Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Runner: Exploit yourself

Exploit yourself is a Spec commercial inspired by NIKE, directed by Carl Erik Rinsch. The commercial was produced in Big Lazy Robot Visual Effects Studio from February to May. Rinsch wanted to "show off the nerve and spark and freshness of the city with the strength and power of modern sport competition, all in a whole 3d environment."

The Runner -Exploit yourself- from BLR_VFX on Vimeo.

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New Moon Official Trailer

Okay, I'll admit it. I've been sucked in to the Twilight series. Check out the official trailer for New Moon, the second in the Series. The morph from Jake to Werewolf at the end is pretty nice.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Wild Beasts - Hooting & Howling

The whole thing takes place underwater and has gorgeous lighting.


The Astronomer's Dream Trailer by Malcolm Sutherland

I saw this one up at Motionographer. Very cool piece. Mayan space robots? It could happen.

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Growing Up by Jr.canest

A very cool student video from Jr.canest.

Growing Up from Jr.canest on Vimeo.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

He's Barrack Obama - Jibjab

Funny stuff and cool animation.

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

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Ranger 3 - Sense of Direction

Claymation animals shot outdoors, directed by the award-winning Eric Power. This is a very cool video and all but is the stop motion overdone these days? What do you think?

Ranger 3 - Sense of Direction from Eric Power on Vimeo.

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Jessie Malakouti - Outsider

I love the beginning of this video, before the song actually kicks in. Sexy ladies with rodent heads in dark and gothic scenery... what is not to love? (Well, the song... but we won't go there.) Directed by Kerry Bellessa.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spy of Oranje- Over 500 vfx shots Utilizing Cinema 4D

Find more videos like this on MyToolfarm

From MAXON: "With almost 500 visual effect shots, "Spion van Oranje" is the most spectacular visual effects motion picture produced in the Netherlands to date. Being a James Bond spoof, this movie involved a lot of over-the-top action sequences and impossible scenes, which were all realized with CINEMA 4D and the modules Advanced Render, MoGraph, MOCCA, Thinking Particles, NET Render and Sketch and Toon." Visual Effects by PLANET FX.

Want to give Maxon Cinema 4D a spin for free? Download a free trial here!

We also have a sale running if you’re interested in upgrading to Maxon from another 3D app. Save 50% on competitive upgrades through July 31st, 2009!

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Buffy vs Edward (Twilight Remixed) Video Mash-up

This isn't the kind of thing we usually show here, but this is some damn good editing. They do an incredible job with the audio as well, as it isn't choppy. Impressive work and fun to watch.

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Le Cafe - Oldelaf & Monsieur D

Not sure if I posted this one when it came out in January 2008. It's a video for the French band Oldelaf and Monsieur D. The video was directed by Stephanie Marguerite and Emilie Tarascou.

Just for fun, here's another animated video for the band. The song is called Nathalie )mon amour des JMJ). I have a feeling this is not an official video but a fan video (but I don't read French all that well).

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Fleet Foxes: Mykonos

Stop motion paper animation by director and animator Sean Pecknold along with artist/illustrator Jesse Brown for Fleet Foxes. After Effects was used to finish the final sequences.

Making of video:

"Our last 4 weeks stitched together. Mainly timelapse of setting up each shot."

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Palm Pre from Sprint Commercial

I saw this spot during Jimmy Kimmel Live last night and thought the visuals were very cool. I don't really care for the song, but I do really like the ad. The song is called Doorway by IO Echo, fronted by a woman named Joanna Gikas, who is some sort of celebrity.

They built a gigantic Facebook set for the ad shot at Warner Bros. film studios.


Monday, June 22, 2009

A Conversation with Sum: The Lone Wolf

A Conversation with Sum: The Lone Wolf from Michele Yamazaki on Vimeo.

This is a video interview I put together with Sum who recently put out an incredible album with Belief, The Lone Wolf. I learned a lot during the process - you can get audio feedback in iChat even if both parties have headphones on and the speakers are low. This seems to be a bug with iChat. I now have ScreenFlow and for the next interview I will try that out.

Another problem with iChat is that it records only at a small size, hence the background. It did give me some room to put titles though, so it wasn't a huge problem.

I cut the video with Premiere Pro, finally solving my problem with export (more on that in another post, probably a tutorial on how to uninstall your Adobe CS4 apps!) I ran into another problem with Premiere Pro, and that was that if you export with QuickTime, the audio and video can experience sync problem... and let me tell you, I did! The plan was to export with Animation codec and use Sorenson Squeeze because it does such a great job of outputting a high quality video for iPod. Instead, I ended up reexporting through Adobe Media Encoder with the iPod high-quality settings. This video is meant for the web and iPods and no where else. I didn't intend to have a high quality for television or anything, so these settings were okay.

