- Member: ngsilver
- Studio: Chaotic Bad Raptor
- Title: Go
- Premiered: 2012-12-12
- Lemon Jelly '64 Aka Go
It is a video.
It is one that I had to do.
I just couldn't not do it.
It was done with a purpose.
It was done for a reason.
Its message had to be said.
In the end.
After all is said and done.
It all makes sense.
I started Go as a project back in June. But as an idea it had been burning inside me for many months prior, ever since I first heard Lemon Jelly's '64 aka Go come on my House station on Pandora while I was at work. This burning got stronger and stronger as the months progressed and I started hearing the song more and more. I began paying attention to the lyrics, what of them there actually is, and a seed of an idea began to grow. The fuel got stronger and the fire burned brighter with this idea as I worked more 2nd shifts and weekend shifts over the month of June until I just couldn't put it off anymore despite my already planned projects for the summer.
Once I started work on Go in late June, I meant for it to be my front runner video for the Anime Weekend Atlanta Professional contest this year. This granted me about 2 months to work on the video. Normally this would be plenty of time for me, but this video required a bit more work then the average entry in my catalog especially considering this video would take me out of my editing comfort zone in both concept and execution. I knew it was going to be a tight squeeze and I'd be going right down to the wire especially considering that I would be loosing out on about 3 weeks of that time already due to previously planned vacations and family get-togethers and what not during the summer, not to mention work and overtime getting in the way.
The concept for Go was in its purest form a simple one; to tell the story of the character in the song, the singer/narrator. What got complicated is that I wanted to juxtapose that story with the progression of Naussicaa’s character arc from the movie Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Doing this, I would be drawing parallels between the two stories and hitting at key points in both such as Nausicaa’s realization that she would have to confront her fate and the wrath of the Ohmu in order to save both her people and the forest. This line of story points well to the character arc of the character in the song, who is searching for the meaning of his life and the reason for his drive to go, ultimately culminating in the realization that what you do with your life is the reason you live, that the journey is why you go. This all culminates with the final end realization that rather then looking for a purpose you should just be, or as the song puts it, Go.
To do this, I first needed to put down a base for the audio/textual story to take place over. For me, that was the simple part, laying down clips onto the timeline. I’m fairly good at doing this quite quickly, especially when there is a natural story progression that I would follow in the source. I can’t really say that matching the source to the beat and flow of the song was difficult as much as it was time consuming. There is a lot of story that I had to compress into 6:20 worth of time, while also still hitting on the key points in the story and not overlooking the need to slow things down a bit at points to help with the overall mood and feel in the song. This whole process took quite a bit of time, going into the movie and splitting things up by acts, dividing those acts into scenes, further dividing these scenes into essentials and non-essentials as far as the story went, then dividing the essential scenes into clips via changes in perspective. Many a night I spent working on this while smoking my hookah thanks keyboard shortcuts and remote desktop tools.
Once that process was complete and I had all of my source ready to start putting into the timeline the actual process went very fast. As I said before, I can put clips on the timeline and do all of that basic editing stuff pretty fast. Using a combination of speed alterations, hard cuts, jump cuts, and some strategic crossfades I laid out a progression that fit my style while also matching the mood and changes in the song. I am actually quite proud of the product that I laid down as a backdrop for the final element that would make my vision complete, text.
Now one of the things that I really enjoyed about the song is that it had a very technically interesting music video. You can watch a copy of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGr2zf_x8IU – What really drew me to this video is how it took two different video sources and put them together using masking to show a ground and sky like look, but with moving pictures. There is also text that goes across the screen as the words are spoken by William Shatner. These words would show an version of the opposite video (top vs bottom) as it crosses the screen. It’s an interesting effect but as my video wouldn’t feature a bottom and top half I couldn’t really do that exactly. That’s when I came up with having the text show a flipped and blurred version of the video already on screen as the text. It would pay homage to the video that I pulled the initial idea from, while also taking it a step in the direction I wanted and needed it to go. Now that I had the idea of what to do I had to figure out how to do it using Premier CS3. Using the titler feature and some creative mixtures of video effects and track layering I was able to pull the effect off.
