Monday, April 30, 2007

Paul Wood - "Untitled"

Paul WoodPaul Wood's Final Project for my class was another really interesting music video. It has a total futuristic outer-spacey feel to it, but also is very reminiscent of 80s new wave videos, with the space age girl, wearing a sliced up t-shirt on her head, and the strong video effects.

Paul shot footage of his girlfriend over a greenscreen and took the footage into Adobe Illustrator and performed Live Trace on the sequence. He composited with some 3D and effected the footage even more and combined this all with some experimental designs. He ended up with a really cool music video!

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Me& The Moon - Things Aren't Always as They Seem

Me& The Moon's Things Aren't Always as They Seem music video was created by Chris Carmichael, a student that was in my class this semester. He shot, edited and did all of the effects and graphics. The only thing he didn't do was star in the video... the girl in the video is his younger sister.

Chris shot the band over a portable green screen one weekend this winter, and I must say, his footage was really dark and I was a bit worried that he would put hours of work into it and come out with a mediocre project. I was amazed at what a good looking video he made with that dark footage. Here and there there are a few issues with the key, but overall, the color effects and correction have fixed most of the dark footage. He compostited the keyed footage over stills of the woods and added some interesting luma mattes and vector paint effects. I was very pleased with the outcome of his project.

This guy is going to do very well in this field. Well played, Chris. Well played.

Unfortunately, the file size was gimungus, so I compressed it into a small file. I just don't feel like dealing with bandwidth issues this month.

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Moonbabies Music Videos

I'm a huge fan of music videos as you've probably noticed from my posts here. What other mainstream media genre can you make art for arts sake? TV commercials? Not if you want to sell anything. Yes, music videos are basically a commercial for the band, I know that, but I love a good video.

The Moonbabies have very cool videos. The Moonbabies are a Swedish band who makes etherial pop and just really nice music. I have a soft spot for Swedish pop - damn you, ABBA! ;-)

Moonbabies Over My HeadOver My Head
Directed and produced by Magnus Hedberg (2002)

War on SoundWar on Sound (Space Version)
Directed and produced by Eric Althin & Shannon Henegan (2007)


Sin Destroyers - Gifts to the World

Sin Destroyers - Gifts to the World was sent to me by Jim G. (aka Apple Jim). His buddy Andy is in the band. The band members are all animators and designers from Brooklyn, NY. The video is hillarious and the band rocks hard... like Iron Maiden hard..., but if you don't feel comfortable with pure blasphemy, you probably do not want to see the video. Just a warning.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

PBS Frontline Promo - When Kids Get Life


PBS Frontline - When Kids Get Life
was sent to us by Steve Audette. He was kind enough to give us a look at his work process. It's great to have a behind-the-scenes peek at a popular show like Frontline. Thank you, Steve!

"This FRONTLINE promo was cut entirely on Adobe's After Effects v.7.01. Originally I built the sound track and blocked out all the video elements on an Avid Media Composer using the AniMatte key, but given the limitations of that effect I quickly moved to After Effects. I brought all the files in as Quicktimes using the Avid Codec. however, next time I will use Wes Plate's Automatic Duck.

The music in the spot is from APM and was chosen by the producer, as were the sound bites and narration. The narrator is, of course, the signature FRONTLINE voice of Will Lyman. The weave of voices that surround Will Lyman are cut to fill out the negative spaces and give the over all effect of a what I call a Voice Fugue. There are three sound effects mixed into the music. A piano string strummed opens the spot. A tympani roll mixed with a hum a buzz of an old TV set closes the spot.

The opening shot is one of the most complicated. I wanted the PBS and FRONTLINE lens logos to blend within an on the coil of concertina wire. Ultimately, I had to use a combination of a screen mode blend, track mattes, and a luma key. I also added transparency keyframes to help the transitions.

To get the shot right, I had to scale up and then position the the wire layer to center the coil tunnel. I think this scaling maybe distorted the wire edges too much to really see, but I still like the overall effect.

The first child mug shot (Justin at 14) is a layered composition I made in Adobe Photshop. I separated the boy from his background and cloned the lines to appear behind him. It was a low resolution file so I was pretty much stuck with this scale factor.

The idea was to offset the younger Justin with his older counterpart as he comes on screen to give his analysis. The older Justin is masked out over his own background which dissolves out to the first of several newspaper headlines. The headlines not only add a text element, but reenforces the program content. These elements then fade to a background plate of chain-link fence.

