Back in September, I received an email from Ross Davis, a songwriter in Indianapolis inquiring about a music video. After exchanging a few emails, he commissioned me to make a music video for his winter holiday song, Snow Angels. This is the finished version:
He wanted chalk animation as the dominant look. Chalk animation is one of the most labor-intensive techniques we do in our studio. I suggested combining it with faster techniques such as pixilation. In the end I ended up using chalk animation in the two verses, and a combination of chalk drawings and snow angels made with sheep wool for the chorus.
This was my first project with extensive rotoscoping, a technique to create naturalistic movements by drawing over a pre-recorded video. It was an excruciatingly slow process, but I rather enjoyed it. I spent several years practicing life drawing long ago, and this process reminded me of how enjoyable that was. The part I had difficulty in, however, was erasing the drawings after spending good 4-5 minutes for each—and when I played back the clip and realized it was taking me more than an hour to make one second of it. It felt futile and counter-intuitive, not tangibly satisfying like standing back from a painting. After a while, though, I got used to letting it go, and got into the groove. It was an interesting adjustment to perceive each drawing as a static image while working, but in evaluating it I had to see it in the flow, like painting individual trees in a moving mural of a forest.
The part I like the most, and enjoyed making, is the long instrumental interlude (at 2:53). Because there are no lyrics, I felt I could just have fun with the visuals.
The highlight of this video production, however, is by far having 5 kids work on the big chalkboard drawing of winter scenes. I did not give them any instruction except to request that the entire board be densely filled. It was delightful to watch them create such a wonderland so effortlessly. The drawing transformed the room with a warm, festive atmosphere. The kids were all paid for their effort, too!