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.

22nd Sep 2007


I've spent the last few days playing around with filtering the footage. Our designer Heath Lewis has created a filter for me to use on the frames from the video. It's quite processor intensive though, so has taken me a long time just to process the footage from the end of the video (the time-lapse footage).

I'm applying this to the footage before the editing stage, and hope to also get all the levels of the clips roughly matching at the same time. The edit is almost finished now, and I just have a few timing issues to tighten up.

Anyway, I thought I'd just post two images to show them pre and post filtering.

I may try processing the frames on a few of computers at the same time so that I'm not waiting here for days for everything to render.

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17th Sep 2007


Today I started work on producing a rough edit of the time-lapse footage that we took at the end of the shoot. The last minute of the video will be in this style. I didn't really plan the shots for this portion of the video, and have been feeling a little stressed because of this (I think). I managed to use all of the time-lapse footage that we shot on Sunday night in the rough edit, so I'm quite lucky that I had enough to fill it.

Here is a small portion from the edit.

I think I'll leave the time-lapse edit for a day or two and work on something else so that I can step back from it for a while. So I guess it's back to fixing up shots from the first three quarters of the video.

I also spent a little while today fixing up three frames from the final shot of the video. The final shot is around 16 seconds (approximately 400 frames), and there were three frames in the middle that were shot quite off from the frames surrounding them (and so they had a part of the image on the right missing once they were stabilised - so I had to add portions of previous frames to the images). I don't really want to show images of what I did to them, because I don't think I did that great of a job (and you wouldn't really notice the problem when you were watching it unless you knew it was there).

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15th Sep 2007

Half-way Double-scream....

So, I've lined up all of the planned footage now, exported it (that took most of yesterday), and completed the rough edit. Some of the shots still need a little bit of tweaking, and I'm not that happy with how the start of the video is looking right now. I'm sure I'll be able to figure out something though.

I'm struggling to think of anything interesting to write. Lining up thousands of images and waiting for them to export hasn't been the most interesting of jobs so far....

Anyway, here's a short few shots from the middle of the video. They're still fairly rough, and haven't been colour corrected or anything like that (they're also possibly slightly out of time).

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12th Sep 2007

Weekend of shooting....

The weekend of filming went really well. We filmed for around 9 hours on Saturday, and then 13 hours on Sunday. There were a few shots that took longer than they should have (mainly due to tiredness on the second day), but I think that after the first few shots we slowly figured out our system of shooting.

We had a fairly small crew down at the shoot. Adam Fulton joined us and helped with lighting, setting up the camera and shooting the footage. Heath Lewis joined us for the Saturday (and a few hours on Sunday) to help set up the camera and lighting, and to make Bevan laugh during shooting when he wasn't supposed to be. And Paula Allen joined us for Sunday afternoon and helped out lining up and taking a bunch of the shots.

Other than a few shots that were out of focus, we didn't really have to re-shoot a lot of footage (which I was a little surprised at). The footage has come out really well, and I've spent the last few days processing and stabilising it. This basically involves picking a point in middle the scene and lining up all the following images with that point. Bevan constructed a rig for panning that we used for the close up shots which has made them really easy to line up. The other shots have been a bit more difficult however.

I've decided to scale the images down to 1280 x 720 (HD 720p) while I'm processing them, and will edit them at the same resolution. It means that processing the images is taking quite a bit of time on my computer though (the original raw footage is at 3456 x 2304).

Last night I started lining up the footage with the audio. This involves a whole lot of scrubbing back and forth through the footage to make up the final clip. So far I've managed to process the intro and first verse. It's taking a lot less time than I thought it would, but I guess it's still going to take me a long time to finish it all.

Because of the way I'm editing together the clips involves the footage in reverse, I've had to make the movements we make during filming look a little robotic (I guess that's an okay word to call it). I kind of like the look and feel it gives to the video though.

Anyway, here's a quick clip from the first verse that I synced with the audio this morning.

I'll try to upload some more shots soon. My brain is a bit of a mess right now (tired and stressed), and I'm writing this while lining up and rendering the chorus, so I'll write some more later.

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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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