Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Here There Be Monsters...


We've the pleasure of being involved in a rather exciting project with the wonderful 'Singing Loins', a much loved folk band from the Medway Delta. Invited to produce an animated music video for the track 'Monsters Ashore' from their forthcoming album, we've been busy in the pre-production and production stages over the long summer months.

To achieve the challenge of an animated music video in a fairly short time frame (well, by animation standards anyway) we decided to use a mixture of production strategies that will lower the production overhead, whilst enabling a high quality result. First, inspired by the dynamic synthesis of the band itself as a vehicle for collaborative artwork, we drew together a team of talented animators, illustrators and film-makers to work on the project – an 'ani-band' where each member had responsibility for a particular sequence or task. This has been both exciting to coordinate and to watch unfold, as each individual brings his or her own unique interpretation of the brief – far beyond what I could have hoped to achieve if working alone.

Another strategy was to use a combination of more rapid animation techniques with video. This will not only result in a uniquely textured outcome, but also allows us to produce sequences faster than other animation forms, such as traditional cell animation or puppet stop-motion. Techniques we will use include timelapse, pixilation, digital cut-out and object stop-motion, in addition to video. We are also using just a pinch of higher overhead techniques, namely CGI and hand-drawn animation, to lend a greater depth of movement and visual drama.

The last strategy is inherent in the music video format itself, namely narrative abstraction. The surreal conventions of the music video, where dreamlike sequences are the norm, provide perfect production short-cuts such as repetition and montage. These techniques enable us to tell a story, but without the constraints of conventional narrative, like linearity and continuity. This also allows us far greater creative freedom and flexibility over the project throughout its production process.

So we've amassed a band of hearty shipmates, set course for the dark unknown... “And may God hunt us all if we do not hunt the beast to the death!”

The Crew
Katie Broderick: Talented young artist Katie is both an aspiring illustrator and theatrical make-up designer. Her talents will help guide the good ship Arethusa through troubled waters and give the monsters of the deep all the glamour of the catwalk.

Michaela L. Czech: Michaela is a motion designer and animator who specialises in CGI animation. Her skills will breathe life into an impossible and terrifying sea creature. To find out more about her work, visit her website: http://www.michaelaczech.com

Ellie Dickens: Ellie is a talented animator, writer and wildlife enthusiast. Her keen eye for detail will render the Arethusa in shipshape and Bristol fashion, ready for her long voyage away from land.  See more of her crazy and colourful animation at http://www.arseandelbow.com

Sylvia Lim: Sylvia is a visual effects designer, editor and film-maker. Her seafarer's knowledge acquired from countless voyages around the globe will be invaluable in stitching our story together. To find out more about her work, see her online portfolio: https://vimeo.com/sylvial

Patric Murphy: Patrick is an independent artist, musician and film-maker. With navigational skills that are second to none and an ability to juggle almost any situation, our crew need not fear dark waters on his watch.  Find out more here: http://www.jugglez.org

Dan Wylie: Dan is a photographer, film-maker and stilt walker. His filmic eye and steady hands will make for a colourful oceanic tale (as long as it's purple).   Find out more here: http://www.jugglez.org

Emma Windsor: Emma is a stop-motion animator and independent film-maker. Her penchant for the Gothic, the macabre and the downright odd will bring chilling notes to our warm sea chanty.

The Singing Loins: The Loins' work is steeped in the British & European traditions of Punk, Folk, Music Hall, Character, Chorus, Cabaret, Melodrama & Buffoonery. Their "beat to quarters" signals the beginning of our amazing aquatic adventure. To find out more about the Loins, visit their website: http://www.singingloins.co.uk   

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