Thursday, 15 December 2011

Poster Design and Shoot

The design for the poster is based on a still from the video, in which the man observes the girl he admires coming out of the cinema with yet another boyfriend. The bus behind him is advertising an online dating site to emphasise that he could/should try finding someone else, but he stares on at the girl he really admires. In the background is the cafe which will appear as a key location later in the video, when the man finally gets to talk to the woman.
I have shot the pictures above in both portrait and landscape formats to expirement with both and visualise what they will look like, even though I will be using portrait for the final poster.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Second MV shoot

The second shoot for my music video, where I reshot some of the clips from the first time, was more successful. The problem with the first shoot was the lighting; here problems were still present but this shoot was more successful. I have been using more lights on the set as opposed to one light, so I have had more control with the lighting in general.

With this clip the lighting was better than the first attempt but still in need of improvement.

Ideally the lighting should come out more like this. When obtaining audience feedback this was the shot that got a "wow!" from my class so this does show the importance and the impact of the lighting.

Music Video Preview

Last week I completed a sample of my music video to show what the final production could look like. The video as shown here was edited using clips which were ready to show at the time, but just for this preview I used a different software because I was working from a computer at home (where the clips had been exported to), so the render came out in a much lower quality than what the final production will look like.

Unfortunately, as I've said, the video wasn't fully rendered. The raw footage, as an example, should look more like this:

Feedback so far (from the rest of the class) was extremely positive; the animation style used in the video proved to be a big success. The only criticism I got for the entire MV preview was that the narrative was quite hard to follow because the video was moving along very quickly, at least one other in my class felt more time was needed for everything to be taken in.

I may rethink the pace of the video as it is necessary that these clips are shown, to emphasise the character's emotions, although the video is currently moving along faster than the song which has a slower pace.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

First Shoot in Colour

Recently I completed my first shoot for my music video using colours. All the animation was done using the 'I Can Animate' App for the iPod touch, which I used to make a short clip of animation for amusement and I was very surprised with how well the quality came out. The App does have an option to render each clip in 720p as I have been doing for this project.

The above clip of animation was probably the most successful from the clips I was able to film. However, for all my other clips, it quickly became apparent on playing them back in a larger and better quality, that a reshoot is now necessary due to poor lighting.

For the above clip: Here I tried to change the lighting on set for when the rain clouds come in, but when reshooting I will do this in post instead.

The above clip is the first of the clips I shot. The lighting to the left of the screen is poor because my shadow got in the way.

In the case of the last clip, the lighting was good to begin with but changed half way through so it is a matter of keeping the lighting constant. Here I have been using one lamp to control the lighting but for the reshoot, I intend on shooting with two lamps resulting in light coming from both directions.

I also think I'll need to check each individual frame more closely before taking a frame, position myself well as an animator so my shadow is not in the way, and review each shot on the computer instantly once the footage is ready. The problem with the lighting has only come about now that I have been able to review each shot in more detail. I intend on keeping the 720p quality the same but the lighting will clearly have to be reconsidered.

Friday, 11 November 2011

The Distribution Company

I have looked at various record labels which could potentially distribute the planned Digipak release of my music video, and I have now chosen Parlophone to handle the distribution of the video in the UK.

File:Parlophone logo.svg

Parlophone is a British company set up in 1923 branched off from the 1896 German company Parlophon. I chose this to handle the distribution of my music video because it is a major UK distributor of music videos (MVs) and songs in the jazz, pop and rock genres, as well as novelty and voice recordings. It distributes indie music, so this would be the category for the indie folk song of my MV. Parlophone was responsible for the UK release of Radiohead's 'Paranoid Android', which also had an animated MV similar to the style of video I am aiming to achieve. The company is also notable for working with names such as Adam Faith, Kylie Minogue, Pet Shop Boys, Bernard Cribbins, Peter Sellers, The Chemical Brothers, Coldplay, Jim Dale and being a major starting point for The Beatles.

The parent company of Parlophone is the London-based EMI, which joins Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment to form the 'Big Four' major record labels in the world.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Choosing the Final Look of my Music Video

Following on from my latest post, I asked around my class and close friends and family for the most popular form of animation which I would use for my music video. I decided to ask to find out what people would most like to see, giving people the following choices:
  • Cutout animation using black and white paper cutouts - the cutouts would be easy as I would just be copying out the designs from my storyboards again, and the black and white would add to the main character's feeling of isolation, a key theme in the song. This method would be effective and take up a decent amount of time.
  • Cutout animation in colour - this was a recent idea which came about after seeing the film opening to 'Juno' which was forwarded to me. It would match my vision very well because there are areas of block colour which tie in well with my art style, and the colours would add more interest and be better to look at as an animation. The movements are also very similar to how my final product would probably look, so this method would look the most effective but probably be the most time consuming.
  • Traditional 2D computer animation - using images created in Gimp or Photoshop. This would be the easiest method to work with, given that I would create all my images on the computer including each individual frame of animation, so if any errors are made these would be easy to correct, whereas with other methods the whole shot would need to be filmed again.
After asking my class, family and friends, it was decided to go for the second option as had been planned all along. I would agree this is a good decision because it would be best for my music video - computer animation and stop-motion are formats I am experienced with, so whilst cutout animations would follow similar principles, it is something I have not done before and therefore a challenge to look forward to. It also gives the video itself a unique feel and much more independent and artistic tones, whilst suiting the song very well.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Storyboards - #2

I recently did this design using very basic MS Paint to visualise how the music video could look if done using colour or part-colour. As well as this, I have been looking at the possibility of animating the music video digitally, using cutout animation on the computer as per the entire (except for its pilot) South Park series.

