I've been a huge fan ever since their first ep. Last father's day my amazing wife surprised me with a plane ticket to San Francisco to see their first show. For their first show the band had put out a call on facebook for music videos of their songs. The best videos would be played at the concert while they performed. That sounded like a good excuse for me to get back into after effects. I love the cover art for their album "Endless Summer" so I decided to see if I could make an entire video inspired by the image.
My goal was to make something abstract, retro and colorful. First I dug up a bunch of ballet footage, edited various clips to the song and did a bunch of time-warping. I comped in clips of the aurora borealis, smoke, storm clouds and earth from space. I timewarped and scaled the footage to make abstract compositions that complimented the motion of the dancers. I wanted each clip to almost work as a standalone image.
I HATE rotoscoping. There was SO MUCH rotoscoping in this. There are still shots that could use some rotoscoping but I just can't. For instance, there's a long sequence near the beginning that is comped over star-field footage. I spent days rotoscoping the entire sequence so the star-field wasn't visible through the dancers. Somehow the roto got messed up and I couldn't fix it. I couldn't bring myself to re-roto the entire thing. The same thing happened with the close-up of ballet shoes near the beginning. I wanted the shoes and their reflection to be blue while the background was pink. Unlike the starfield example I really wanted this look so I re-rotod the entire thing. Hundreds of frames.
I still get PTSD when I see this clip
As for the effects stack, it was an evolution of techniques I learned while making this:
A BRIEF OVERVIEW: I imported the footage into after effects. I turned the footage grayscale and pixelated it. I created a 3d camera and offset the pixels in the z axis based on their luminescence value. I made several duplicate layers and added my favorite free plugin VC color vibrance to make each layer a different color. I offset and rotoscoped the duplicate layers. I used scanline footage to drive opacity and distortion. Finally I added glow and flickering to give it a hologram feel. I had originally added a bunch of noise and static to give the video a VHS look. It was way too effective and made the video seem tacky so I removed it. That's what gave me the overall look of the piece. Outside of that there was a lot of shot specific stuff. This was my first completed long form video and it took me FOREVER. I've been working on this video in my spare time for the better part of a year.
As for the concert, I missed the deadline to turn in the video. I had a complete edit but I knew it needed polish so I didn't submit it. I guess I thought that the other people submitting videos were also in the effects industry. That was not the case. The video they ended up playing for this song at the concert was a simple mashup of Karate Kid and Turbo Kid footage. I was kicking myself. On the positive side, without a deadline I was able to casually give the video the polish I thought it needed. Even without my video, I had an amazing time at the show. Easily my favorite concert.
I hung out with the band afterwards and promised them that someday I'd finish this video. Great guys.
On a complete side note, this photo was what made me decide to get into shape. You'd think a picture with your favorite band would be social media-worthy, but I was so disappointed by how overweight I'd gotten in this photo that I never showed it to anyone. I've been hitting the gym and eating better ever since. It's been a tough journey and I've still got a long way to go, but I'm seeing progress. I'll write about it when I finally hit my target BMI.