Por Qué Estas Llorando Dentro del Discoteca?
Long story short, I made a music video under the guise of doing video effect work over the course of a week. I put more work into the project than I’d ever usually admit to most folks, but I think there’s some value in breaking some of it down this time ‘round. After all, one of the issues that spurred this project is my difficulty opening up to people so it’d be disingenuous to hold anything back now.
We’ll go through this in a few parts beginning with the technical stuff, then wrapping back around to the borderline maniacal emotional turmoil that kicked things into motion.
Can’t figure out if it’s sadder to cry in the club or alone on the drive home.
Las Cosas RoboTechnicas Music I spent the entire first night just editing the actual music track for the video. Yung Bae’s been a longtime inspiration, as Hideout was in my previous FMV. I couldn’t playback the same track over and over if they weren’t. Bae City Rollaz was originally just under 4 minutes, but I knew I wasn’t gonna have a week turnaround for the full song, and I was also thinking about twitter video limits. I like posting videos natively there when I can. Actually getting to cut audio was a blast. It’d been a minute since I’d last gotten the chance, and the freedom and precision to cut down to the millisecond is something I’m sure any editor can appreciate.
The voice over clips overlayed throughout the track came from an old documentary on depression I found on the internet Archive. It was a matter of skill and serendipity to lay them in. Their timing felt nearly perfect for the most parts. The times I did cut early felt valid in an artistic sorta way that could probably be explained in the simultaneous rhetorical analysis I was writing in my brain alongside the project.
The actual levels aren’t balanced super well, but I wanted as much clarity for the dialogue as possible without adding volume keyframes. I’m not really sure why, and it’s probably one of two regrets I have involving the project, but my backup justification has been that the viewer would probably turn the music up to hear it more clearly and end up getting punched by the dialogue with extra oomph.
The Video Cut
Cutting video to music is one of my favorite things in the world, and I suspect most video editors feel the same. In fact, my video production professor from college always had to say that our film projects couldn’t be music videos because so many folks wanted to make one. Cutting to the beat could cripple early video makers from discovering an internal rhythm, but in the words of my younger, and dumber, self, “Still beat tho.” I made it a priority to try cutting to a variety of beats and melodies featured on the track. While everything would be sort of wild and explosive, there’d still be a rhythmic throughline. It took a whole other night just to lay it all out.
You might be saying, “Rudy, it looks like you just danced a bunch in front of a camera.” And you’d be absolutely right! I literally had next to no plan other than I wanted to dance with a bunch of outfits. I actually recorded over two separate nights. The first night I was solely in a red shirt and kinda lost my mind in the middle of recording and just started doing any random shot that came to mind. The second night had a lot of costume changes and I actually door dashed some dumplings in the middle of it and went out in the Naruto outfit to meet the guy. My weeb power was definitely Planetary levels.
Over the course of both nights I ended with about 20 minutes of usable footage. It was far from easy doing a few of those shots that weren’t on a tripod. To get the shot of my chest and the gun, I had to stack folded towels on my head then set the camera tilted down on top while I pinned my camera monitor against my chest and stared down at it. I probably spent an hour to two hours setting up shots each night. Needless to say, I was a very tired boy by the end of each recording and kinda took a nap on the floor after the high low angle shots. (or is it high? I can’t remember terms anymore…)
The Visual Effects
My laptop in which I edited everything on doesn’t have an explicit GPU I can assign to render things. It’s got a little Vega M graphics package in it, BUT IT WAS NOT MEANT FOR THIS LIFE!
I own almost every Red Giant Suite at this point except for the VFX one. (I know, the one I actually need.) My poor baby laptop was forced to run all of it… The first shot featured a key framed chromatic aberration I kinda went overboard with, but it made a strangely pleasing pattern I felt satisfied with. I slapped on a few Retrograde effect presets until I felt satisfied with the aged 16mm look and called it a night.
Then I pulled myself back from completely dissociating and started working on the other forty five plus shots that needed VFX. Over the following five days, I spent my evenings just experimenting with every effect I could, and for once, I actually used the After Effects dynamic link correctly which saved my life when file after file of premiere projects corrupted with compiling errors.
Now I won’t go over every shot, (although you can reach out directly if you’re curious) but I will take time to go over a few overall concepts and favorites.
