Monday, 22 August 2011

Hammerfest 4 promo video

Since the Hammerfest 4 website has now gone live. I guess it's time to talk about the video that I created for the festival. I've included the link to it below but it is also available to view on the official website . This video came about off the back of the video I produced for Hard Rock Hell 5. I was given the theme of Thor to work with and was told to get a little creative with it. So I came up with the plan of having Thor kind of wash up on the beach and walk along the coast until he spots the Hammerfest flag and hoists his hammer and lets out a roar then bridge in to all the cool stuff you'd expect from a festival promo video. In comparison to last years video I think I have done a much better job.

So with my plan in place I went to the festival with the Attica Rage gang and I began work as well as filming for the final piece of the documentary. You see ladies, some of us men can multi-task too. I met with my Thor on the Friday morning, Aiden Vauls from the Area 51 performance group, and went down to the beach. The good news was it wasn't raining. The bad news was it was blindingly sunny. I was using a Canon 550D to film and could hardly see the LCD, and had forgot my viewfinder, so I was filming blind a large part of the time. I got what I needed but there were a lot of shots I felt were un-useable and I was kind of disappointed with the footage.

I was also unhappy with the vox pops. I'm not blaming my friends, Suz and Emy, who were interviewing as they did what I asked. They had to put up with some generally annoying drunks giving shit answers. Emy also had to put up with some drunk silly wee boys sleazily hitting on her and the like. This pissed me off big time. I am old school through and through, and this behavior annoys me. If I've said it once I've said it a million times, alcohol does not absolve you of responsibility for your own behavior. If you have a problem with that, tough, your a dick. I'm right. Returning from that tangent, on the whole all of the good vox pops were used in the video. Usually I'd like more than I need but sometimes you've got to make do. Thanks again to Suz and Emy for sparing their time to help me out and putting up with the odd twat.

The gig footage always takes care of itself at these things. I've filmed bands live long enough now to know what works and what doesn't. I have to say though I feel that the Hard Rock Hell band footage was more entertaining to watch by the sheer fact that the bands were visually more impressive. With the exceptions of Turisas and Sabaton the bands really didn't measure up. I'm amazed Sylosis got the crowd moving the way they did. They showed very little movement and the singer was typical screamo pish. Either I'm old and out of touch or silly drunk little boys are way too easily impressed. They are the metal equivalent of Michael Bay fans.

So I returned home and got editing. I had plenty of time to get this one done so I wanted to really polish it. I got the basic structure down and then got the Hammerfest peeps to send the photoshop file for the poster. I used some of this really great artwork as the basis for producing the opening title and the closing one. I took the bits I wanted and created water, sky, fire and lightning effects and composited them all together. For the opening I tried to make it look like a supernatural vortex kind of thing like Thor travelling from Asgard. For the end, I tried to mimic the poster but also make it animated. These two sections required the most work. Most of what I do in After Effects is from scratch. Luckily there are plenty of great tutorials online.

The final piece of the puzzle was the opening with Thor. I cut all of the beach footage and just concentrated on shots from a grassy hill located near the coast. Boy I'm glad I decided to shoot that. It pays to have a back up. I still had a problem though. The sunny daytime footage didn't go stylistically with the opening and ending compositions. To solve this I decided to break the rules. I did a day to night effect. Now day tonight effects work best in clear, overcast conditions. I wasn't that fortunate. With a bit of tinkering around I noticed a light outline effect happening around scenery and Thor in shots where the sky was visible. It actually looked pretty cool so I decided to make it a feature of the video. Hey, if you can't be good be lucky. All that was left was to add sound effects a lightning strike and some motion blurring to give it that other worldly feel. There was one more touch that was needed. I had to find a decent way to start the video because opening on Thor seemed a bit abrupt. The solution presented itself when John Davis (HRH management) made a request. I think he said something like, "It could use some runes. I love that shit.". Initially I wasn't sure where I could include them without it seeming forced in. With a bit of trial and error I found that if I faded some ruinic up at the beginning along with the date it would ease in the video and set the scene nicely. Incidentally the runic is just the date again. Totally lacking in creativity there. Overall I'm happy with the video, especially after the disappointing source material I had to work from. It seems HRH and Hammerfest crew like it too as I've already been offered to do the promo video for Hard Rock Hell 6. I'm unsure whether I want to do it at this time but being asked right off the bat if I wanted to do it is good for the old confidence. I might make a living out of this video work after all. So I'll leave it at that for this entry. I'll finish off with a little quiz to test the nerdiness of those reading this.

This video contains samples taken from 2 video games from the late 80's/ early 90's. Can you tell me which ones? Here are some clues. 1. They were both on the Commodore Amiga 2. One starts with an S and finishes with a V. The other starts with an M and finishes with an E. 3. One is four letters and one is nine letters. The winner gets the excelent prize of a romantic dinner with me at one of Glasgows finest restaurants. Good luck to all. Personally I'm pulling for Big C.