This post could be 20 pages long. But due to my stack of other projects in the waiting room next door sitting in some made-in-Malaysia, purple-patterned chairs listening to crappy 90s tunes while staring into the pages of outdated National Geographic magazines, I’m going to go with two pages instead.
First step was filming each of the musicians in front of a green screen playing and singing the song a whole bunch of times (like… 50 times or something). And since we were shooting in a rad bar in downtown Louisville, KY, we also decided to get some shots around the bar itself. Ya know… for ambiance. Er? Or Variation. Er? Because.
After that I took the footage into my editing software and layered it all up along with some archival footage or rockets and sine waves and… etc.
Then I applied mad amounts of filters (which I'm not usually a fan of, but in this case...) on the layers to get the kind of photocopy/line drawing feel that I wanted.
Once this was done and I had the whole song edited, I made a 3,055 page PDF where each page was one frame of the video (12fps). I took the PDF over to Staples where the two women working behind the counter were baffled and amused like two parents surrounding a newborn as each of the over 3 thousand pages printed out. Cue the Jeopardy music…
Later that day I came back to see they had three boxes of papers waiting for me. Three boxes. Like big boxes.
Back at home I got the Animation Station up and ready to go. It was a door on two sawhorses in my studio with a tripod behind that. Two shop lights flanked the table at 45 degree angles. To get the camera out at a 90 degree angle above the table I had to stack two battery grips under the camera at angels, then tilt the whole thing. It was… rickety to say the least. But it only needed to hold for three days…
Then I stacked up all the pages (frames) of the song back up under the camera. The stack ended up at about 2 and a half feet tall. BUT, before I began, I reordered the song’s pages in the stack. So at the bottom of the stack was the first verse, then the first chorus was up at the top somewhere, then the second verse was in the middle, and the bridge was somewhere at the top, etc. the end scene where the big mouths eat the band members was spread throughout the stack. This meant that after I had finished the animation I then had a film that was out of order…. This is a good thing. We’ll get to that soon. I had a timesheet PDF to help me out with this whole confusing process.
The animation was shot on a 5D mark ii with a 24mm 2.8 pancake lens.
Essentially the process was as such:
-Manipulate the top page (aka, paint on it, fold it, crumple it, cut it, etc).
-Take a picture of it from the camera above.
-Discard that page.
-Manipulate the next top page.
-Take a picture of it.
-And so on. A few thousand times. Ya know... Animation stuff.
I’ve done a few animations in the past, and actually this one was one of the simpler. Mainly because most of the motion was already printed on the page – I just added to it with my manipulations.
…Okay so a few thousand pictures and three days in a cave later…
And now I’ve got a music video that is all out of order and garbled up.
So in Premiere I basically put it back in order. So as a viewer it looks like the stack is rising and falling but the song plays out in the correct order.
And here it is:
Hmm. I hope this makes sense. I’m better with pictures than words. People ask me questions and I make videos.
That’s the long and short of it. Thanks to the Frederick the Younger members for being so willing and able when I showed up saying I was going to throw them into something that kind of looked like one of those old iPod commercials.
Some of the raw images: