Monday, November 27, 2006

Music Video of the Year (1995)

The "posthumous" Beatles song, Free as a Bird, brings the Beatles back to life in this amazing job of rotoscoping and compositing old film footage. Encoded wthin the video itself are visual allusions to 64 Beatles songs, from Paperback Writer to Eleanor Rigby.

Would love to see this in high def. Or hear it at a funeral.

Lennon would have been against the Iraq War.

But he also would have been vocally against Islam's oppressive misogyny and hateful homophobia... and its dangerous libertasphobia and gnososphobia and tolerabilisophobia.

Some details on rotoscoping and compositing, and the background of how this amazing video was created, for those with a technical bent:

"In-camera" effects quickly led to film opticals, in which successive layers of film were laid down on an optical bench and printed onto a third piece of film. This allowed filmmakers the creative freedom to explore visual possibilities without logical or geographic restraints.

With the advent of computers, the process of combining different layers became infinitely easier, but at the same time more complex, as the variety of combinations are now seemingly limitless. Filmed images can now be scanned into a computer running compositing software, enabling the digital blending of several-or, literally, hundreds-of layers of imagery. It is the current standard for creation of special effects in film, television, and TV commercials. In the digital realm, compositing is the umbrella term for the many processes required to technically accomplish image combination in the computer.

In order to illustrate tracking and compositing, we have chosen to examine two scenes from Free as a Bird, the award-winning 1995 Beatles music video. We have referred to the two scenes as the "Sgt. Pepper Party" and "Paperback Writer." The video is a seamless mix of new footage and archival Beatles footage taken from films and newsreels produced 20 to 30 years ago. This project was a team effort between Pacific Ocean Post (POP), Santa Monica; Quiet Man, Los Angeles; and CrewCuts, New York. In a little over three weeks, over 280 hours of compositing was completed at POP on two Discreet Logic Flames running on a four-processor 250-MHz SGI Onyx; 140 hours of rotoscoping was done on a Quantel Hal Paintbox.

The complete article is here.


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