Nov 18, 2012


Animator Mike Cantor and songwriter Brandon Patton release "Freckle", a love song rendered in velcro.


Mike Cantor:, 510-495-4094

Project Website:


Oakland, CA - “Freckle” is a music video created by visual artist and computational biologist Mike Cantor, with music by Brandon Patton, bass player for MC Frontalot. The video employs an original stop-animation technique which Cantor calls “Velcro rotoscoping”: thousands of colorful velcro dots are arrayed like pixels onto a grid, photographed, and then superimposed one frame at a time onto live-action video.  The dots bring to life a love song about two objects in space, orbiting and colliding, and the scales that measure their attraction.

Full story:

What do you get when you cross 19,000 individually created Velcro dots with a love song to a scientist?  The answer is “Freckle” a collaboration between songwriter Brandon Patton and visual artist Mike Cantor.

For three years, Mike Cantor has been leading a double-life.  With his newly minted PhD in bioinformatics, he spends his days designing visualizations of DNA sequences.  On nights and weekends he tinkers with a visual technique he invented called “Velcro Rotoscoping” in which he uses velcro to attach colored circles of paper to a 36-dot by 27-dot grid. A projector throws video footage onto the grid, and Cantor recreates this footage frame by frame using his massive collection of different colored dots.  The dot animation is subsequently superimposed back onto the original source footage.

Cantor’s first film that employed this technique, “Hot Velcro Action” played in over a dozen festivals internationally and won “Best Experimental Film” and “Best Visual Effects” at the Los Angeles New Wave Film Festival.

Brandon Patton, bassist for MC Frontalot, penned “Freckle” as a marriage proposal to his girlfriend, a cell biologist who uses fluorescence microscopy to pinpoint tiny objects inside of cells. Like the minute particles she observes, the two of them came together by random collision: Brandon met her on an airplane, was too shy to ask for her phone number, and wondered if he’d ever see her again... until she was seated next to him on the return flight! Inspired, Patton wrote a proto-scientific love song about two points in space, subject to powerful forces of attraction and chance down to the smallest molecular level.


When Mike Cantor heard Freckle he knew it was the perfect story to render in velcro dots.  With a team of dedicated volunteer “velcro pushers”, creating 8-12 frames a shoot, it took almost two years to produce the 5900 still images that make up the video.  The result is a spellbinding, curious feast for the senses.  


For more information about Brandon Patton:

For more information about Mike Cantor: