Steam Punk style Music Video for Ben Lovett’s EYE OF THE STORM

Check out this awesome stylized steam punk inspired music video for Ben Lovett‘s Eye of the Storm. The director of the film Chris Alender and producer Kris Eber described the project as “the story of a lonely captain who has to unshackle himself from a troublesome past in order to move on to the next chapter in his life.”

Watch the music video below, and tell us what you think!

Here’s some detailed information of the making of the video:

The production consisted of a RED (MX) shoot with Ben Lovett decked out in a fluorescent tape costume against blue screen – and not much else. We were tasked to realize the world around their footage within a total of sixty shots.

We had about twelve weeks to do the work, with two to three artists working at any given time. Wes Ball supervised the effort with the help of Brad Hawkins, Aaron Moorhead, Justin Barber, Mark Molnar, and Joy Horvath. We used this project as a test bed for implementing some new tools and workflows into our normal pipeline. All of the compositing was done in After Effects using a 16bit linear workflow in full HD. We spent a lot of time up front developing a complex overall grade that got us close to final images very quickly. Fortunately, the super stylized look we were going for helped us out considerably. We used Modo exclusively for the final cg renders, something a bit out of the norm for us. The process wasn’t without it’s headaches, but working with it’s incredibly fast preview renderer meant we could light and compose shots very quickly. Typically we’d try to nail the look in the render, along with a few helpful passes like Ambient Occlusion and a Depth Pass.

Animation was the big challenge with Modo, as this isn’t exactly the program’s strong suit. We ended up using MDDs exported out of both Maya and Lightwave for our various dynamics and character animation needs. MDDs are native to Lightwave, but we used David Stripinis’ modomotion3 script to get MDDs out of Maya.

For almost every shot, we transferred the 3D camera out of modo into a 3D After Effects environment. That allowed us quick placement of 2D assets into the 3D shots. This helped with building the cloud environments. We mostly used still images of clouds, but occasionally we were able to slip in some custom cloudtank footage shot on RED by Brad Hawkins. He’ll be making those assets available as downloadable VFX assets, so we’ll keep you posted on that.

By the end, we were able to work very efficiently for a project this complex in such a tight turnaround. Surprisingly, a big reason it worked was our use of Dropbox. It really simplified the management; making sure everyone was working with current assets, not to mention the peace-of-mind knowing we had multiple backups for safety. Be sure to take a look at the vfx progression reel below, along with a nifty little behind-the-scenes video cut by the guys at Soap Box. Enjoy!


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