Shooting my music video in this way would reduce the problem of lighting, which is something I have had to control with traditional paper cutout animation because the shots I have done were filmed at different times during the day. It may also speed up the production process because I have had experience on this kind of animation before and I am familiar with the process.

However, I am enthusiastic about the idea of trying a new challenge using traditional drawings, so I am strongly leaning towards using paper cutout animation for the final production.

Initial Audience Feedback - #1

I have recently received audience feedback for the early development stages of my music video, using other members of my media studies class, close friends and family as critics. Every time the first comment has been the recognition of the "Tim Burtonesque" style which I have chosen to adapt, which thankfully is what I have been aiming for, as made clear with the shapes and formations of the buildings. After seeing the film opening to 'Juno' I have decided to adapt similar colour schemes to the drawings, which are currently black and white but are being amended as I have mentioned here.

Feedback has been positive and sparked interest from classmates, family and friends for being unique as an animated production. My classmates have even wanted to help through sending me potentially similar material to what I want my final production to be like:

I hope to obtain further feedback once more material is ready to show, but at present this shows that the music video I want to make is going in the right direction.

First Shoot and the Use of Colour

During half term I decided to film some shots directly from the storyboards I had created previously. At first it was hoped I would be able to use these in my final production, using a black and white look to show the lonliness the central character is feeling.

However, it was decided this week to shoot these shots again, after watching the opening title sequence to the film 'Juno'.

This helped me to find out how I could incorporate colour into my production. I intend on reshooting over the upcoming weekend to compare the two different looks and make a decision from there, although I feel colour will add greater interest to the music video. It would also tie in better with the song and its lyrics, and comparing this with the look of the titles for 'Juno', I think the feel of the song and the look of the music video will be perfectly combined.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


Recently I have started thinking about how the music video I am producing will be distributed to its specific target audience. For the distribution of my music video, I will be using a digipak for the packaging of the music video's release to home entertainment formats, most likely a VCD or a DVD. This would allow consumers of the digipak to receive additional information about the music video, because a digipak has a gatefold which opens up to reveal (usually) 4 or 6 sides to the case. The image below shows an example of a digipak:

This would be useful if I wanted the MV to be available in more than one format (CD, VCD, DVD, BD etc), give information about the content such as the track listings, and I may even include a write-up on the making of the project, given it is unique to other similar works for its animation style. This could include images from the final production as seen on the VCD/DVD, which would be included on the front and back covers, and also photography from the making of the music video on the inside cover/s.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Storyboards - #1

Due to a faulty internet connection at home I have not been able to update my blog as much as I'd like to, but since my last post I have been working on storyboards and artwork for the music video.

These images, apart from one, were all hand-drawn. The last one was drawn on my iPod whilst I had a new idea in my mind and no paper in reach. The drawings all received interest from the rest of the class, occassionally coming over to see what I had done.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Research into Institutions and Audiences

I did research into other music videos prior to creating my own, and I feel that due to the distinguised look of my music video thus far I feel my production will challenge the conventions of typical music videos, because music videos are commonly performance-based (and form the majority of the market for music videos) whereas mine will be narrative-based.

I looked at many animated music videos for research, including:


I feel my decision to create my music video using animation will be a strong one because even though animated music videos are rare, there is a profitable market for them, as evident from these music videos I have listed. They have a distinguised style from other music videos which makes them unique, so I expect the audience for my video will consist of many different people. This audience will mainly be fans of the band or fans of rock or independent songs, but will also include animation fans and viewers who enjoy videos with a creative aspect.

'Keane - Bedshaped' is a music video which I feel will be hugely influencial for my own music video:

There are many set conventions for music videos typically, i.e. focus on the artist of the song and many close-up shots of his/her face. Whilst even 'Keane - Bedshaped' shows the band through silhouettes, I plan to challenge the conventions of other MVs by having my own driven purely by the narrative. I feel this will be effective because it will give my video a creative aspect which audiences can enjoy, and I feel and hope that audiences will be able to appreciate something unique.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Cutout Animation

I've decided to shoot my music video using a technique known as cutout animation, which has been most famously used in 'South Park', 'Charlie and Lola', segments of 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' and later the 'Monty Python' feature films. The segments from Monty Python's films and shows were animated by Terry Gilliam, who explains in this video about the techniques he used:

I have chosen to use this form of animation because it is relatively simple to achieve, whilst (when done properly) it looks very effective. I already have the facilities needed such as lighting, stages and greenscreen effects which I have used in other animations. This technique would also be much less time consuming - the characters can look exactly as I want them to, and no time will be spent searching for live actors or filming locations.

