production designer and puppeteer
Jordan Wayne Long
visual effects, editing and music by
After reading Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama, I had the idea to write a soundtrack for the book. I finished the first song and then got distracted by other projects. A few months later, Jordan Long and I decided to turn that song into a music video fable. I wrote out a basic plot (unrelated to Rendezvous with Rama) which lined up with the changes in the song and we began working.
Jordan drew all of the buildings on large sheets of cardboard and cut them out. We wanted everything to have that handmade quality with no dimension or detail. All silhouettes. We photographed them and scanned them into the computer.
Jordan built the little townspeople and the “hero.” The heads were little clip-on lights. Jordan blacked everything out but the eyes. Emily made their tiny costumes out of felt.
I sketched out the basic shots on post-it notes to help me visualize the camera moves, since filming on green screens can be a bit confusing. Everything was filmed in the corner of our living room in front of a piece of green paper. I used my Nikon D600 and later D750 dSLRs. I generally shot in 60fps, so I could slow down the footage to give the miniatures a bit more weight.
The buildings and trees were assembled in Adobe After Effects then the videos we shot of the characters were keyed and placed in the scenes. The light-rays emanating from the “hero’s” eyes were added digitally to give him a unique look among the rest of the characters.
Lighting and color correction were added. Then I’d show the “camera” how to move through the newly created digital scene and the shot would be complete.
Some of the shots, especially the ones in the air, were shot “hand-held.” Once those videos were placed in After Effects, I’d adjust the camera tracking data to move the scenes around the camera. It gives the air scenes a nice floating feeling.
Once all the shots were completed and rendered, I edited them together in Adobe Premiere and …. THE END.