This is where I ran into my first real hiccup however. Now that I knew what needed to be done I still had to come up with a format for how to show the text on screen and have it be a focus for the viewer but not be entirely distracting from the video beneath and also be able to be read in some form. The problem here is that my usual beta testers for technical things like this were also pro entrants so in the vein of keeping my project a secret I lost out on some valuable data on the technical side of things that I could have used to tool the work to be more esthetically pleasing. The beta testers I did have were good at capturing the feel and concept work, but never had strong opinions about the text.
I ended up having to make do with the text effect as I had it for an in progress view for the version I submitted to AWA. The problem I had at this point was that I didn’t have enough time to go through the thought stream section and pick out all the different words and time them properly. To do that I wouldn’t have been able to make the deadline for Pro. I made the decision to take a quick way out and re-tool the underlying words I had already developed and mix them in a constant pattern forcing them to become the highlight of that portion of the video. I knew that there were too many of them, too many wrong ones, and in a much too predictable pattern which overpowered the background imagery. However if I had left the text out that section of the video felt incomplete, even more so than it did to me as it was. So I exported the video, coming right down to the wire of submission deadline, and completed what I now refer to as the AWA Pro 2012 version.
I got a lot of feedback before and during AWA on the video and the text. It worked out in the end as a great beta test and I was able to pull from it the info I needed to finally make my completed final version. My Directors Cut if you will. I do have to thank everyone in the Pro contest who took the time to discuss the video with me and tell me their thoughts, particularly about the text. Your input guided me to come up with the end product that you can now view.
After weeding through all the comments that were to simply remove the text entirely I found a resounding comment that the text was both too hard to read and at times way too overpowering and distracting from the video. While I knew that in my video the text would play a prominent part, I did understand these views and spent quite a bit of time retooling the text effects to help contrast the text in some way and bring it to a point where it would stand out apart from the video underneath. Doing this took quite some time and ingenuity. The title I was using did have a black outline in it, however the effect chain I used removed that from view. In order to put it back in I had to duplicate each text object and then remove the fill leaving only the outline. Once this new title was placed above the original it allowed for an outline to be seen that helped create a break from the video background. A few more tweaks to the effect made it more prominent and in some ways smoothed it out a bit.
I then got to work on the overpowering part. This was the most evident during the thought stream portion of the song. I basically removed every clip on the timeline during this part except for the original text. I then went through and found a pattern in the way the words were being presented and divided this pattern up between 5 parts, one for each area the text would come from (1 for each corner and 1 for the center of the screen.) I then sat down and went through the part and added words that fit the word being said at every interval that was being spoken from. A lot of nonsense I thought was being spoken, but when you are looking at it in such a granular sense as I was that is to be expected. Still I carried on until every word had a corresponding version on the screen, placed in the pattern as I had found it to be. After dividing this pattern up and making the necessary effect changes I watched it through and really liked how less overpowering the text became and how random it all seemed, which really fit the mood I wanted to come through that part. There were a few technical hiccups. Apparently premier doesn’t like doing similar effects above 10 tracks, so I went through and did nested timelines on that part, which helped clear up the clutter in the main timeline and allowed the effect to actually work. I’m so glad I didn’t have to rely on AE… I hate working in AE….
The last bit of work I still had left to do was to make some final alterations to which words I would put on screen. At times the text moved too quickly and some words just didn’t need the emphasis so I removed them. I also did some tweaking to the movement of some of the text giving it a more dynamic feel and drawing the eyes across the screen in ways that I wanted them to move. I also did a bit more tightening of the video itself at some segments and fixed some lip flap issues I noticed as I wanted Nausicaa to appear more of a thinking girl on screen and who uses her eyes to talk more than her mouth. It really goes well to emphasize just how much emotion she puts into her eyes and the work the animators put in to portraying that.
So what I finally have to show for all of this work is the final piece of creative, high concept, artfag video editing. I present to you Go. I do so in 3 versions. First, the AWA Pro 2012 version so you can see the video as it was shown at AWA and Youmacon. I then preset a Textless version as I took to heart the comments I received that completely loathed the text on multiple levels including personal preference. As I am also very proud of the video without the text I figured I would give this option to you as well. Finally, I present the Directors Cut version, the final version that is the realization of my initial vision and was molded and shaped by the comments of my friends, my peers, and my fans.
I spent a lot of time on this video, and I hope you enjoy what I have made. Now if you excuse me, I can hear the clamoring of a gif video I put on the back burner begging for me to finish it.
Local version is 720p Director's Cut. For the other versions you will need to download from my distro, linked via the same indirect link below.