Trailer Art

Zack Snyder makes great trailers.

They have narrative structure, drama and dynamics, and their soundtrack is always a key part of the whole experience.

I’m working on a horror trailer at the moment so I figured it’d be good to watch some classic trailers and Zack’s surprisingly good remake of Dawn of the Dead has a trailer that I think is a perfect example of the form.

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Catchup Post

Wow it’s been a week since I last posted…

I’ve been busy with planning a new music video amongst other things. This music video project has an interesting angle that convinced me to take it on; I’ve had a number of meetings from development to pre-production with the Producer, Richard Glover, and I’m pretty excited about the potential for it. If things go well we’ll be filming the biggest crowd for a hip hop video that I’ve had a chance to be involved in so that should be a spot of fun… We’re looking at shooting the video in early July with final release in early August.

I’ve also been working on the constitution for the next iteration of the PlayMaker Game Developers Association. We’re looking to establish the Association and take things to the next level with the support of other members of the wider community. We’re very lucky that David McLaughlin has provided great legal advice, support and input from day one and at this week’s Auckland Game Works Meetup he’ll be speaking and answering any issues raised by the community as we nail down the final details around the structure of the Association. There’s some more exciting news about this but I can’t say much til it happens!

I collaborated with Director Ashley Pitman on the last video I edited for The Hypnotics and after our final edit session we stayed up into the wee hours watching our favourite music videos and comparing notes. Ashley’s got a great eye and has been Facebooking me a bunch of video links that I aim to post over the next while with some thoughts. For now, I found this video and shared it with Ashley recently – it was shot on a 7D, a great little camera, and we both loved the ‘story’ and rich green colour.



Dope Myoozik

Dope D.O.D. hail from the Netherlands and bring a fresh take on hip hop that matches pulsing electronica beats to euro-inflected street rap.

Their videos are a big part of their appeal for me, showcasing the grimy and gritty with a polished cinematic visual aesthetic. I like the way the videos are tweaked by effects that twitch and stutter like a visual representation of the electronic backbone of the music.

Their bio makes for an interesting read – they have a visual arts team comprised of four artists who handle the photography, videos and paintings. After seeing the video below and being taken by the marriage of dubstep and street rap I went poking around the interwebs and was impressed by the cohesive brand they present to the world via their strong visual style. It’s a great idea to have a dedicated art team – hopefully they will all evolve together in new and interesting ways.

Their debut album “Branded” is due September this year (2011) and I’ll be keeping an eye and ear out to see whether there’s enough depth to the group and their music to herald a new wave in euro hip hop.

Thanks Ashley for the heads up!

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The Hart of New Zealand Comedy

NZ’s Leigh Hart is one of my favourite comedians.

This clip from the excellent Moon TV series shows Leigh’s trademark style of deadpan, gormless delivery as he bounces epic inanities off straight man and accomplished author, Joe Bennett.

I prefer comedians who play completely farcical characters in a straight, almost dramatic style. Leigh nails this style in his largely pseudo-documentary work with clips like this and this. He also works with other great comics who play off his style in a perfectly complementary fashion – as in this clip where Leigh, Jason and Matai speak with NZ Prime Minister, John Key.

We’ve exported a few good comedy acts lately – from Flight of the Conchords to Rhys Darby – it’s surely only a matter of time before Leigh Hart gets more high profile work overseas!

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At the time of writing there are 190 clips on Moon TV’s Youtube channel so check it out when you need a laugh!

Puddy Babypants

Those talented boffins at Mukpuddy Animation have put together the perfect little video for a track by Caspar Babypants called “Mister Rabbit”. (I always wanted to use the word “boffins” and now I really regret it…)

Caspar Babypants is a side project for the talented lead singer and songwriter of PUSA, Presidents of the USA, Chris Ballew.

The song is as catchy as any PUSA song; Chris Ballew reworks many children’s classics like “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Mary had a little lamb” and makes them sound fresh and engaging all over again.

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The hunt for decent 3D

In the last few years scouring the ‘Tube for 3D vids I have still only found one that seems to hit the ball out of the park. At the beginning of last year someone finally posted an HD version that uses Youtube’s 3D platform.

From what I can find out, Pangea The Neverending World hasn’t yet made it out of trailer form. It’s a proof of concept developed by a Hungarian animation studio: Aenima CGS. Someone should give them some money to make the full thing!

Of all the 3D content now on Youtube this lengthy trailer has the best 3D I’ve seen. Creatures and foliage loom out of the screen and the world feels layered and deep. It’s a pity there isn’t more work that shows this attention to detail. Even in nasty anaglyph (red/blue glasses) the 3D detail is palpable.

Be sure to watch it fullscreen, in the dark, in 1080p!

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I’ve gotten sick of clicking through so many videos on Youtube claiming to be 3D that are either badly transferred or just badly made in the source so I’ve started putting together a Youtube Playlist of 3D videos that are worth watching. It’s very small at the moment but I intend to grow it as I discover more videos that are worth the time. Please let me know if you find any and I’ll add them to the list!

Cover Zen: Super Conte Theme

Well, it’s yet more music on this blog but as it also includes a game angle I’ll use it as a segue…

Jack Conte is back with more Cover Zen madness – a version of the Super Mario Bros theme that I like a lot! He’s obviously a talented musician but I also have a lot of respect for his editing skills and sense of┬ámanic┬ávisual energy; this video jumps and blits about like the video game junkie the song speaks to.

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The Hunt for Trailer Art

I’ve been scouring the web trying to find any “best of” movie trailer sites – but I’m kinda after sites that show trailers that have been crafted with love and skill, treating the discipline like the artform it is. Haven’t had any luck so I might have to put together a list myself… If anybody reads this and has any idea of a trailer that showed a real craftsmanship in its construction please let me know (movies or games). As an example, I think Snyder’s 300 trailer put Trent Reznor’s “Just Like You Imagined” to perfect use.

Here’s a great looking game coming soon from Ubisoft – they’ve put the classic trailer soundfx to good use and I found the zooms (which were surely done in post…) to be an interesting touch!

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Damn those french and their mad skeelz!

French animation has always been in a class of its own and this little short – free on Vimeo HD – does nothing to dispel my admiration for their mastery of the art form.

There’s a nice marriage of music, sound and cinematographic form evident right from the opening frames: the mood and scene is set with a breezy tune punctuated by occasional peals of girlish laughter as the camera tracks languidly across a lawn on a nice summer day; the deft hand of the director/cinematographer is revealed when the main character glides into shot in beautifully rendered perspective – not to mention the shape of the girl who holds the main character in thrall (suggested by simple lines and blocks of colour and artfully depicted in a glorious, euphoric slow motion haze).

The movie then goes on to unveil different moods through tweaks of music, colour, shape and sound, and create tangible, dimensional characters through simplistic (but not simple) renderings. I love the fact that the narrative drifts from whimsical, dreamlike emotion to a sense of foreboding and real emotional danger within the same short work (not unlike another favourite animated work of mine – The Incredibles) without feeling forced or contrived.

Stand-out moments: Gary ‘adrift’ in the sea of hair; sound inside the dark man; the rendering of the lips for ‘the kiss’ (the dream one at the start xD).

You can tell I liked it, can’t you?