It's funny how a quick project can turn into such a crazy bug filled weekend. I think the interview turned out pretty well, considering the bad echo/feedback. I was able to minimize it in Adobe Soundbooth. Yeah, you should've heard the original, which could NOT be heard during recording. So annoying. Live and learn, right!

Okay, about The Lone Wolf. It is available at iTunes, The Orchard and all over the web and I highly recommend it. It's one of those albums that gets under your skin and you just want to listen to it over and over. I have many sample clips in the interview. I'm not a big fan of hip hop, but this is so different than mainstream hip hop. Check it out! Support independent artists!

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Form Troopers Bubblegum

form troopersA gorgeous and well-executed sample of Trapcode Form by Form Troopers (pops).

Link via Peder Norrby


Friday, June 12, 2009

Civilization by Marco Brambilla

Video installation art created by Crush with artist/director Marco Brambilla for the elevators Standard Hotel in NYC. Reminds me of a Bosch painting! Made up of over 400 video clips, it takes visitors either up to heaven or down to hell depending on which way they are going in the elevator. Pictures and Q&A with Brambilla and Crush.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Deadline - Senior Project from Savanah College of Art and Design

A very cool stop motion-based senior project at Savannah College of Art and Design.

The planning on this would've been insane, and it was, so they made the Making of... I wondered how they decided how it moved. They first put it together in Flash, then made animatics.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

N.A.S.A. - A Volta

Note: Not Safe For Work (NSFW): Language, nudity, violence (of course, it's all animated and in Spanish!) This is some seriously cool animation. Pretty freakin' amazing work.

Video by Logan, who are most well-known for its work on the Apple iPod Silhouettes campaign. Art by The Date Farmers, aka Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez.

I love this quote: "Ingenious beats + more guest stars than 'Love Boat' + Martian booty dancers = the party album of the year" - SPIN Magazine

Here's the "Mocumentary Making of" video:

Extra bonus: MP3 download: Download Treasure Fingers Epicwave remix mp3 of N.A.S.A.'s "Gifted"

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

MGMT - Kids

I've been waiting for this video, and man, the poor kid in this video is probably scarred for life. Lots of cool scary monsters. Such a great song. Make sure you watch the animation at the end of the video. Lots of fun, trippy cell animation.


Sunday, June 07, 2009

IKEA - An Ocean of Possibilities

Tomer Bahat sent me this fun new stop motion IKEA bedrooms commercial that he directed, which was shot on location in Rishon Lezion, Israel. Shot on Canon 5D mk. II, PreViz on 3DS Max, Composited in Adobe After Effects.

Ikea Stop Motion Commercial-Bedrooms-"An Ocean of Possibilities" from Tomer Bahat on Vimeo.

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Friday, June 05, 2009

Flashback Friday: Midnight Juggernauts - Shadows (2006)

I heard this song at the DJ booth at Lollapalooza a couple of years ago, before the iPhone and Shazam and I couldn't figure out the musician for the life of me! I loved the psychedelic-electronic sound. Since then, it has been my quest in life to find out the band. A lot of my friends think Pearl Jam is the greatest band ever, so they're no help on music questions like this. I couldn't even google it because I didn't know the title. I was just playing a Pharrell Mix (Sunny Fall Mix) and it was there, on my iPod all along. Shazam to the rescue! (I know, you probably knew the song all along!)

The band is Midnight Juggernauts, a Melbourne, Australia-based band, and now that I have that information, I can finally sleep at night. I need to check out their full catalog.

juggernautsI checked out the video, directed by Krozm, and it has some crazy futuristic Tron thing going on in a small piece, making it worthy of a post. I love the prismatic shapes coming from the instrument. Krozm has also done vids for some of my other favorites: Cut Copy, Architecture in Helsinki, Van She.

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Monday, June 01, 2009

A Conversation with Garcia Freundt

modernage Garcia Freundt

On the side I run a music blog and I was contacted about the band Modernage. The music is fantastic, with sort of a Joy Division feel, but with much more warmth and melody. What really struck me, though, was the cool video. I had recently been complaining about how videos nowadays just seem like a way to market a band and there's a lack of art in a lot of music videos. The music video for the song Creatures uses stop motion with wired up stuffed toys. What is also great about Creatures is that the video was created by a band member. I talk with the multi-talented Garcia Freundt of Modernage, musician and visual effects artist.

TF: You did an amazing stop motion video for your band Modernage for the song Creatures. Do you have a background in photography and video?

GF: I've been working on tv and film for about 12 years. I've never been into photography, just took a couple of classes in college, but I'm thinking of buying a still camera but mainly to work more on stop motion.

TF: Have you done much stop motion work? This looks like a huge undertaking.

behind the scenes

GF: This is my second project with stop motion. I've always liked stop motion because it is a unique medium. I fell in love with the textures of the environment and the not-so-perfect movements. My opportunity to explore this medium for the first time was last year, when I was asked to develop some Halloween IDs for a TV cable network. I instantly knew that it would be a great opportunity to create a bizarre world... the short length of the pieces - 10 to 12 seconds - was perfect for a first timer using this technique.

