I was asked to do a window up for christmas in my local- Rodden’s Bar, Buncrana. In my usual not liking christmas or religious stuff in general I took a different slant. Happy Winter Solstice one and all!
Sitting waiting on 3ds Max to render some animation and watching telly so decided to do some character design challenges. Here’s the outcomes.
So I’m doing inktober this year again. I decided to do animation each day for it but as you can see from the video below I kind of gave up on around the 5th day and went back to static image mostly. I just couldn’t find the time. I’ve been scraping time where i can to get something done each day…. lunch breaks, during class… watching telly…. in the pub even. Anyway managed to stay up to date so far despite of mad workloads.
So myself and a friend of mine, we will call him Emmet, were approached by a local band, Don’t Fear the Natives and asked to create a music video for them recently. (ish) We had a think about it, looked at the old google calendar and said “sure why not?”. In fairness the caveat was that we could do it whenever we were free from daily toils to work on it and as long as it didn’t interfere with our drinking practices. The band, no Claire Mc Daid, agreed cause they think we’re great and we drink along with them too.
So we started into it with a meeting, in the local pub, over a beer of course. Emmet, Claire and I would be the team. We had a listen to the song, read the lyrics and got an idea of what the song was about – in the eyes of the band like. So we came up with 3 or 4 ideas on the spot and argued our cases as to what would work, why I was right and Emmet was wrong, what was possible and tried to simplify it so we could do it with zero budget with our own kit. We decided on an idea and sketched out the initial ideas for a storyboard which ended up looking like this mess:
It actually was shitty scribbling really but worked pretty much spot on in the end. We discussed each of the frames and got more and more vocal and loud for some reason (booze?)…. but it worked pretty good from the get go.
So as I was saying we did what we could when we could and I had a free evening couple of days later. I redid the storyboard scribbles into something a little clearer to see. Then I got some time to do a VERY quick animatic of the song. Normally you’d animate the main camera movements and the main action would be referenced but I didn’t have the time to mess about so we just moved forward a little more blindly than I’d have liked. So the scribbles turned into sketches like this:
The animatic went some way to giving us an idea of timing and composition of each of the frames which of course when it came to shooting was completely ignored for the best part. We kinda, sortta stuck to the timings in alot of ways though. Here’s the animatic:
So we were looking at night shots, outside shots, inside shots and all the rest in between…. all that with double the locations. Did I say earlier that we simplified things? We THOUGHT we simplified things as we were minimising special effects and stuff but the shots then just became themselves the complication. AND TIME! GAH! Double every shot. Anyway we had gone this far and I had sent this out to the team (Emmet and Claire). It was time for another meeting I thought so I printed a set of storyboards for everyone so we could add our thoughts to them. See Below:
As you can see mine never really got any notes on em but some did…. i think. Anyway few more drinks ensued and we started thinking who we were going to get to act in the thing and we were stumped to be quite honest. Suggestions were made and rejected and made and rejected. We even emailed one or two people who we thought might work and they were impossible to get nailed to down to any kid of schedule. In fairness we needed people who would be willing to work around our working and drinking schedule. We hit the wall for a while until thinking why not get people who work and that drink with us?!?!? Then we’d all be hanging out anyway and have similar schedules. GENIUS! Enter John McLaughlin and Tansy Cowley into the frey. From here on in the planning sessions and eventually the shoots, got proper boozy!
Anyway next up was locations and props. No one had watches anymore for example. Who have thought that would be a big deal? So we were trying to think of the best bathrooms, best offices to use but you know… with the fact that we were unsure of when we’d get freed up we had to again go with people we knew and would be able to accommodate at the drop of a hat. Namely ourselves really coupled with Matty and Sarah’s house and of course Rodden’s Bar. Oh and we did a shoot in UU Magee when no one was around. There was documentation of this but I’ve lost it or we ignored or something but I can’t find any of it at any rate.
So to the shoots. We’d meet up the night or a few nights before in the pub and talk through the scenes with Tansy and John and then shoot shortly afterwards. Claire provided transport in a rather cool VW Camper which was fun and we carried our respectives bag of cans to the shoots. These were actually great fun. Rodden’s opened at 10am one morning to allow us shoot and kept the bar semi closed until around 3. Great days craic had by all i reckon. In fact they did that 2 times, once for the band and once for the girl’s session scenes. Matty’s was another silly one as we decided to just actually have a house party instead of pretending we were having one. I wish I had more footage of the shoots I’m sure I’ll find some and add to this section at some stage. These are what I could find which are pretty boring really!
Of course we had a bit of video craic here too and I decided to test out my Slow Mo Cam with Jenny and Claire doing the typical 70s hair swish shot:
We decided to get all John’s stuff done first so we could have reference for Tansy to work from when shooting her. This of course meant making sure John kept all his clothes etc intact for different scenes and that he didn’t cut his hair which I think was the only thing he wanted to do from day 1! Anyway we managed to persuade him not to and it went without a hiccup really, though we probably took a month to take the scenes as I was so busy at the time. Tansy got a sty in her eye in the middle of her shoot which meant her scenes took even longer to complete as she was out of action for like 3 weeks. As the scenes were supposed to running on the same day this too caused a few problems. For one when John is walking along the street it is pissing down; In Tansy’s a month and a half later it was dry. So basically i hung out the back window of the car and sprayed water over the car from a fairy liquid bottle. It worked okay i think…. did you notice?
Anyway eventually we had our footage and was time to edit.
There was some bits and bobs that worked quite well in the editting side of things. We greenscreened the band into place in the girls party scene which was cool cause we got to go drinking 2 times instead of one! So we shot the girls one day and the band the next (well probably a couple of weeks) and mixed them together in post. The idea is you could see the girls night going at ultra fast speed and the band would be playing normal. You can see a breakdown here:
Another little trick was the phone scene. We had to add the screens and overlays for the text message in the middle of it. I can notice a wobble but most people can’t. I’m picky me.
The edits were a fine affair, breakfast wine for me, bottles of some foreign muck for Emmet in and attic room on a couple of Friday afternoons we had free. We had a quick edit done fairly sharpish really. I had already put together a quick run through of John’s side as had Emmet. Emmet’s was better so we stuck mostly with his ideas…. mostly. That meant timing Tansy’s side to it was the task really. I’d also already done the greenscreen stuff to see if it was going to work so we had that to work with too. We had a raw cut fairly quick in the end really. We had different ways of working and it caused a few headaches from time to time.We got there in the end and maybe we taught each other a thing or two along the way.
So eventually after much messing and twoing and frowing with colour correction and grading we eventually decided on a look and feel. Threw in a few vignettes here and there and this was the final result:
After we’d finished there had to be some kind of a launch party and also a CD to get finalised too. So back I came to the rescue (as one of the least accomplished graphic designers I know) with and album cover for them that kind of tied in with the video (I thought anyway). Here’s the cd cover. It was launched last Saturday night (28th July)in Rodden’s Bar of course. Great night I have to say and we even played the video on a projector during a half time break. I was fairly beered up so I think it went pretty okay i think.
Look out for Don’t Fear the Natives on Spotify, Deezer and all your favs as well as to buy on iTunes. You can also get copies of the CD in local shops I’m sure. I’ll correct all this when I have time !
I could go into more detail but i think I’ve said enough now. I don’t have the time to ramble anymore. Maybe I’ll add to this as I see fit or as Emmet and Claire suggest. Maybe i won’t. Least it’s a diary reminder of the craic we had making it.
Industry and Pre Production