Post-Mortem – The Murf
Hey! It’s a music video! And a fairytale version of our history as a species! And a look at time, life, survival and technology! ALL IN ONE! And now I’m going to give you a somewhat truncated look at it, though I will be linking to a more in-depth going over of it.
The awesome guys from Rendezvous contacted me two days before Christmas last year about doing a video for one of the tracks on their upcoming album. They gave me more or less carte blanche to do whatever I wanted with it. We settled on a concept in February and I got started. Five weeks later I was done. I was simultaneously also doing the first two episodes of Living In a River City, along with some other freelance work and putting together pitches (which I will post someday). By the time April rolled around, I was both exhausted and dying to get outside the apartment.
Initially, the video was going to be comparing and contrasting how quickly life moves in the universe – insects and small things living for days, people living for decades, and stars “living” for eons. I was reading a big book on evolution at the time, and wanted to do something involving the progression of life and how it marches on despite it’s fragility. These concepts are in the final video, but it started taking on a life of its own.
I’m rather exhausted at the moment, so I will spare you a long, long, long writeup about everything rolling around in my head behind this video. My wife assures me that it’s pretty easy to figure out what I was trying to do and say with it, and I’m trying to wean myself off of writing a short novel hammering home every point I’m trying to make in excruciating detail. However, I did an interview yesterday with the nice kids at Motionographer where I talk about the video and the visual style in more detail. You can read it here. It’s got lots of production stills and info. I will say that the sharp angles, the pixelly fires, square lens blurs and the mosaic overlays tie into the story and theme. It’s not just a style (though it is stylish, if I do say so myself).
Anyway, other than a few texture overlays and some clouds I drew in Photoshop, the video is 100% After Effects. Never underestimate the solid layer. It will never fail you. As always, if you have any specific questions about how something was made, I’m all ears.
Here are a few reflections.
My wife came up with the whale-worshippers dance. I came up with the other one. COLLABORATION.
I felt bad killing the dinosaurs. Sorry guys.
Before doing this video I had never really done quadruped walk or run cycles. I might have in the distant past, but I certainly don’t remember it. You learn something new everyday.
The humanoids in this are officially unisex. If you’d like to pick specific ones that you think are guys or girls, be my guest.
I really liked the martian explorer. I want to do another short just about his awesome adventures. The guy is raising crops on MARS. Awesome.
You know who don’t get enough credit? The people who jumped from cliffs in flying contraptions that completely and utterly failed. People laugh and call them idiots, but they were bravely trying to do the impossible. Eventually, some succeeded.
Welcome to my futurecity, where every elevated walk has a canal, and everyone had a weird hologram gadget. This shot was actually inspired by the neighborhood I was living in when I was making this, the south side of Pittsburgh. There are neighborhoods built on some very steep hills there and they have these endless walkway/stair combinations running all up and down them. They were built a century ago to aid the mass of workers walking to and from the steel mills that aren’t there any more.
It must have been weird once fire became something people used often. Suddenly you notice that there’s another camp on the hill next to you. And look at all of those people on the mountains. Not as alone as you thought you were.
To wrap up:
This was an important project for me. Last year saw some big changes for me, which I have written about extensively elsewhere. Doing this story, in hindsight, was part of me realigning and rewriting how I view our past and our future. It was also the first time I did a short with no dialogue and no text. Trying to communicate emotions or humor or feeling that way was a wonderful exercise. It definitely makes me want to do more music videos, especially for instrumentals. Of course, because I made it, there are parts of it that I don’t like as much. But overall I’m pretty proud of it. After 6 months of looking at it there just sitting on my hard drive, I’m interested in what you think. I hope you like it.
Lastly, go check out Rendezvous. The single for this song has several awesome remixes (one of which I am cutting a remix of this video to as we speak). Hagai and Itai are super-swell guys as well. Go check them out on youtube and grab the album they have coming out soon. I don’t shill for people simply because I do work for them. They really are very cool, talented people who make good music. Go support them!