First of all, let me say that I really appreciate, even LOVE all my clients. Although it’s not always easy, it really feels like doing my dream job because of them!
But when one day a mail pop ups in your inbox from a band that is one of your favourite bands since you know them (in this case, I already knew them for a few years), even I can’t prevent doing a small dance of joy like a kid that got his favourite toy for christmas ;)
In this case it was THE SORROW, needless of any introduction in the modern metal scene, who asked me to create an animated lyrics video for a song of their upcoming album.
You can watch the result above this post, and I really hope you’ll like it. If you do, feel free to share it :)
Since I want this blog to become some sort of possibility for you to look “behind the scenes”, I decided to write down some insights into the creation of this video.
While recieving the song and the lyrics, the only direction the band gave me for the video was to include the album artwork in it. Since the video is a promo for the album, this decision seemed just right! So the band also sent me the PSD (Photoshop file) for the CD cover, from which I could extract the design elements.
But before that, I needed to sync the lyrics to the song. This is a rather tedious job, because it’s just “create a new layer for each word of the song, then scroll reeaallyy slow through the song to find the exact times when the word is sung or shouted and move the layer’s beginning right there”. For. Every. Single. Word. BUT it is necessary!!
My first thought was to let the video look like the cover. Since videos nowadays are in 16:9 and not square like a CD cover, I needed to rebuild the blue border for the new format. Nothing too challenging yet.
Now that I got the base design set up, I faced the problem that it simply looked too static for such an energetic song!
So I searched for a way to keep the look of the cover, while adding enough action and movement to don’t bore the viewer.
I tinkered around a bit and created some sort of sand storm, which seemed to transfer the “speed” feeling I got when listening to the song’s verse (not talking about drugs here, duh!).
Technical note: To make it look even more interesting, I set the camera to 15mm. This way I could get some nice wide angle distortion into the frame.
Now that I’ve gotten the basic design AND the basic animation I was looking for, I started animating the lyrics line by line. I think for a lyrics video it’s ALWAYS logical to choose a readable font. I mean, as a designer and typography lover I collected almost 2000 fonts in my library and some of them really look awesome, for a logo or such. BUT in this case, you don’t write each word of the song down for no reason. The viewer should be able to read it, even if the song is very fast. At least that’s my opinion.
So I chose a font that at the same time looked somehow similar to the band’s logo, and was readable.
Once again, I had to think of how I wanted each word to animate into the scene. Some lyrics videos let the words “fly in”, some just “pop” them up out of nowhere. Since the CD cover features a really cool drawing that looks like a tattoo, I decided to let each word look like it’s made of ink, and it bleeds onto it’s place. And since the verse is fast (many words in few time), the animation had to be quick enough!
This is really one of the rather invisible animations, but you have to think about even these small details!
After I animated about 5 or 6 lines of the song with the sand storm look and some fast camera movements, I rendered it to show it to my contact person (of the band). This way he could give me his feedback about my animation and design, and I didn’t have to animate the whole video yet. Because always remember: time is money!! Consider design choices that look good as you can, but at the same time provide a fast workflow. If you want to and you’ve got the skills to, you could let even an animated lyric video look more awesome than a Michael Bay movie (a huge slow motion explosion for every new word, for example.). But trust me: You just won’t have the time! Or rather, no client would pay you a sum huge enough to work this long.
So do good AND fast work.
In this case, my contact thought the example was great, so I could work on the rest of the video.
For the chorus, I wanted to have a different look. I went with the blue ink theme, so it should look like the camera’s flying into a word and then you’re in an ocean of ink.
I added fast flying particles again, so the video didn’t lose any speed.
Fun fact: At first, I tried to give the particles in the chorus the same color as the words. After I noticed the odd similarity to cut-off toe nails, I chose to rather go with a black color… ^.^”
The part after the first chorus reminded me of a march or a riot (because of the sirens). I really wanted to support this visually, so I took one of the design elements of the cover (the skull key) and animated it to march in a straight line.
I think this scene looks really cool!
At the end of the song, the lyrics depict a really hopeful, breaking free mood. I designed and animated a flight through the clouds towards the sun. This way the ending is the visual opposite to the destroying sand storm in the verses.
I hope this gave you some insights into what thoughts and decisions someone like me is going through when working on a project like this. I really enjoyed it, the client is happy, all the viewers seem to like the video, so all I’ve left to say is: Until next time!! :)
If you’re interested in reading about a specific topic or project, feel free to ask!
Thanks for reading!