Another reason I like stop motion is the fact that you don't have to work with a lot of people. It's kinda like sculpting and painting, it's very different that normal filmmaking. Roberto Vasconcelos, a great DP I love to work with, worked with me on all the shots with the yellow background, but that's the only person I had to work with.

ligiting set up

TF: One shot in the beginning that grabbed me was the change of focus from the rocker to the marble. There's a lot narrow depth of field shifts thought the video, actually. Was that type of effect something you pulled off in camera or in post?

GF: That change of focus was done just with the camera. I was using an HVX200. For the stop motion, I just used the feature in which the camera takes only 2 frames each time you press the record button. In that rack focus I was rolling at 24fpsand with one hand out of the frame I was moving the rocking chair and with the other one I was turning the focus wheel. In general, I've always loved a narrow depth of field and using mainly close-ups to tell stories, and it's easier to get a narrow depth of field when using tight close ups.. so it just works for me.

TF:I'm guessing you took large images and did your pans and zooms in a program like After Effects. Can you talk a bit about your post production process?

GF: Almost all the pans and zooms were done with the camera rolling at 24fps. I tried to stay away from moving the puppets while doing camera moves...maybe for the next project.

TF: What type of plug-ins do you like to use? For the film effect for example, did you use a plugin on that or use some other method to achieve the old film look?

GF: For the film look I just put a vignette (to give it a more fairy tale look) and just added some grain to reduce the sharpness of the video.

MY: Nice particles too!It looks like you shot a portion of it over greenscreen too. You really have a lot of different techniques in a single video!

GF: The only 3 sequences with post effects where done with Motion; the first one is the ball going up and turning into a "planet". The second was the pink puppet going up to the planet (the puppet was on a green screen). The last one was a composite the grey puppet looking at the pink one who is in the planet. The star field is a Motion particle.


TF: I love Motion particles. They're so easy to use and so fast. I'll admit, I've only done stop motion work once and it was in college. It didn't turn out too well. I know stop motion can be tedious work... everything must be so precise. Do you have any methods that you use to time things out?

GF: It really didn't take me a lot of time to do the filming, maybe 20 to 25 hours. The post didn't take me that much either, just working on the three composites I described earlier. With stop motion you don't do much editing, because you don't do any coverage - its very time consuming; you just plan every scene and know in you head how it's going to cut. However, the pre-production part was the longest one but to me the most fun - it took me 5 months, working whenever I had a chance; this involved designing and sewing the puppets and building and painting the set. I guess I didn't want it to end because I love doing stuff with my hands.

TF: So, the dolls... did you put wires inside to get them to pose or did you have another technique?

Yes, I used wires. Now I'm actually learning how to make proper dolls with armatures. The dolls I made were very rudimentary, and I had a lot of problems making them stand right or to have controlled movements...it was a bit of a nightmare, but a learning experience.


TF: How long did it take to make the video? Did you learn any good tricks?

GF: Over a period of seven months, working on it whenever I felt like it. If I had worked on it not taking breaks, maybe 20 days for pre-pro, 6 days for filming and 5 days for post. I started working on it long before the song was recorded. For me, like everything I do, it is just a stepping stone: don't make the same mistakes and build on the good things. I learn by doing.

TF: The opening scene reminds me of something by The Brothers Quay? Do you have any influences in your work? That moving potato is very creepy! The "eyes" look like tentacles.

GF: Yes, among my favorites are the Quay Brothers, Henry Selick and the works of czech animators like Jirí Trnka and Jan Svankmajer. I included the potato cause I always like the "eyes" that grow on them. It gives the potato character...


TF: What do you do in the band?

GF: Keyboards, guitars...and the videos.

TF: When you do a video like this for your band, does everyone have input or do you just do what you envision?

GF: I enjoy doing videos for Modernage mainly because I love the music. I love Mario's lyrics because he has a great sense of storytelling. When I heard the track I felt that it would be good for stop motion. I do most of my creative thinking in bed, right before going to sleep, when my mind is in that weird half-sleep state. I developed the main story line in my head and on the next band rehearsal I showed Mario, the singer, the IDs I had done using this technique, to see his reaction and propose to do a stop motion video for "Creatures", since he was the one who wrote the song. After I showed him the IDs, before I proposed anything, he said: "that's exactly what we should do with Creatures!".. and with that I started working on it.

set up

TF: Have you done other videos as well?

Creatures" is the fourth video I've done for Modernage. I've also done one for a band called "Santos Renuentes" and another one for "Union Cell".

The other 3 Modernage videos are here if you wanna take a look:

TF: Thanks so much for the interview. Best of luck with your music and music video careers! I really love your video work. You have a lot of variety in your style and you're so talented in both fields.

GF: Thanks again!

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