- Member: TaranT
- Studio: Studio Tarantella
- Title: Evolution Redux
- Premiered: 2004-11-14
- Clokx (Ron van den Beuken) Clokx
The music can be found on this CD: Ultra Trance: 3 (Ultra Records, 2003)
Judges Award for Most Attention Grabbing at Anime Destiny 2004
This video is my fourth experiment in which I use a specific visual effect against trance/electronica music just to see how well the combination works. The effect in this case is the well-known "piano key", a vertical bar of video that moves back and forth across the screen in time with the song's melody, usually done with a piano or synthesizer.
Since the purpose was to explore the look of these keys, the project focused on them exclusively. All other effects, including crossfades, were kept at a minimum. Only five styles of keys were used, out of what is essentially a limitless number of possibilities. The music uses only eight notes in several different combinations. I spaced the eight masks evenly across the screen rather than by the distance between the actual piano keys. However, the masks are in the correct relative order (higher pitch notes to the right side), so the appearance is still correct while at the same time the full screen width is being covered.
The music is an instrumental trance piece with a persistent and repeating synthesizer line that drives the visual keys. It is Ron van den Beuken's remix of a song by Coldplay called "Clocks".
I chose Metropolis not only for a theme which matches the mood of the music, but also to take advantage of the rich detail and color in the anime's artwork. Whether the keys actually work seems to depend on how well they contrast or complement the background. Color variation and detail seem to help with this, although I have not tried the technique with an anime that has simpler artwork (e.g. Pokemon as an extreme example).
The clips are organized in a broad storyline that roughly follows the movie plot. It's constructed so that even with all the piano keys removed, there would still be a decent, if simple, video.
As an experiment there were lessons to learn from this project. One was not to make the keys too thin. I started with an 80-pixel width and changed to 100 pixels for a better look. Another lesson was not to spread the keys too far apart. The timing can appear to be off when successive keys are out of the viewer's focus. Also, repeating notes (e.g. A - A - A) can look silly as vertical bars especially if the rate is in the area of 1-4 per second. And much of the overall look depends on how fast the keys are appearing on screen.
Technical details: all the key masks were made with PhotoImpact, but they are simple enough that almost any picture editor could have been used. The video edits were done entirely with Vegas 4. The final video file is rather large, but that is a result of keeping the 30 fps frame rate and a high bitrate - both needed to keep the piano keys "crisp".
The title of this video has two purposes. On the one hand, it is a sideways reference to a well-known AMV that also uses piano keys. On the other hand, and more importantly, it describes the theme of the story. "Evolution redux", or "the revival of evolution", describes not only Metropolis, but many other stories that feature androids and sentient robots.