So much of this project acted as a sequel for my previous Hideout music video so I just had to do a big sequence showing off the track name and artists. It wasn’t perfect by any means, nor did I like it more than the Hideout sequence, but I’m happy with it and the experimental blurring and noise combination that helped lay groundwork towards furthering the low fidelity look of the project.
I didn’t use a green screen for this project, and so much of it was compositing myself over a club scene, so I did what I could and used the natural noise that came with grainy film look to cover up as much as I could. Red Giant’s Primatte Keyer is probably one of the best in the business, but boy it did not like keying off white walls. It did however love keying brown skin. Both the looks ended up appearing really cool in their own ways so I keyed just about every different part I could. Shirts, hair, eyes, and ninja headbands were all included.
A good key was the basis for adding a lot of effects in strange ways. What was surprising was the text effects that worked with keyed layers. The Ecto effect proved to do some cool super powered looks, as did the long shadow effect. RGB Separation was also a big one to mention for the final shot, and some of the distortions built into After Effects also appeared to have interesting results. My second regret for this project was not using a scene where I tracked the final project’s scene and fade out onto a tube tv a bunch of middle aged white guys were legitimately meeting in Inglewood to watch anime together. (I KNOW RIGHT?!!) After Effects was getting real messy tracking data, and I didn’t want to spend another day just manually keyframing the bit so we got the ending we got, a completely valid one I might add.
Before wrapping up the technical side, I did want to mention an important detail about frame rates. The retrograde effect offers clips to be played back at 18 frames a second as opposed to the 24 frames they were originally shot in. When experimenting with certain effects like Ecto, It turned out, the full 24 fps really sold a more believable look in motion as opposed to the 18 fps. However when just compositing my keyed self onto a dance floor, the 18 frames looked great. It was probably the interpolating up to 24 frames that through off certain effects. I’m still not exactly sure.
Now as I’ve mentioned, all these effects made rendering a nightmare to the point I was legitimately crashing premiere every fifteen minutes. From what I could tell, I was just running out of space to render new files, and needed to make some room, but I was literally on the cold tiled floor of my house with my laptop and a small fan just blowing on it and praying it would render.
I’m probably forgetting to mention stuff like my discrete color work on certain clips to help blend or distinguish, or the subtle TV warping I threw on another clip, or the trapcode developed smoke used in the first anime clip, but we’ve all got places to be so let’s just have some fun and cry about why rather than how!
No Te Preocupes, Te Amo!
Short Answer: I make FMV’s in the wake of almost doing irrecoverable self-harm.
Long Answer: …
“Tu eres como tu eres porque el diablo le dijera que termine su vida.Son attaques del espiritu, del mente, del fe.”
The video starts out with a very real, and very large, scar on my leg in the foreground with a large knife in the background. The next features a gun. I may or may not have dabbled in the past.
I’m not here for subtleties or honesty.
These scenes unfold as an old doctor speaks on the realization of death and self-harmful thoughts. Both of which have kept me up for a long time. However when called to hang out with folks and, “be social”, my brain is on the dance floor just shaking my booty over a facade, fixated on finding that secret thing that’ll save me in others.
I keyed myself out to reflect hollow sentiments. Oh you asked about the two disco dancers with C3PO helmets? That’s for the meme. You think the Naruto clips are also a meme? It’s actually about my own uses of fantasy as escapism and yes I also did it for the meme.
What I find interesting is the doctor discussing depression as a device to be used, especially given the development of the project. Can my self loathing and critical analysis pitted against my will pull something out of me I wouldn’t have found otherwise? Lol idk…
Yes there are a lot of quick cuts with weird stuff going on. One could say they show glimpses of reality as opposed to the keyed fantasy featured in the longer clips. One could also say that there is no reality because of that really cool flame shot I did while wearing the red shirt. One probably said none of it’s real because it’s a video and I’m dragging out the bit.
In conclusion, I’m a sad boy doing sad boy things. Although I really cherish the final statement saying depression is beat through gaining intimate affiliation. Ya boy's out here hoping to forge friendships/relationships that matter. Gotta live for myself, friends, family, and the bonds between us all.
We the variable, the unknowable, a mislabeled parcel of human electricity, prehistoric in form, beyond time and essence. Learned that from Busdriver.
Take Care, and Be You.