegating shots out to a talented team of about eight animators.

"Hum" is making an impressive impact

Finalist, Student Academy Awards (2015)

Winner, Best Animated Short: Forbes Under 30 Summit (2016)

Nominee, MPSE Verna Fields Award (2015)

Winner, Best Animation: Breckenridge Film Festival (2016)

Winner, Best Animation: CineYouth (2016)

Winner, Best Animation: Wild Rose Independent Film Festival (2016)

Winner, Audience Favorite, Best Animation, and Best in Show: CEC Shorttakes (2016)

Winner, Best Animation: Humboldt Int’l Film Fest (2016)

Winner, Best Short: F3: Frankly Film Fest (2016)

Winner, Best Special Effects: Rockland Youth Film Festival (2016)

Short of the Week (October, 2016)

"Hum" was posted online approximately two weeks ago and has already earned nearly 25,000 views. To learn more about Tom Teller’s work, visit Frame 48.

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