Animated Music Video

This animation was custom-made for the theatrical show titled In My Life - A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles, based in Southern California. It was a very interesting project to work on, and has garnered a very positive response from the YouTube community.

Although I could have animated the blackbird using just graphics, I decided to use a puppet, which was a lot more involved than I thought it would be. I couldn't make a bird myself, so I ordered a bird hand-puppet online and had to do rhinoplasty on its beak because it was a raven. More than one YouTube commentator has mentioned that the final bird looks nothing like a real blackbird, but I'm sure it's close enough for most people.

I luckily had carte-blanch on what the animation would actually loo like and do (they just wanted it to be good and fit the song), so I went to work on devising some kind of loose narrative that went along with the song lyrically and visually, which pretty much entailed listening to the song over and over again and seeing what pops into my head.

After hacking and taping up the bird, i put it against a white screen and filmed it moving and looking around. Then I took lots of pictures from all angles and imported the footage into Photoshop and started chopping away. What the bird ended up looking like on screen is far from perfect, it actually looks terrible. So I had to do a lot with the backgrounds, fades, coloring and textures to make up for it. Basically surrounding a very dull center subject with a lot of bells and whistles.

I'm very happy with the results, and although the video came out with the same 'plot' as I'd planned, the final visuals are very different from what I originally imagined. This is a phenomenon that happens on virtually every project I do, no matter what the medium; just a philosophy of working on what ever it is until putting in more would be too much, and by taking something away there'd be too little.

There's a 'sweet spot' in certain kinds of animation where the visuals can be quite crude, but the overall experience is good enough where you overlook any technically outdated styles and are (hopefully) drawn into what the animator's are trying to portray. The classic 70's PBS shows like 'Sesame Street', 'The Electric Company', 'ZOOM' and '321 Contact' all had this style of 'out-there' sequences which kept the shows interesting, and even then you could tell that there was practically no budget, but the animators just wanted to do a good job for the sake of doing a good job.

The In My Life folks really liked it and as far as I know are still using it in their show. Overall it took about 60 hours of work, from gutting the bird puppet to final rendering.