Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Anatomy of a Music Video

Here is the Southern Kitties video.

I thought some of you might find it interesting how I made this demented, funny little music video so here are the basics:

1) I storyboarded the original idea to get a feel for what would be needed to put this thing together.

2) Worked on the drums, banjo, and bass using a MIDI program. Once this was transferred to .wav format I burned it on a CD for further use.

3) I added live vocals and background acoustic guitar while monitoring the CD. After putting all tracks on a program called Kristal I added a prerecorded jaw harp and balanced everything for volume. I also added a little reverb and compression to a couple of the tracks. I then mixed down and recorded the result as a single .wav file to be used in the video.

4) I went through hundreds of cat photos to get a few that would be suitable. The main cat photo was touched up with a paint program and made into a series of photos showing the mouth opening. I had to add a tongue and teeth cut out of another photo to make these look realistic. Otherwise all you would see would be a gaping black hole for a mouth!

5) Now comes the tedious part. Each photo was converted to transparent .GIF photos and stratigically placed over a background photo of a field. Each photo had to be lined up in the proper sequence and place to show the mouth opening and closing in time with the singing. I did this one or two frames at a time over thousands of frames. This step took about 2 long days of work.

6) I then added peripheral touches like the other cat heads and flying bird and placed them in proper locations on the screen, moving them in the desired direction using the Adobe Premiere motion feature.

7) One day of fine tuning and fixing goofs in the movements and it was done. I then converted the whole thing to mpg2 format using Premiere and put it on YouTube.

I hope this helps any aspiring videographic animators out there. The result was crude but serviceable and the cost was 0$ since I already had Adobe Premiere and the other programs were free. I used a program called Audacity to record the sound and Kristal for sound mixing.

All the best from the Cat Wrangler! Now I need to get back in the field and take some nature photos.

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