- Member: Xombie
- Title: Sorrow
- Premiered: 2001-12-17
- Character Profile
- Soggy Bottom Boys I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow
The thing with this video is the song. The damn song. One night, a little over a week ago, I remembered this song and thought, "Hey, that's perfect! That sounds exactly like poor 'ole Spike!"
Little did I know. Once I actually started gathering clip ideas I found out just how foolish I was.
A. There are almost constant vocals in the song.
B. There are no real pace changes. I.E. No segments where I could throw a lot of action sequences in.
C. There are almost constant vocals in the song.
D. Lotsa lip syncs.
The song consists of a country (bluegrass?) band singing about a guy who just doesn't seem to have any luck. As I said, Cowboy Bebop & Spike was the first thing that leapt to my mind. Since this is only my second video and my first attempt at lip syncs I had no idea what kind of hassle this song would cause. I mean, most songs I've watched are set to some song that has at least one section where the music picks up, goes fast and generally allows you to throw in some wild fight or dance scenes. Not so here. It's pretty much the same tempo throughout. And to cap it off there were only two small lines that I could justify putting *some* sort of action sequence in.
The rest of the song is vocals, vocals, vocals. *sigh* So here's what I did.
First, I grabbed some old, cruddy avi files of the episodes. They were small and of mismatched resolutions but I just needed something I could look through to refresh my memory of the series and to keep an eye out for potential clips. I had a text file of the lyrics and as I saw an interesting clip I would jot down the episode number and time the clip occured. With a listing of the scenes I liked I went through the lyrics and made a kind of storyboard with the scene listing.
With that in hand I fired up VirtualDub and cut out all the scenes I wanted. That part was pretty easy. Using Premier (ver 6 - my trial license is still good for a few more days) I arranged the clips to the music. That was my real storyboard. For the parts where I wanted someone to talk I just used the same clips over & over until they stopped talking. I'd worry about lip syncs with the final draft.
So, I now had a good storyboard of the clips. By this time (as I've mentioned in my journal) I decided that song was the work of the devil. I almost canceled the whole project several times but I spent so much money on the DVDs that I had to do *something*. So, I kept with it. Next I ripped the DVDs with DVD Decryptor and demuxed & encoded using TMPGEnc. *That* took a long time. Probably around 24 hours of CPU time. I could've sped that process up by realizing that I needed to merge the VOBs from the first two DVDs.
Now I had good clips to work from. I followed the same process as above. I already knew the clips I wanted so I just re-cut using the new video. I also made a few changed in the clips I wanted. I changed out a couple of lip sync sections at this stage.
When I went to arrange I noticed the clips took less space than the rough cuts. *That* was troublesome and caused me to change some speeds, re-arrange the cuts & add a few more.
Lastly came the actual lip syncs. I was very worried about this because I hadn't tried it before. To learn how to do it, I checked out the guide on AMV.org. I forget the author. It was very helpful and once I started in on the first one I realized it wasn't so bad. A little tedious, maybe, but not difficult. I had a little fun using the razor tool and endlessly scrolling back and forth to hear where the lyrics changed or where high/low points were. After the first couple I was able to do whole segments without stopping until the end *and* have them match up very well when I checked them.
The only other thing I can mention that I did differently is a segment where Spike is in Bebop and you can see the surface of a planet scrolling past in the background. And this point the lyrics go something like "I say goodbye to old Kentucky where I was born and raised." I wanted to try something out here - I had in mind that the scene would be as above but would have a crossfade to a scene of some grassland from old Earth. This grassland would scroll in the window like the planet's surface was doing. I wanted to do this to show how Spike is roaming almost endlessly but remembers a time when he could've been settled & happy (with Julia). Now how do I accomplish this?
First I followed the guide and cut out the frames where Spike's mouth changed. There were three frames (and that seemed pretty common - three frames for speech). Next I fired up Photoshop and using a pencil with absolute blue for a color I did a bluescreen for everything to the right of Spike. Next I took the clip where the planet scrolls by and left that on Video 1a. I took the three .psd files I bluescreened and did the little lip sync thing with them. Those I put on Video 2. For the transparency setting I selected RGB and picked the blue with a tolerance of ... errrmmmm... 67 I think.
Next, I added the grasslands clip sometime around the lyrics "... old Kentucky". This clip I put on Video 1b with a crossfade from 1a Planet Surface to 1b grasslands.
Almost done I built the preview and watched it. It was almost perfect (well, to me anyway) - except for the part where the planet is scrolling in the background. At that point there was some weird movement around Spike's mouth. Let me tell you, that took a while to figure out. Finally I remember that in the planet clip I was using Spike was still in the background talking. So that movement was him talking while my singing clips were going on. They were out of sync so they had some double-movement.
How to fix this... how to fix this... I dug around in Premier until I found the ... errrmmm.... Pan filter I believe. Using that I set the top & height fields so the normal clip would move up a little bit. This would cause the talking Spike's chin & mouth to be covered by the singing Spike's mouth area. Re-running that I noticed it seemed to work fine.
Lastly, there are no guitars in Cowboy Bebop. None. I don't think I even saw one in the background. For a series with music like that you'd figure they'd have at least one person playing a guitar. It would've made one or two of my sequences work out better. At first I tried mixing in some harmonica bits from "Sympathy..." but that didn't sound right so I gave up. No guitars... can you believe it?
Also, there aren't any trains. None. I think the movie had one but not this one. So, I tried to find something analogous (spelling?). For that I used the gateway system & Spike's fighter. That's around the lyrics... "...Northern Railroad/Perhaps I'll die upon this(that?) train."
Wow, I wrote a lot.
Anyway, it's done and I can move on to my third idea. Since this is my first attempt at lip syncs I'd be curious to know how y'all think I did with them.
!!! Updated the file. I changed the resolution to half the original size and upped the bitrate to 3000k/sec from 500k/sec. Should look better in motion.