A second younger/older set is masked out over the fence with a second headline. The primary narration begins, and a pair of haunting frightened eyes of a younger boy peer over the headline "Locked up for ever."

The headlines start out scaled back and defocused with fast blur. As they scale up, I transition out the fast blur before bringing the transparency to zero. The original artwork for the headlines were from microfiche, so I decided to invert the luma of the layer to give it that look. I think the negative elements adds to the spookiness of the audio track.

The mask of the imprisoned boy dropping his head was the most difficult. I originally started by adding key frames to the mask every frame. I dropped that approach on preview because the shape around the boy's head was too animated and didn't follow a smooth path. Instead, I created a mask with fewer points - and fewer keyframes (at critical motion starts and ends). The mask may not be perfect, but I think it is much less distracting than the frame by frame mask I originally started out with.

The woman also has a simple mask with few keyframes. Her hair was much more wispy than it appears in the spot, but again it is on so short a time, that I think the effect works. If you look close you can see where I missed a bit. Behind her is the the last of the headlines.

The father sat very still so his mask was easy. I went back to a full background plate before the last shot to give his voice the feel of a "reasoned response."

Finally there is the flash and blur of a security camera tuning in. Because this was such a low resolution file (VHS on SLP), I really felt it would not withstand scaling up - like the camera was zooming in. Also I wanted the negative space for the FRONTLINE title and logo. My solution was the warp mesh (under the distort menu tree). After applying the effect I reduced the center grid points down to push the boy back, while the walls and floor used stretched pixels. I then created an adjustment layer and added venetian blinds effect (under transition menu tree). I used the preset "Bad TV warp." It seemed to work so I kept it.

The original version of the spot had a cooler font treatment for the title, but was toned down to helvetica condensed to fit within FRONTLINE font standards. I think that was probably a good idea. The rest of the end packaging is pretty standard FRONTLINE stuff. I offset some of it to match the center of the table.

It took four days to edit and finish. I did the final mix myself in the Avid. I hope that something about all this inspires you and your work. As the spot says, you can watch the program online (and many, many more) at the FRONTLINE website."

Steve Audette

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Missing Persons - Surrender Your Heart

By reading this blog, one might think that the only thing I ever watch are music videos. In the 80s, that was entirely true, with a break once in a while to watch Silver Spoons or Family Ties! Here's a blast from the past from one of my favorite bands from the 1980's, Missing Persons.

Surrender Your Heart was done by Peter Max with a PaintBox. I used to use a PaintBox back in the day. Sadly, I never did anything this cool... mostly just worked with corporate logos. Yay. Well, ya have to start somewhere.

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KJ Sawka - Montreal

This music video, Montreal for Seattle electronic artist KJ Sawka, is beautiful and creative and is the absolute definition of eye candy. Director/animator/designer/editor: Clay Lipsky. There's an interview with Lipsky about the making of the video at

I got a kick out of Lipsky's equation for music videos:

final cut + photoshop + illustrator + 3D (cinema 4d or MAYA) + After Effects - sleep + coffee = video

(Via BoardsMag)

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Irving - Situation

Fun 2D animation with live video, plus a great pop song.

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Circle Circle Dot Dot - Jamie Kennedy and Stu Stone

This one is a couple of months old, but my assistant, Chris, kept singing about a cootie shot. Now I know what he's talking about. Again, stop motion. Stop motion is everywhere. Some people has such steady hands. Apparently they do not drink as much coffee as I do. The stop motion is really well done, especially the dance moves.

*Explicit lyrics

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The Maccabees - Precious Time

Precious TimePrecious Time is from British band, the Maccabees. I can't say I like the song, but the video, directed by Sam Brady, is fun.

Is stop motion hotter than habeneros lately or what!? Seems like it's popping up everywhere. This one has some clever tracking and animated cutouts too.

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Guster - One Man Wrecking Machine

Guster One Man Wrecking MachineOne Man Wrecking Machine has cute stuffed animal characters.The cotton cloud effects are pretty neat.

It was directed by Drew Lightfoot at Revolver Film Company, made the stop-motion video with literally no help from the band. Drew Lightfood was Tim Burton's righthand man on Corpse Bride, according to Brian Rosenworcel, Guster's drummer.

There's an artist comentary at and they talk a bit about the making of the video.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Floris: Metalosis Maligna by Microbia

Floris: Metalosis Maligna, which came out last year, is a scary documentary slash short film about medical implants gone crazy. There's lots of cool 3D and some stellar compositing and tracking work. The man with the metalosis maligna, with his body being replaced by "metal tissue" and the stop motion portions are really impressive. Wow. I'm blown away.

