Will to Live Music Video

MADI AND DAY   13 March 2021

Collage animation for Cowboys everywhere. Thanks to the Cowboy Collective and viewers like you. :)

For this video Day and I decided to make a collage based animation, which is something neither of us had done before. We actually had no experience in animation at all prior to making this video. So listen round as I explain our process for this video because if you yes you have a large amount of time and energy (and a few tools) you too could make a collage based animation.

First Step: procuring materials.
We already had a large box of national geographics from the 70s and chose to use images only from these as the print quality was more consistent than if we used images from other time periods or magazines as printing methods vary. This matters especially if you are using high quality and close up scans. You can tell the difference. Using materials from the same source helped us create a cohesive look, especially with the tones and the print style. We then went through each copy and hand cut out all the elements we wanted to use, a sharp exacto knife and self healing mats were very helpful here. While our focus was mainly on cowboys we also needed plenty of backgrounds and props to go with them (and cows!). This was one of the more time consuming steps and looking back we probably would have done things a little differently i.e. worked on the scanning of different scenes in tandem with searching for and cutting out of the material. We ended up with a lot of material that didn’t even end up in the video.

Second Step: setting up the scenes and scanning them.
For each scene we generally laid out the background and foreground and had the majority of the movement happening in the middle ground, though not always, this is just a useful way to think about these elements and how they interact. We also didn’t do a whole lot of story boarding but it could be helpful, we just found cutouts we wanted to use and built the scenes around them, almost entirely in chronological order. We used a scanner to capture each frame which gave it a very consistent look as well as being able to do very high-quality scans, control the aspect ratio of each capture, and not have to worry about lighting. If you didn’t have a scanner this process would still be do-able with a camera, you would just need a way to keep the camera aligned with the image. In someways this could be easier, while scanning we had to peel the background up and manipulate the moving cutouts while they were face down, if you photographed them you would be seeing the image as you constructed it. We did around 10 images per second, sometimes more, sometimes less. It just depended on how fast we wanted the animation or how smoothly we wanted the action.

Third Step: assembling the images into a video.
We did this step as we were doing the second step, we would add the scenes to the video editor as we completed them so we could see how they corresponded to the music and to have a better grasp on what would fit next in the video. We just used i-movie which was the most basic and most readily available program but there are certainly better programs out there if thats your jam.

That is about all I can think to impart regarding our process in making this video. If anyone wants to ask us questions about the process you can send an email, comment on the youtube video, or simply send a carrier pigeon.