|Rick Schrand, a three-time Emmy Award Winning writer and director, let us have the first sneak peak at some of the behind the scenes shots from the new music video “Bigfoot Rides With Santa”, performed by Jim Ed Brown. ©2004, Broadsword Productions.|
This whimsical new video is set to air on Country Music Television and Great American Country network this month.
Question: How did you end up working on this project?:
Rick:It’s a little convoluted, but here goes: I had appeared on some of the local television stations in the Nashville area to promote the new Bachelor Degree in Graphic Art and Design at Nossi College of Art where I am the Computer Graphic Department Chair.
|The program is designed to teach the basics of 3D animation and modeling for broadcast.|
Jim Ed was working on the song “Bigfoot Rides With Santa” and wanted to make a music video. He contacted the college, and after a meeting with him discussing various methods for producing the video, we decided to give this a shot. We decided to blend cartoon elements with more realistic backgrounds to give it a unique look. And, as an FYI, “Bigfoot Rides With Santa” is basically the first country music video that was produced virtually entirely using 3D animation. And I know it’s the first full-length music video produced using the programs I used.
|How long did it take?|
Rick: This is the scary part. I had six weeks to do all the animations for the video, which comprise about two minutes total. But the six weeks is a bit of a falsehood, because it took two weeks to decide on what Bigfoot should look like. Which then took us down to four weeks to get everything done. Due to the various elements used in the video and those time constraints, there was literally no time for tweaking of the animations; what rendered out was what was going to have to be used. So, I like to say that this video is an homage to claymation. Claymation meets 3D, as it were.
|To meet deadline, there are scenes I had to do as stills and then ‘animate’ in the video editing software. We all knew the schedule was massively tight.|
What programs and tools did you use?
Rick: The animation elements were created and rendered in Poser 5 and in Vue 4 Professional. The video was edited in Final Cut HD and the DVD master was created in DVD Studio Pro. Compositing was also done in Final Cut.
|Of all the different 3D graphics software packages available, why did you use Poser and Vue 4 Professional?|
Rick: First, time. I had absolutely no time in which to build characters or elements from scratch in Lightwave (the modeling program I use). Poser 5 gave me the versatility to create and/or modify the characters used — The Freak, Ichiro, Koshini, the old Daz cartoon Santa and Elf, and most if not all on this site will recognize elements from different Marketplace packages -
|- to give them unique looks that fit the style we were going for without taking up inordinate amounts of time. Plus, Jim Ed wanted hair on Bigfoot, so Poser 5’s hair room came to the rescue.|
Regarding Vue 4 Professional, it supports atmospheric animations such as branches blowing in the wind. That was important to me; I wanted to have the backgrounds animated, not static, so Vue Pro was the natural choice.
|Were there any scenes or effects that were difficult to accomplish? If so, how did you resolve it?|
Rick: I tried not to go over four seconds per scene. But one, near the end of the video, was a bear — render time-wise. It’s a scene inside of a room with an elf peering into Santa’s sack. The elf stands up, looks at Bigfoot, who in turn turns to look at Santa. All the while the camera is panning across the room. This comprised 300 frames — ten seconds. That was the last of the animated scenes. I began the render at 9:15a on a Saturday morning, it finished sometime overnight the next Wednesday.
|If I hadn’t removed a lot of the hair elements from the Bigfoot character, it probably would have taken longer. You figure that even the big boys out in Hollywood figure it’s going to take a minimum of 45 minutes per frame when doing animations. So even rendering on my Dual 2-Gig G5 with 8 Gig of RAM, I’m happy with the time it took to render. My blood pressure wasn’t, though!|
Another scene was the blizzard. That was a complete composite using to layers of Photoshop snow and an animations built in Vue Pro.