This would be my second time working with cutout animation, however, I am very familiar with stop-motion photography and can make it work in a similar way.

Below is an example of my stop-motion work from the summer of 2008 (probably a bit primitive compared to what I can do now!!):

I'm also keen at experimenting with animation so I am looking forward to trying this new method.

The Design and Look of my MV - #1

In order to decide how my music video would look, I watched other examples of animated music videos to see if any would match (and even influence) my vision.

The above video, 'Keane - Bedshaped', I thought was a very good example of how my animated music video could look. The style of the buildings and housing is something that may influence the design of the buildings and housing in my own work, as I've always known I wanted imagery in the video of the woman in silhouette form.

'Arcade Fire - Power Out' also shows a similar image of how the buildings and housing could look in my MV. It also shows a look and feel that I also feel is very close to how I would like the animation in my MV to look. I wanted the animation in my work to be on a borderline so it has a 'cartoony' look and feel about it, yet it would also be realistic enough to be believable and work well with the song. Even though I may want to use brighter colours (such as a yellow background through a house window, as I mentioned in a previous post), I feel these videos are very close to how I want my final product to look.

Initial Ideas - #3

Recently I was on a train to visit a friend in London, and I did a rough sketch of something I noticed which gave me inspiration for the female character talked about in the song.

I mentioned previously I wanted the female character to be shown only in silhouette form, to cover her identity and give a greater effect to the lyrics of the song. This sketch (very crudely done on a moving train!) was drawn on my iPod touch using the Whiteboard App, so in that instant I found a new way of putting ideas to paper whilst on the move.

The sketch shows what I really did see - a man talking to a woman across a table, with the woman's face being hidden because of the direction I was looking from. This meant only the woman's arms and legs were shown, which I decided could be another technique for my music video of not showing the female character's face.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Initial Ideas - #2

Today I designed some inital sketches to help me visualise what I wanted for my music video.

The picture above shows my idea that the woman being referred to in the song could be a silhouette throughout the entire video, which would connote the idea of the man (the singer) watching her from outside and also possibly keeping the woman's identity a mystery. The silhouette of the woman would contrast against a colour (e.g. yellow) of the walls inside her home.

This idea could be compared to (and may now take inspiration from) the way this is done throughout the short film 'Humdrum' (Aardman).

This sketch demonstrates how I could film my music video using cel/cutout animation.

However, I would let the background lie flat on a table rather than stand up to avoid sudden movements.

These images also demonstrate ideas I had for shots in the music video. In the first one, the birds in the sky are pulling the blue sky away and bringing in rain clouds / nighttime. In the second, a box surrounds the edges of the frame and there are traditional "cartoony" houses and a crescent moon.

Initial Ideas - #1

I have a love of animation and I could see this song working perfectly in this medium. Yesterday and today I had been expirementing with ideas of the look I wanted, before seeing how this could be done.

My vision of the style for the music video refers to opening and closing title sequences, specifically from the films 'Bolt' (Disney) and 'Catch Me if You Can' (DreamWorks).

For my music video I decided I wanted to adapt the style of animation used in these examples - not to be confused with the actual content of the videos themselves, or the project would effectively be a short film. This definitely seemed like the style I wanted to use - the only two problems would be how to achieve the look, and also time management.

Both of these two title sequences (one end credits and one opening credits) use a form of traditional (2D) animation which was shot digitally on the computer. I have had experience with this in my own work outside of school before. However, I decided not to go for this option because it would be too time consuming, and even then it may not have had the professionalism needed, as previously I have used readily available software such as MS Paint, Flash and (very briefly) Photoshop.

Instead, I looked at more traditional methods of conveying the same effect, going back to simple cel animation and cutouts, as displayed in the diagram above. I aim to shoot a very simple test clip this weekend to see if this would work.

My Song

This is the song I have chosen for my music video project. As I said in my previous post, I chose this almost instantly for its potential as an animation. I also liked the idea that the music video could have a strong narrative as a good storyline is present, which I enjoy doing in the short films I already do and was looking forward to trying out in a different format from a short film, a music video.

Track 20 (mp3)

In the sky the birds are pulling rain,
In your life a curse has got a name,
Makes you lie awake all through the night
That's why.
She's intoxicated by herself,
Everyday she's seen with someone else,
And every night she kisses someone new
Never you.
You're waiting in the shadows for a chance,
'Cause you believe at heart, that if you can,
Show to her what love is all about,
She'll change.
She'll talk to you with no one else around,
But only if you're able to entertain her,
The moment conversation stops she's gone,

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


Hello and welcome! I'm Christopher and I'm studying Media Studies at Ringwood School to A2 Level. I will be creating a music video for my enhanced portfolio this year, where I have now started research for the music video I want to create.

I chose the track I wanted to use first and here it is:

Track 20 (mp3)

I made my decision to use this track almost instantly after hearing it, then hearing it again a few more times. I feel confident this track will work well for my music video, as it has a feel I could easily see working well in animation, an art form I am particularly enthusiastic about. However I am aware that time management may be an issue, so with this knowledge in mind I am looking to plan ahead very carefully about how such a look can be achieved. I'll be posting regular updates on the progress of my research.