Wednesday
Jul042012

Fireworks!


A Happy Fourth of July break from Velcro, ladies and germs... Enjoy!

This piece actually started as an I-Swear-This-Will-Be-A-One-Night-Art-Project art project having nothing to do with the fourth. I was just in love with this fabric and wanted to chop it up and get my meta on. In the end the video took about three weeks.

My friend Sam once told me: "Don't get obsessed with process. Too many artists get obsessed with their process." Too late, Sam.

There is a message at the end of the video and I hope it moves you to some small action. I originally planned to deliver that message as a voice-over in the piece, have no music, and make it a sort of earnest, slightly quizzical meditation. Instead I wimped out, pulled in the faux-melodramatic Wagner, and stayed in my comfort zone. None-the-less, thank you to anyone out there who sacrifices their time and more to defend this amazing set-up in which I do my life: America.

Monday
Jun112012

Hot (Generative) Velcro Action

After wrapping on the meticulous velcro tracing sequence described in my previous post, I decided to set the Freckle crew to work on a project of a completely different nature. As an experiment in rule-based art I created a series of "pattern cards", each of which provided instructions for a fairly simple dot sequence to be executed on the board over an 8 frame interval. This interval was selected so that when set to music in 4/4 time, each card would represent a "part" in visual 1/8th notes. Here are some examples of the cards:

Over a month of wednesday and friday nights, the crew used these cards to create 32 measures (256 frames) of Hot Velcro Action. To add some additional structure to the piece, we switched color pallets every 8 bars. We started with pastels and muted tones, moved to highly saturated primary colors, went back to muted tones, and finished with black/white and graphical print dots.

But wait a second, aren't you supposed to be working on a music video? The overarching purpose here was to make some cool abstract footage as background for various green screen composites in the outro of "Freckle", which is what you hear in the video above.

In the end I love the visuals created by this process, though the patterns didn't get pulled out by the rhythm of the music quite as much as I had hoped. Thanks again to my amazing crew -- it's back to velcro rotoscoping on wednesday...

p.s. Thanks to John Hight for the great shot of hands at the board.

Thursday
May242012

Freckle Crew In Effect!


Thank you, Freckle crew! Joining the Scary Cow film-makers collective is one of the best decisions I ever made. Working alone in my cave at the dot board is a thing of the past. With the help of my new team of velcro creationizers, we shot a 127 frame sequence in five glorious nights (alone I would have sweated out 6-8 frames a shoot). In this sequence, which starts at 0:04 in the video above, dots swirl on to Brandon and Amber spinning in the meadow.

About four of us worked at the board at a time, one person on Brandon's blue shirt, one on Amber's dress and arms, one on Amber's hair and face, and one on Brandon's head. We created the frames in reverse because it's easier to make the dots swirl off of the figures then it would have been to move the dots from the border into fully formed images. Dhonga Kim on the crew was put to work painting skin tone dots (see the photos below) with Gary Goldsborough documenting the process.

Extra special thanks to Nancy Campbell for ducking below the camera and frantically spinning the turn-table on which Brandon and Amber are spinning in the original live action footage.

Here some pics from the shoot...

Thursday
Apr122012

Rabbit Hole


Just made this little demo vid to test out a few ideas for the finale of Freckle, and also to pump up my new crew for our first production meeting friday. Crew?! That's right, thanks to the Scary Cow film-makers collective, I now have a minion of potential velcro co-creationizers!

"Rabbit Hole" was a test-edit for four shoots:

  1. Piles O' Dots . I am starting to experiment with going off the grid, as it were. Just building mounds of dots. In the vid I just show a big green pile. Actually I shot a lot more, with multiple colors, but it didn't really look as killer as I had hoped. I think in the next iteration the key will be to light and shoot the pile from an angle to give it some dimension.

  2. Dot suit hoe-down . We shot this a long time ago and I have been so excited to see how it would turn out. The concept is simple: purple screen background, green suits, and pink dots, allowing me to pull each element as a mask by color ("chroma-keying") . In reality it was actually a bit of nightmare. I'd say it took me 25 hours of finger-numbing roto-work to pull good masks for that 6 seconds of footage. On the plus side, I got through almost a third of Doris Kearns Goodwins A Team of Rivals on audiobook. In the end, though, I think it completely worked, and I will totally use this footage in "Freckle."

  3. Baby's First Year. Okay here's the story: I got really high in my apartment one day and it suddenly dawned on me: why isn't my whole studio covered wall to wall in dots? This led to: even better, I could get circular picture frames of different sizes, create an imaginary grid across all my studio walls, and do some crazy stop motion moving the the frames like big dots around the walls. And then of course: Omigod I'll print out stills from the video, put them in the frames, and do some crazy meta stop-mo for the end of the video. So I jumped on my bike, trekked to every thrift store within a five mile radius of my house and bought a huge mess of picture frames. But the idea cracked in half when at the Goodwill on 23rd and International I found the "Baby's First Year" frame, with 12 little oval insets for each month of your sweet cherub's little life. And then...

  4. Prez ... it cracked in half again the next day when after work I drove to Urban Ore and hit another insane find: A large coin-collecting book in which to place each of your 43 five dollar US President collectible coins (look closely at the dots in Amber's book, and you will see the names of each of our founding fathers...). The diameter of the little holes for the coins: 1.5", exactly the size of my dots. Some times the universe just hands you a gleaming heap of tater tots and you just have to smile and chow down.

Thursday
Mar012012

Freckle Teaser!

Welcome to the bleeding edge of "Freckle", the music video I am making for friend and crooner extraordinaire Brandon Patton.

Brandon got a showcase at the SXSW Festival ! The festival gives him a slot for a video on their web-site and in various promotional shenanigans so I had to have a teaser prepared STAT!! Always good to have a fire lit under your toesies.

This video represents about a year's work of worth. I have thrown everything and the kitchen sink at it -- velcro stop motion, beads, wax, green screen velcro suits, music-video-y footage of attractive people dancing against scenic backdrops, you name it.

At the end of this teaser, you will find a special surprise: about of minute of "making of" footage that fills the space remaining to be completed. I'm not sure what to think about the fact that this minute, which I put together in two days, might be as or more entertaining than the 2:30 year-long labor of love that precedes it.

Here it is. Very much a work in progress... please let me know what you think!