The Dutch duo called Microbia, Floris Kaayk and Sil van der Woerd, produced this amazing piece.

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Dr. Dog - My Old Ways

Dr. Dog is a Philly band whos sound reminds me of some 60's psychedelia + Superdrag. Awesome band and it's great to see them getting some exposure. The dance moves in the video are so cool. Amazing work.

Isobel Knowles of Architecture in Helsinki, directed the video. She also worked on a stop motion piece called Clara, which was a selection at Cannes and Sundance.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Lyapis Trubetskoy - Capital

Capital is a mindblowing video by Belorussian group Lyapis Trubetskoy, directed by Alexey Terekhov and produced by Cosmos Film.

The singer has multiple faces which reminds me of the Hindu God, Kartikay. He's riding on an animal that morphs from a rhino to a horse to an elephent and several other animals. There are layers and layers of flowers, then world leaders surrounded by guns and liquor.

So many layers and so much movement. So many cosmic zooms, so much rotoscoping. The color scheme is gorgeous.

Coolest. Video. Ever.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007 Live 24/7

Okay, not the type of thing I've posted here before but this is so mundanely interesting not to share., the most aptly named site ever, is the place to watch some guy named Justin's life, 24/7. At this very moment, he's folding his laundry at a laundromat. It's really boring. He leaves the camera on when he's sleeping, in the bathroom and even on a date. That must be a bit uncomforable for the lady, I'd imagine.

Kind of like the Truman show, except without the sunrise on queue.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Blonde Redhead - 23

Melodie McDaniel directed the latest video from Indie band Blonde Redhead. the video has an etherial feel with lots and lots of layers, echo effects, lense flares.Via Spinner


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Strange Frame: Love & Sax

Strange Frame is a unique, lush computer animated film with the tagline "One musician's journey to save her lover from a killer few can survive: STARDOM"

"Mangolo", who is working on the film, posted a question to our Forum about the Liquify plug-in in After Effects. The trailer looks fascinating. Check out the Strange Frame website.

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HellHoles Series by Efram Potelle and Kyle Rankin

hellholesHellHoles was posted to the AE-List this morning and was done in Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, Photoshop and Maya. This is the first episode of the AtomFilms series. It's very funny and clever, which you wouldn't know by the image to the left, but it's about a guy who buys a trailer for a buck only to find that it is a portal into another dimension.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Broken: How to Make Video Look Like Film

This link was in the Red Giant newsletter and reminded me of a film that I was an extra in many years ago called LAM, a film by Justin Woiwode. They both take place in mental institutions where the staff is nuttier than the patients. I'm digging the shaky cam effects in Broken.

The best stuff is here:

Magic Bullet Editors helped Alex Ferrari create three signature looks for the indie short, Broken, an action suspense movie that has been accepted at over 90 film festivals around the world. The DVD includes over three hours of helpful tips on production design, costume design, lighting, color correction and props. Magic Bullet is covered in the section called How to Make Video Look Like Film.

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Red Light / Green Light by Impact BBDO

At night the traffic lights come out and have a decent brawl.

This excellent clip was done by Impact BBDO and directed by Joeri Holsheimer. Apparantly, there are two versions. One is slightly longer, presumably the director's cut, and it features a different song by Snoop Dogg and Limp Bizkit. Here it is.

Oh, and: yes, it is a tv ad. But you can't tell until the very end. So, who do you think it is for?

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Trusted Computing - Benjamin Stephan and Lutz Vogel.

Trusted ComputingJim Geduldick sent me this amazing piece, Trusted Computing, by Benjamin Stephan and Lutz Vogel.

I love the microfilm projector look with the animated tape and other objects in the beginning. This is reminiscent of What Barry Says, but takes it to a whole other level. They have some supa cool transitions and mix the 3D elements flawlessly. I love this piece!

The smokestack graphic looks like Noise Industries logo (are you guys doing some subliminal advertising? ;-)

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Sneaux - Human Skateboard

PESYou've probably caught Sneaux Human Skateboard on the tube. Such incredible stop motion. That had to hurt.

Directed by PES, Cinematography by Ivan Abel, Animated by PES and Ivan Abel.

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The Apples in Stereo - Can You Feel It?

I tried really hard to find a quicktime of this video, but no luck. The director, Nol Honig's Website, Toupee Films has really high quality flash video, but I can't link directly to the clip. That right there is the reason I dislike Flash. Anyway, very cool video. Lots o' fun.


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