The Deadly Deaths

Nick's blog

This is my blog that follows the making of our of music videos. The blog posts related to my first stop-motion animated music video for the song "See The World" start from this post.

4th Sep 2007

The Yellow Submarine....

I went down to the The Yellow Submarine last night at took a few test shots. Basically I just wanted to make sure that I'd be able to isolate each of the band members for certain shots, to check out their lighting rig and to film some live test shots before our gig on Friday.

Here are a few of the still shots:

The live shot went better than I had expected it to. I moved the camera tripod quite roughly as I was in a hurry, and expected the footage to be a lot shakier.

The footage was shot with a shutter speed of around 2 seconds to give the images the blurred movement.

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3rd Sep 2007

Tedious work....

I'm up to possibly the most boring part of the video - planning the timing and movement of each individual shot. It hasn't taken me quite as long as I had expected (but I still haven't finished it). I've found that I've been making mistakes and getting confused a lot during this part of the planning, so I'm going to have to go back and double check everything.

I only have seven more shots to plan - they all feature either strumming on the guitar or multiple band members. I hadn't figured out the timing for the chorus strumming, so I shot a quick test today.

It's a little out of time, but I'll fix up the timing before we shoot in the weekend. The shot is actually a loop - the second half of the shot is just the first half reversed - which will be handy as I'm trying to cut down the number of frames that I'm having to shoot in the weekend. I have no idea how long all this footage is going to take to shoot. I have a bad feeling that it's going to take a lot longer than I want it to.

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2nd Sep 2007

More planning....

I've almost finished storyboarding the video now. I only have the solo left to plan. Then every shot will need to be analysed for the timing of the movements within the shot (this could take a few more days).

I've also tested out a few more shots. This one is of the guitar line that I need to play during the intro and verse of the song. Luckily the guitar part is fairly simple, so it's easy to loop and edit together.

Thanks to Nathan for being my actor/model for the shot, and also for lending us cameras and lenses for the week. We've managed to borrow a Canon 350d to shoot with (which is the same model of camera I shot the See The World video with). I've also got a range of lenses to try out: a couple of 28-80mm, and a 14mm wide-angle lens (which is what I used for the test shot above). Awesome!

I'm going down to The Yellow Submarine tomorrow night to try them out. I need to figure out what angles I'm going to be shooting from so as to isolate the subject of the shot (otherwise it's going to be really hard to sync the guitar/drums/synth in every shot), and I also need to figure out what the lighting rig is capable of.

We're shooting the time-lapse footage at our gig on Friday (September the 7th), so if you want to come along and be in the video then come along after 9PM (I have no idea what time we're playing).

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30th Aug 2007

Synthesizer test shot....

I shot a quick test shot using the synthesizer today. Just to check that I could scrub the footage back and forth to imitate the bass-line. I also tested an easier method of warping the time of the video clip back and forth (which should save me a whole lot of time when it comes to editing the video).

I'm still a bit worried about how we're going to move the camera in a clean and easy manner for all the panning in each shot, but I'm sure we'll sort something out. Anyway, I had better get on to these storyboards before I run out of time....

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28th Aug 2007

More test shots....

Well, I've had a bit of trouble planning the video so far, as I'm not too sure what shots I'm going to be able to pull off. So today I spent a while testing some of the shots that I was most concerned with.

The first shot is one that I had trouble with for the first music video: stop-motion animating the vocals. For the first video I ended up slowing down the music 8 times and then shooting pictures from the camera as fast as I could. I won't be able to do that for this one (seeing as the camera moves between each shot). So I sat down and planned out the shot - measuring the frames between what I thought were important sounds in the vocal line.

It didn't turn out quite as well as I had planned, but I think with a little bit of practise I should be able to get it right. Anyway, it's not really important that the vocal part looks perfect, just as long as you can see what's going on. At least now I know that I can plan vocal shots into the video. I imagine in half the shots it'll be hidden behind a microphone, so won't be too important.

The second test shot was a time-lapse shot. I'm hoping to film a bunch of these at our next gig. They should look more interesting with the whole band playing and under stage lighting.

It turned out quite jittery, but I think that a decent camera, tripod and rig will sort this out a little. I'm probably going to end up spending hours and hours trying to line it all up by hand....

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27th Aug 2007

And again....

So, I've finally decided to start on the third music video. This time for the song Half-time Double-team (which can currently be downloaded from the music page).

I'm in a bit of a panic right now as I need to have everything planned by the 7th of September. I'm frantically trying to organise a crew, cameras, test shots, a venue, storyboards, etc.

Anyway, I only have one test shot to show right now. It shows the general idea behind the video.

I'm planning to shoot the video in a local venue called The Yellow Submarine. We'll set up our gear as though we're performing and use the stage lights for lighting.

Anyway, that's all for now. I'll try to post more when I have some spare time.

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17th Apr 2007

Video download available....

I've added two video download options to the video page. One large high resolution file, and one smaller medium resolution file for those who would like to download and view a higher quality version.

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15th Apr 2007

Bury It music video released!

I spent an hour this morning at the local polytechnic making sure that the video was all ready to be broadcast. Mainly just checking that the colours and audio levels were alright.

So, yeah, here it is. I hope you like it.

Also, I'd like to say a quick thanks to the few people who helped us out with the video: Adam Fulton, Cherie Sturkenboom, Paula Allen and Dawn Tuffery. Cheers!

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10th Apr 2007

So so close....

Well, those border problems took me a few days to fix over the weekend. Fixing them has definitely been the most tedious part of making this video so far.

I spent all of today redoing the animations for the final chorus in the song. A day or two ago I tried fixing up the previous animations, but they still didn't feel right and so I decided to start from scratch today. The problem was that the video felt like it reached its climax in the solo, whereas I intended to have it reach its climax in the final chorus. Anyway, I'm a lot happier with the new animations - they look so much better.

So, now I just have to fix up a few tiny problems with the video - I think there are only three clips left to tweak - and then I'm done. Well, almost done.

The last thing left to do before I release it is to check (and adjust) the colours on a decent set of monitors. I don't really know how to do this, so I have a friend who is going to help me out at the start of next week at the local polytechnic. So it should be finished some time next week. Yay!

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5th Apr 2007

First problems....

So, today I had my first problems with the video. It is something I'd noticed a few days ago, but didn't realise quite how annoying a problem it was going to be. Today I rendered some of the video out at broadcast quality and checked it out on our television. Unfortunately the results weren't quite what I was expecting. Apparently the way that I was resizing my images to 32 x 18 pixels ended up leaving a dark border around the images that shows up quite well on my television.

You should be able to see the outline in this still taken from the video (you may have to look at the screen on an angle or adjust your brightness/contrast if you can't see it). This is going to be really time consuming to fix, as this part of the processing seems to have taken the longest (and there are around 80 shots to process).

Anyway, enough about that. On a more positive note, I have now finished most of the video. I have all of the shots animated and edited together. I've also fixed up half of the animations that I'm not happy with. I think I only have the animations in the last chorus to fix and then that side of it is done. So the video shouldn't be too far away now.

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