Tuesday, 23 May 2006

Emmerhoff & The Melancholy Babies - Black Mark

I'm working on putting all my work on Google Video. It's great fun digging up some of the old stuff from my archives, so I thought I'd share a bit. To start it off, my very first music video production.

The band, Emmerhoff & The Melancholy Babies, is based in Bergen, Norway, and released an album last year called "Electric Reverie". I was hired by the production company Filmfalken to do the video for their single "Black Mark". Here goes:

We are experimenting a bit with the visuals here, but the story is not too complicated. When we first heard the song, Erling Falch (the producer) and I both thought it had sort of a sci-fi feel to it. Erling had the concept of making a video where we put the faces of the bandmembers on the bodies of the actors, and managed to get his hands on some old american sci-fi films.

I took three or four of the films, and edited them together to a 3 minute long continous story. The band has a quite grown up audience, so we did a "slow" edit, based on a few good scenes from each film, giving each image time to sink in.

There's a lot of good humour in these old movies with their primitive effects, and I really like the visual style. You can see how they've used footage of tidal waves, blended onto another picture to recemble fog-like smoke. Or how they use an aquarium in front of the camera to simulate underwater footage. And it works very well, even though it's primitive. There are also some hilarious plots.

The rest of the video was more or less done in After Effects. We shot some really simple headshots of each bandmember from 8 different angles where they sing through the entire song. Afterwards it was just a matter of keying out the faces in After Effects, making them follow the original faces using motion tracking, and finally making them look like the original footage. Mostly we just used basic effects like different types of color correction, levels, blurs and so on. But we finished it off with DigiEffects, adding different types of filmdamage and recreating irregularities found in the original film footage.

The final result was an interesting music video that somehow stands out from the crowd. This was done on an extremely low budget (and only in 7 days), and I think we managed to get good value for our money.

And if you're wondering about the legal issues here, using copyrighted material, we consulted a lawyer on the issue. By only using short snippets of each film (below a certain percent of the entire film), and manipulating each image to such extents, we found ourselves within the quotation right. It's the same principle Google uses to publish entire books online in their Google Book Search, by only allowing the user to access small portions of it.

Feel free to leave a comment on what you think about the video, I'd love some feedback, even though it's not "fresh" work.

Check out my website to download an iPod video version of the video.

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