Sunday, 30 November 2008

Creating a video for "Toys" by Frost* (Part 5)

Eeek...December 1st
The chorus I've been working on is about 80% done which isn't bad for the time I've been able to spend on it. This will be the second chorus in the song just before John Mitchell's guitar solo. The first chorus should be a little easier to do now that I have a feel for the scale and timing of it. I've also worked out a few important things in the process of doing the chorus that will help the whole thing hang together a little better, hopefully.
I've been wrestling with the original Playstation2 "EyeToy" camera to get graphics and stuff into the game. It turns out that the PS3 version (the "Playstation Eye") has four times the resolution and a faster capture rate! Wish I had known this sooner...ho hum. Too late to redo stuff now....I think I'll ask Santa for it though.
Anyway, time to grab some kip now, off to work in 5 hours or so.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Creating a video for "Toys" by Frost* (Part 4)

Friday night was a non-starter, zonked out on the sofa at about 10pm and opened one eye at just before 8am this morning. Curse this feeble human carcass....

Suitably recharged, I turned my attention to trying to get one of the choruses (chori?) worked out. It's only taken me all day but I have the first line and a half of it in place now. It's waaay too long though and the chopping of it will not be easy without losing some of the point of it....hmm, good job the innuendometer is away getting a good seeing to....

Anyway, only two more weekends between now and The Peel, my self-imposed deadline. I could do with one of my rare spurts of inspiration around about now.
*screws eyes tight shut, Hiro style....nothing happens.... ¦o(

Friday, 28 November 2008

Creating a video for "Toys" by Frost* (Part 3)

Last night was slightly better in terms of progress....but as the above image of one of London's Graffiti Snails suggests, it's not too rapid.

The solo section is now looking quite a bit better, particularly with the lighting closer to what I was intending - "he" is still not tracking the melody of the solo very well but in the time available it may just have to do.
"Wasted" a fair amount of time producing some printed items that turned out to contain too much detail to survive the import process (D'Oh!). They'll have to be re-done a different way or binned for a much simpler version. I've got "fall-back" options for most of the scenes yet to be rigged and I still have the option of resorting to my "balloon-band-live" set-up for some cut scenes if all else fails.
The intro is pretty much sorted although one or two audio bits either from the EIMA DVD or elsewhere might fit nicely. I'm having to tack on a bit because the actual track is straight-in. Anyone know good filter/EQ settings to mimic that transistor radio effect - things are coming out a bit too phone-line at the moment.
Pacing versus detail is probably the biggest hurdle to be overcome - largely because I've never attempted anything like this before. I know that "less is more" and all that in many cases, but bland is always bland and I'm hoping to get enough detail into every bit to reward at least a second viewing.
It could all still come crashing down though. I guess everyone has those "what-am-I-doing?-this-is-rubbish" moments from time-to-time when trying to create something - and this process is very drawn-out....compared to, say, bunging a few one-liners at a forum every now and again.
I begin to wonder how comedy scriptwriters ever put anything out - they must get bored with their stuff sometimes and begin to doubt that anyone will laugh at it.
Just got to buckle down and get it all done - plenty of time for editorial decisions when there is something that half hangs together....

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Creating a video for "Toys" by Frost* (Part 2.1)

Converting the video files seems to make them more usable so that's good. Just too knackered to do anything else constructive last night....that's not so good. :o(

Must try so much harder tonight....

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Creating a video for "Toys" by Frost* (Part 2)

Well, to get this little blog up-to-date with progress so far. I started all this on the November 14th so I've been at it for about 12 days now. In that time I've had ups and downs in terms of progress - mostly positive but time is going to be the killer here.

As usual, the big mistake is telling anyone that you are trying to do something - I sent some incoherent ramblings to Jem and, while I know he's been mad busy, I suspect the lack of response was down to a major dose of "WTF is this guy on about??". Silly Pedro.

Anyway, the "story" for want of a better term, is pretty much set now. It's only changed half-a-dozen times or so!
I can "see" what I want to happen in 10 out of the 11 "scenes" and, as of last night, Scene#1 is complete. That means the set, props and mechanics are all done and saved and I can "perform" exactly what I need to record whenever I want. 3 or 4 of the other scenes are about half done - so I'm getting there, slowly. I just need to stop "re-doing" things to make them "a bit better" - that kind of thing should deffo wait for the end of the process...if there's time.

The technical ins and outs of getting the video clips onto the PC for editing is beginning to tax the little bubble of candy-floss I call a brain.

My "signal path" (if you like) is to record the PS3 output to DVD+RW load the clips from there into Serif's MoviePlus. I've only had a couple of goes so far and it seems to be a minefield of formats, resolutions, pixel shapes(!), codecs, and other cobblers designed to shackle the creative spirit firmly to the deck.

The other pain is that the PC really "chugs" when it is trying to work with data from the DVD+RW. It's a fairly recent Quad core 2.4Ghz beast so I'd have thought it would be better.
In the past, when I've edited clips together from my crummy point and shoot camera - it's worked really well so maybe it’s a format or sheer size issue?
I'm going to try converting from the DVD "VOB" format to either MOV or MPG format tonight to see if that operates any better without losing too much detail.

Too much to little time.... be continued....

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Creating a video for "Toys" by Frost* (Part 1)

Some time ago, Jem Godfrey (the genius behind Frost*) put a call out for video makers to make a video to accompany his new song "Toys" from their excellent new CD "Experiments In Mass Appeal". At the time I thought, "I wish I could say I could do that but I don't have the tools or the skills" and thought no more about it.
Then I got the game "Little Big Planet" on the Sony Playstation 3....and suddenly, I had the tools and the skills!
The concept behind the game is brilliant, you play the levels supplied (basically a very slightly 3D platform running-and-jumping-etc game) and in doing so you collect the bits the designers used to make those levels. Then you can use those bits to make your own levels, upload them to the web where other players play your levels and rate them while you play other people's levels, and so on.
At least, that's what it is meant to be used for....however from the moment I created my first cardboard cube in the level designer, the doorway to the universe of video production suddenly swung open before me.
Using the tools provided I found I could create just about anything I could imagine within a few minutes of picking up the controller. If you have the Playstation camera you can capture any image and turn it into a "sticker" that you can slap on to anything you create. This give the chance to create signs, labels, photos or just about anything you like.

So I've turned my thoughts towards Jem's video request. After a couple of test videos (posted on YouTube) I realised I could actually produce something worthwhile so I have started the mammoth task of constructing 3 minutes and 8 seconds of loosely connected twaddle to sit nicely with the lyrics of the song.

I have it roughly planned out, or "storyboarded" is the better term I guess. Now I just have to get it all done. I've set a target of having it done ready to hand a DVD copy to Jem at The Peel gig on Dec 20th. Hopefully it should be on YouTube at about the same time.

Just got to get the picture quality limitations sorted out (first few trials have revealed that some of my text and other details get lost in the YouTube compression) and then build and shoot it all.

Who needs sleep, eh? :o) be continued...