Prelude with Attitude

Recently I was asked if I’d like to make a music video. It was for a classical piece by Rachmaninoff with a modern dub-step style arrangement. I had the freedom to interoperate the track as I pleased so started to dismantle it to see what worked. I started playing around with audio reactive circles that pulse toward the camera but as I didn’t have split audio at this point, the whole thing started to get quite messy pretty quickly.

prelude initial concept 01

NB. The audio track and final render of the video are not on this site as they are not ready to be published.

prelude initial concept 02

The audio reactive circles were a bit too trance and psychedelic club style for the piece so myself and the music producer knew we needed something more organic.  This was a great excuse to see if these flowers I’d made using Apophysis would work. So I start flying the camera through a field of computer generated flowers to see how this would look. Doesn’t look too bad but I can tell that making a 4 minute video of flying through flowers would take me a very long time and also be pretty boring, so it was back to the drawing board.

Mir tower

One of the things I wanted to do with this animation was push my skills in new directions. I’d played around with Trapcode’s Mir plugin, but never really got the hang of it, so I thought I’d take a proper look at this plugin and see what everyone was raving about. Once I stopped happy slapping the controls around and started to work out what they were doing I soon realised that firstly, I could control  the shapes using a combination of key frames / expressions and sliders. Secondly, it looked pretty awesome when combined with Trapcode’s SoundKeys plugin.

The fact that Mir also interacted with lights in a scene also opened up new possibilities and got me thinking of the narrative that would underpin the animation, which up to this point had kind of eluded me.

Mir Ball

Now I had a clear idea of the premiss of the animation, it was time to start building out the scenes. A few hours of beard twiddling and plenty of scraps of paper later and I was happy that the concept would work. So onto the story. Pretty simple if not a little abstract look at nature and the perils of the natural world. Light (Bug) comes along and is attracted by a flower. It flies in, dances around thinking it’s landed the jackpot. Then just as it think it’s time to leave, things take a sinister twist. The bug now feels trapped and struggles to escape, the more it tries the harder it becomes. Eventually the bug loses its mortal struggle and is consumed by the flower, which after all is only doing what nature intended. So really you should feel no pity for the bug or resentment toward the flower. A bit like Hansel and Gretel getting trapped by the witch. It’s in the witches nature to trap and eat small children. However I digress.

Audio reactive

Reacting with the music (Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C# minor)

prelude concept 03_01

Bug falling through the belly of the flower, blissfully unaware of the fact that it is dinner.

“What dreames may come, When we haue shufflel’d off this mortall coile, Must giue vs pawse.”

Will Shakespeare

prelude concept 03_02

The final video will be posted here when I get clearance to use it. Until then,  here are a few stills to keep you going.

Thanks for reading.

animation stills



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