- Members: MeriC, VegettoEX
- Studio: Temple O' Trunks
- Title: Smoke: DDR Project 2, Track 7
- Premiered: 2002-09-27
- Mr. Ed Jumps the Gun Smoke
** VIDEO NOTES **
Our getting a DDR track is a relatively short and amusing story. One night we found ourselves at Scott Melzer's doing the usual talk / hangout -ing. We were pretty familiar with his DDR video at this point, since he'd had it done for a little bit (this is early July 2002). Conversations concerning the 2nd DDR project came about, and we found ourselves with quite a question: would we like a track? While still early on, a few people unfortunately had to back out of the project due to whatever reasons. Scott had a conversation with Hsien the night before (or so we're told), and the track had been temporarily put on "hold" for Scott to ask us about. We were, of course, rather excited; to be a part of this kind of project is something we've dreamed of for a while, and since we were moderately- to very- disappointed with lots of videos in the 1st DDR Project (3rd Mix), we really hoped that we could do something special and enjoyable.
Then we fond out what song we had.
Sure enough, "Smoke" was the track no-one wanted (it originally belonged to Brad DeMoss; he had to drop it due to time constraints, since he was also doing another video track, as well as the opening and ending tracks). We knew the song, and weren't that quite fond of it. Little did we know that soon we'd find ourselves absolutely in love with the song.
We spent a good two weeks (during which Shoujocon and Otakon took place) thinking long and hard about what exactly to do with the video. Our first idea was an "Escaflowne" TV series video (honestly, we're not sure why; Meri went ahead and re-watched the entire series in a three day sitting, anyway). Finally, after Shoujocon and Otakon, we were ready to sit down and work on the video.
The main joke is... yes... Shishio. He's burned. He makes fire. SMOKE. Har har EL OH EL. Once you get past the cheesy concept, there's actually somewhat of a dramatic story build-up going on, too! The basic idea is more or less what you see in the TV series: Kenshin's enjoying life with his friends, but is called upon to battle against the forces of evil, must bid a temporary farewell and get going with the fight. The early parts of the video have Kenshin's initial meeting with Shishio (we threw him in earlier than what you see in the show to kinda make our own story), then we've got Kenshin having fun (IE - getting drunk) with his friends (and occasionally he dances on top of a ball with an umbrella). We get a drumroll of Kenshin saying good-bye to his friends, Shishio gathering his forces, and FLASH... the battle begins. Kenshin has some friends jump in along the way, but in the end, he must take care of things himself; he's the strongest one.
We really tried to keep the video as upbeat as possible; this IS a DDR track, after all. It really bugged us on the first project when people had obviously upbeat songs, and just did nothing with them; no editing, long scenes, no timing, etc. There's a lot of cuts, drumrolls (hard cuts and jump cuts), cross dissolves, "freezes" (hehe...), image masking (mostly over lip flaps), and quite a few DDR jokes.
What DDR jokes? Good question!
- While not really a "DDR Joke" per se, since the last track is "Hero" and we need to get some kind of intro overlapping that song, there's some visual irony going on; Misao's kicking the crap out of Kenshin and calling him her "Hero"
- The arrows early on are really just flash for no reason... they look nice :D
- "BPM 1972"; DDR fans will know this as the "beats per minute" of the song. This looks pretty god damn stupid (Mike's fault!). What we should have done is timed out the "1972" then crossed it out and put in 18-whatever year it is that Kenshin takes place in. *sigh*
- "Freeze!" Our original idea was to put in actual "freeze arrows." Fans of DDRMAX and MAX2 (6th and 7th mixes, respectively) with know "freeze arrows" as arrows that you must keep your foot on for the duration of the arrow's scroll to the top. Well, with the video due so soon, we didn't have the time to do this. Instead, maybe what we've got is even cooler. The screen "freezes" on the frame, and we still have the DDR word "Freeze!" pop up and zoom in different places each time.
- "Not good!" You would think Shishio shakes his finger at least once in the entire TV series. At least once. HE DOESN'T SHAKE HIS GOD DAMN FINGER A SINGLE TIME. So, we took the scene where he points to his forehead (after Saitoh's rushed him) and did a little fun image masking and video looping. We present you with... Shishio shaking his finger taunting Kenshin.
- "Here We Go!" This is the text right before you start a round. Here, we've got it signifying that something cool is about to happen... :D
- The combo meter: c'mon.. Kenshin does an actual five-hit-combo on Shishio in the show, and it's REFERRED to as a combo. We had to. It was just way too perfect. Thankfully, it got the huge response we thought it would. Phew!
- "Stomp to my Beat!" You probably won't see this anywhere other than the MPEG file of the video. Soujiro is stomping his foot... to his own beat. HE'S STOMPING TO MAH B3AT~~!! We have some video still going on here so as to have provided Quu with ample footage to start doing transitions between the two videos. Word is that on the official DVD, you'll have the option of seeing the complete ending to our video.
< /end DDR jokes >
In terms of technical stuff in the video, there's a moderate amount (for us, anyway). There's quite a bit of image masking over lip-flaps (since they're ridiculously distracting, especially when there are some obvious lip-synching areas; Sano's our lip-synch bitch). There's LOTS of video manipulation down to the single frame. You'll notice towards the end of the video where Kenshin falls face-first on the group in front of Misao that he pauses for a second split-fall along with the beat; in the original animation, this is a VERY clean fall without that pause. A little cutting and pasting, a little dissolving into similar frames, and you've got what looks (to us, anyway) like a natural animation. There's lots of little things like this that you just won't notice unless you're really familiar with the original footage.
For those not familiar with how DDR video tracks work, here's the low-down: the second disc of all "Dance Dance Revolution" soundtracks is an hour-long "megamix" of nearly all the songs from that particular soundtrack, which all flow into each other without a break. For this reason, we have some of the song before our track, and some of the song after our track to allow Quu space to make a proper transition between the various tracks.
We were glad to have the experience in making a video for such an important project; maybe we'll even get asked back next time?! We only had about a month to work on the video, but it was a really fun month. Special thanks go out to Ian, William, and Hsien for checking out early versions of the video, and to Scott for all his technical expertise. Oh yeah, and thanks to Brad for not having the time to do the track.. worked out great for us! ^_~. An extra special thanks to everyone at AWA who cheered for the video the instant it started; you either liked Kenshin or us or the song.. hehe. Regardless of what people thought about the song, ours and every single other video in the project got a great response.
And thank you, Mr. Ed Jumps the Gun, for getting this god damn song stuck in our heads... and making us... LIKE IT.