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Swedish Boy video (15 Feb 2009 at 16:55)
Ah! It feels right. Another project actually completed, this time with the benefit of deadline. It's my entry in a music video contest for the band Obi Best.

I heard this band on a podcast, which is my new most effective way of learning about new music. I liked the song in that 'cast ("Who Loves You Now") so much that I ordered the album from the label, although allegedly this album is not technically "released" yet, so I don't really understand that, and it came with a little hand-written message Enjooy! with the oo made into a googly-eyed smiley face, which was endearing. And I think it's a pretty good album. More sparkling clean than I'm used to but musically it is very clever. So then I got this new camera, as I've mentioned before, and I was in Connecticut over Christmas break in that leisurely time browsing web sites of bands I like, and saw that this band had a video contest going on. I had that project itch (unsagely ignoring all those 70–99% complete projects still) so I decided I'd throw something together as a way of experimenting and learning my camera and some animation techniques. But then five vacation days later it had grown out of hand in ambition and sunk cost, so here we have:



Even more so than usual I insist that you click through to the video page to watch in glorious HD or download the 450mb original (bottom right). There are a lot of details and motion you just can't get in this little box.

At first it was an accident, but as I was CMOS-ing a recent Pittsburgh snow storm to provide a Sweden-like backdrop, I decided to capitalize on my handheld camera shakiness for stylistic reasons—the various illustrations and animations are motion-tracked to the video to make them seem more present in the scene. I did this all by hand and also the animation by hand obviously, and the foolhardy rotoscoping of my hand by hand, which I will never do again, and fought a lot with software that just barely falls short of my expectations, so I think it took me a total of about 50 hours (!). But really it was mostly fun and I am quite happy with the result, especially some special parts.

Here's what I'm not happy with: Quality of video on Youtube. We're supposed to upload our videos into their contest group, but the regular Youtube quality on this high-motion video is absolutely unbearable. The "HD" version looks reasonably sharp but the framerate is ridiculously low and unstable. And it starts with some VHS malfunction kind of vibe. I don't know what the deal is. I am trying again, this time ignoring Youtube's advice to upload the highest fidelity I've got. Vimeo's doing a great job as usual so I simply point you to that version for your potential enjoyment/dismissal, but it'd be a real boner to not have the contest people be able to properly enjoy/dismiss it on account of Youtube encoding problems. Boo hoo.

So in post 1002 I told you about six projects and now 3 of those are totally done. I've been training for the Pgh marathon so that's in progress and obviously can't be done until May. Beatles visualizations are almost done. I got the Laser Suspension Womb parts so I can work on it soon. Boo yah!
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Nels (c-71-199-121-224.hsd1.pa.comcast.net) – 02.15.09 22:36:50
Sunk-cost-tastic.

Looks great!
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Chris C (c-76-99-55-118.hsd1.pa.comcast.net) – 02.15.09 23:34:47
This is a lot of fun to watch. I do not envy the many hours that went into it, which I imagine to have been some kind of insane tedium.
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spoons (agrenoble-552-1-79-38.w86-202.abo.wanadoo.fr) – 02.16.09 03:44:09
Nice! I especially like the blue-dude-on-the-fence scene (with all its depth of field, etc.)
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Scott/Graue (ip70-179-94-234.dc.dc.cox.net) – 02.16.09 12:25:06
I had to watch this in low-def because that was the only version that would play in my MPlayer, otherwise it was all "Source image dimensions are too high: 1920x1080 (maximum is 1440x1080)" and shit, but I really like it. Especially how the blue guy jumps at the viewer and winks at the end. That reminds me of some Sonic game where Sonic does that after the end credits. Intentional reference, or coincidence?
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Tom 7 (h-69-3-248-242.phlapafg.dynamic.covad.net) – 02.16.09 12:46:35
N, C, S: Thanks!

S/G: Sounds like you need to upgrade your mplayer! It seriously won't play the standard 16:9 HD format? I could have been influenced by something that happened in one of the early Sonic games, because I definitely played those. I don't remember specifically though.
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Adhesion (cpe-74-74-185-170.rochester.res.rr.com) – 02.16.09 21:10:21
Very cool! I like the song too. The ambiguating depth of field effects on the spider are great, and the sheet music/piano stuff is an awesome touch - although I think the notes are only accurate if they're in bass clef instead (treble = Every Good Swedish Boy Deserves Fudge)
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nothings (c-24-16-57-110.hsd1.wa.comcast.net) – 02.17.09 03:59:05
Luscious.
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Cortney (pool-141-156-198-151.res.east.verizon.net) – 02.17.09 07:30:13
Fantastic! I liked the dancing flowers ... and the whole thing!
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Ryan (c-76-125-235-165.hsd1.pa.comcast.net) – 02.17.09 21:33:12
I liked the whole thing......and the dancing flowers!
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Hock (c-24-6-124-15.hsd1.ca.comcast.net) – 02.20.09 12:49:21
I liked your video. I think very few live action/animated productions have this kind of depth of field, and it's really captivating as a result. It is, however, missing one thing: the eponymous Swedish Boy in all his suspendered glory. (Is the blond bearded dude supposed to be the Swedish Boy?)
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Tom 7 (h-69-3-248-210.phlapafg.dynamic.covad.net) – 02.20.09 18:22:49
Thanky. Yeah, that's supposed to be the Swedish boy. I mean, he's blond right?
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Brian (adsl-99-169-116-59.dsl.tpk2ks.sbcglobal.net) – 02.22.09 14:24:58
OMG A++. I watched this several times. Very awesome.
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Nels (gs5048.sp.cs.cmu.edu) – 02.27.09 09:34:17
Hey... you updated the front page of tom7.org!
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Tom 7 (mobile-032-151-090-166.mycingular.net) – 02.27.09 14:43:53
Damn, how did you notice that so fast?
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