“We used Dragon- it’s brilliant and we couldn’t have done it without it.”
-Director Natasha Pincus
Excerpted from Natasha’s interview with musicvideotheory.com:
“The challenge of Gotye’s new music video “Somebody That I Used To Know” for Warwick was integrating complex stop-motion elements of painting with live action elements of performance. At first the video was to be shot on Red or Alexa, but the stop-motion element which required split screen compositing with the live footage, pointed the camera choice to the Canon 5D MkII. This was simple because the 5D could be controlled by Dragon software to capture the single frame animation and then seamlessly swapped to HD video capture using the same lenses and sensor. The result would be straight forward image matching between the two capture methods.”
Cinematographer Warwick Field speaks with us about the shoot:
Dragon came recommended to me from an animator colleague and not long after buying a Canon 5D MkII I decided I needed a quality stop motion/time lapse program to run the camera from my Macbook, so I bought it. I primarily use the Canon 5D for video work.
I had done some experimentation with Dragon prior to shooting a low budget music video for a local band called Lucy’s Crown which was entirely stop motion. I found the software easy to use coming at it with virtually no stop motion knowledge other than what I had done years earlier on 35mm film using cameras like Mitchells. So I confidently went ahead on Lucy’s Crown using Dragon. It all went well and we found the software performance solid. The onion skin was a great help lining up people in position after breaks. The style was using the camera in the hand and getting a jerky camera move with two exposures per shift so we created a 12fps timeline. We had a very intensive method for achieving the performance in stop motion, which was by videoing the band live performing the song then laying that video down on a Final Cut Pro timeline at 12fps and then incrementally scrubbing through that frame by frame as we shot so they could see the monitor and assume each pose and mouth/body position for each individual exposure. So it was Frame 1 playback/Frame 1 shoot etc. all the way through the performance part of the clip. It was pretty approximate but served its purpose. The director was happy with the result and the finished clip is very hand made and flawed which was the plan. You can see it here.
When the Gotye video was conceived by Natasha it was always going to involve live action and stop motion and in one instance both on the same screen. Because of the split screen I decided to use the 5D again because it meant I could exactly match the shots using the same camera and lens for both stop motion and live action. I did some tests using a page of newspaper to accurately check the alignment and it was very close so we went ahead and did it that way. Dragon got a real work out over two extremely long days with all exposures being manually fired from the Dragon keypad controller.
Tags: animation, Animation Software, Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Dragon Stop Motion, gotye, natasha pincus, somebody i used to know, starkraving productions, stop motion animation, stop motion software, warwick fields