Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vicar - Ouroboros (How I made the video)

When Tyler Lovell asked me to do the album art for the next Vicar album I had to say yes and not just because he used an image of mine for his last album but because Vicar is one of the most interesting bands to come out of St John's ever (IMHO) I want to contribute what I can. When he told me the concept for the album I got even more excited. 
Ouroboros is an album designed to be played on random and repeat, it is one long 6 minute song and forty five 16 second "chunks" each chunk is a different chord that segues into the next chunk seamlessly, listening to it on random mode makes the song it plays different each time but it never feels "random". The albums theme is infinity so it only fits that you listen to it on repeat until you are sick of it, it's so hypnotic I ended up listening to it for about three hours the first time I tried it. 
When discussing the album art Tyler said he wanted something that evoked an infinite void, while sketching out ideas for it I came up with something, but soon realized that it would work best as a video piece as opposed to a simple image, but it was compelling enough (to me anyway) that I wanted to try it. Here, just watch the video I made to see what I came up with:   

The video ended up being a lot trickier then I thought as I had to figure out the process while I went along. The process for making the cover image was pretty simple though (simple but lengthy). First I started with a simple ink drawing of my interpretation of a black hole (you can see it at the very top left hand corner of the image below) I then took the drawing and scanned it into the computer. Then I took the scanned image and printed it off at 60% the original size. I then took the smaller printed version of the image and drew around the outside of it until I get to the outer edge of the paper (this is the drawing directly beneath the first drawing on the picture below). I then take this drawing and scan it into the computer and print it off at 60% the original size. I repeated this process four times until I got a shape I was satisfied with and the rich density of thin thin lines towards the centre that I like. This is the final cover image. I then went back to the first drawing and blow up the tiny hole at the very center of it until I can print it off at a decent size. I then take my sharpie and fill in the hole a little bit (this is the drawing at the top right hand side of the image below). I then scan this in and enlarge it by 60% and print it off again and repeat. I do this a couple times and then take the final cover image and shrink it down and place it in the center of the hole and print it off. I then take my pen and fill in the spaces between the inner edges of the hole and outer edges of the final image and scan it in. I then go into photoshop and start crafting the master image.
For the master image that I use in the video I took a very high resolution scan of the cover image and blow it until it's about 56000 pixels wide (any larger then this and my computer freezes up, I find this out the hard way). I then take the scan of the drawing that came before that one (it would be the second one up from the bottom of the first column on the picture below) and blow it up and tweak it until it fits in where it's supposed to in the last drawing. I keep doing this process until it reaches a point where I have to shrink down the scans to fit it in, at that point I realize I would be sacrificing resolution and I start a new image from an appropriate cropping of the master image where I continue this process of blowing up drawings and fitting them into one another.  

The final video uses three master images that are around 50000 pixels wide. Making them this large allows me to zoom in on them without losing any resolution or have it get pixel-y. This process might sound kinda complicated but it wasn't that hard, but getting everything to work in the video editing programs was a whole other ordeal in itself, and that proved to be the hair pulling experience of this project. I won't get into that since I've bored you enough as it is and I tried so many things in After Effects and Premiere Pro that I can't remember how exactly it all worked. But anyway, I'm pretty happy with the final product, I can't find any other examples of drawings mimicking fractal zooms anywhere on the internet and I think it matches up with the atmosphere Tyler's sounds pretty well. I think I'm gonna try this process again as I know more or less how to do this now and I think I could make it much deeper and more bizarre. I'd love to see it projected up on a wall really huge somewhere.
Suppose I should go work on my movie now.
Give Vicar some friggin' money, they deserve it!