A long time ago (2009-2010?) Dave Allen from Animation Forum WM asked me to throw in my two pence worth for an article in Imagine Magazine about the relationship between animation and sound. So I thought I might as well share out those two pence before they disappear into the ether.
AFWM – Why do you think animation works so well with music?
Animation lets you do absolutely anything you want, so when it comes to interpreting/accompanying some music you’re limitless. Animation obviously isn’t real-life either, so when people watch it they’re more willing to suspend their disbelief, meaning you can push the boundaries of ‘weird’ or ‘unusual’ a lot more than with live action. Animation can also be used to create purely abstract interpretations of music which can capture the essence of the music in a much more interesting way than more literal imagery can sometimes.
AFWM – What are your all-time favourite animated music videos?
Bit of overload with the choices here but I’m quite indecisive… I think.
Doing stuff no-one would have the balls to do with Lego, although there is some CGI cheating in there. Also shows you don’t need any structure, story or literal interpretation to pull off a video when you’ve got some music to hold it together.
Not really a favourite, but that video took some pulling off.
AFWM – How dependent is your animation on having a good quality soundtrack?
Just about any animation could do with some sound, even if it’s just the atmosphere of an empty room or the rustle of clothes. Sound adds extra information to what you’re watching. You don’t NEED sound for an animation to be good, it just makes making an impression a lot harder. On the flip side, if you have bad sound you’ll potentially ruin all the hard work of the animation. I’ve seen lots of work where that’s happened and it’s just a shame. It makes the animation unwatchable.
In terms of music, I try to make the physical acting do most of the work. Inappropriate music, or even any music can interfere with that acting and make it not as strong. But nearly every animator has had times where a character doesn’t move a pixel for over 5 seconds. Without any sound, that’d just be a picture. With sound it’s an emotion, an event or a story. The same applies to abstract animation. The music gives you extra information to bind everything you see together.
There we go. There’s been a been a huge amount of videos made since that I love and there’s many more live action music videos I love too. Check out Adam Buxton’s BUG round up for more awesome moments in music video history. For any more videos we like, head over to our YouTube Channel or Tumblr.
Aha! Here’s a bonus Take on Me with added literal interpretation lyrics:
It’s been over a week since I got back from my first trip to Annecy and I’m still feeling a little topsy-turvy. By all accounts this happens to most people and that’s exactly why I forced myself along to possibly the world’s best animation gathering.
One of the best parts of the Festival was bumping into so many people from the animation industry who I’ve known for ages but have never actually met in real life. This was particularly easy to do in a tiny medieval town playing host to a relatively small industry of enthusiastic obsessives. The serendipitous fun was also fuelled by manic screenings, friendly hangout areas, private parties, pedalos, delicious food, wine, and occasional blasts of sunshine.
It’s difficult not to be gushing when this was the setting:
This year the focus was on Irish animation, which meant I was introduced to jaw-achingly good An Inside Job made by Aidan Hickey in 1987. I’ve kept the image from the programme as a motivational poster for when I’m brushing my teeth.
And finally, this wasn’t the first or last Gimp on a leash I saw in Annecy. Maybe there was a convention. Also, why is that man with the sunglasses buried up to his neck? His girlfriend looks worried. Too many questions.
So this is basically getting the green light from Cartoon Network then, yeah? Great, thanks.
If you need any more convincing, Phallic is an oblivious plucky nerd who keeps being called things like “Wiener” by the school bully, Bonehead. His sidekick, Freud, provides the slapstick comedy by making obvious slips and silly phalluses. I mean mothers! Faces!!
I tried out YouTube’s ‘transcribe audio’ feature on Touching Bum and was pleasantly surprised to find out the sketch is actually a political thriller entitled Touching Phone which explores surrealism at the centre of the clash between social decay and globalisation.