Thursday, June 26, 2008

CageMatch 6/12/08

Hmm. Today is the 26th, and I'm just getting around to doing an entry on a show that took place on the 12th. Either I'm getting really lazy, or I've been really busy.

A bit of both, really. And not so much lazy as just tired. I'm still getting used to the new job--I work a little later, getting off ostensibly at 6:00, and I'm working a lot harder than I did with the Town. I tend to work late, and then I get home and am a bit exhausted mentally if not physically. F'r'instance, I came home today and thought I'd lay down for a bit with the laptop and get caught up on RSS feeds. Next thing you know, I wake up and figure I've slept ten hours and it's 6 am--nope, it's midnight. So here I am at quarter to one, drinking lemonade and trying to get relaxed so that I might sleep again.

Okay, enough whining. On to the main event! Check out the video here. You might note that this is on my own YouTube account, rather than DSI's. That's because the version on the DSI page is actually a bit wonkity, as I was rushed and the lipsynching got screwed up between Flash and Final Cut. This version is fixed so it's a bit smoother. You might also want to click the "watch in high quality" button on the YouTube page.

I probably worked harder on this video than I have on any since the famed Night Of The Living Improv video with its animated linocuts. This one might've even been more work. Once we determined that Doom Buddies was playing CageMatch, Remi and I started brewing up ideas. It all started with the picture I had in my head for a Doom Buddies logo, featuring Remi and Joe leaping up towards each other in a sort of "high-five" motion. Remi came up with the genius idea that they'd both be doing crossed "thumbs up", their hands forming a lowercase "d" and "b". Subtle, but fabulous. (That logo eventually came out to be awesome.)

From there, the idea morphed into creating The Doom Buddies as a sort of Venture Bros/Jonny Quest like tv show. Then I figured that if The Doom Buddies had their own show, the wacky Banana Breakup boys should have their own show too! And it should be like Scooby Doo! And since it was my friend Brantley's birthday the week before, and he's a big Scoob fan, he should be in it! So that's why Brantley is behind the Witch Doctor mask (Brantley loves him some Scooby Witch Doctor!)

I rotoscoped the animation for the BB segments. We had pretaped the segment where Kit and Eitan are watching tv at Kit's house, but I forgot to shoot the material for rotoscoping. So I called Kit frantically late one night and asked him to use his little digital still camera to video him and Eitan doing the post-show segment. Not even a question in his mind, he just taped what I asked him to. He sent that along to me, and then the next day, I called again and asked him to get a group together and pretend to unmask someone and then say "Old Man Brantley". That at least netted a quizzical laugh. Even that one was too far out for Kit to not question. Both segments turned out great and were fun to animate.

I spent a long time on the lipsynching. This is the first time I've tried full hand-drawn animation, and I wanted to do the best I could. I was terribly irked when I went to export the animation from Flash and bring it into Final Cut, as there was a lot of frame skipping and my hard work was for naught. There was no time to fix it for the show, but as outlined above, this version is smoother.

The Doom Buddies opening was even more work. I had it all in my head, and just needed to find a way to get it out onto video. I got together some friends to collaborate with and split up the duties. First I got together with Remi and Joe and we did a pretape and photoshoot over where Joe works. Remi used some posed shots I took to draw the figures for the Doom Buddies logo, which I later took and fleshed out into what you saw in the link above. We also posed some shots for the interstitials with the Buddies running away from the lava man and hangin' out in the comic shop. I described what I wanted them to look like, and Remi painted them in Photoshop. His lava man picture was so awesome, I had a print made to hang on my wall. There was also to be an underwater scene with Remi in a Daffy-Duck-like greedy pose with a pearl and a giant clam, while Shaggy-like nervous Joe looked back to see creepy frogmen coming towards them, but we ran out of time. While at Joe's workplace, we also took some video of the boys running like idiots, which I used for the silhouette run cycle used in the video.

My friend Mel drew all the villains that the boys are running in front of, the mummy, the pirate, and the space gorilla. I cleaned them up a bit and did the colouring.

The halftoned duotones that introduce Joe and Remi are also ideas I had early on. I actually took those pictures before anything else was done. I liked the idea of three-frame animation with that coloured halftone look, with a object flying from the guy's hand to fill the screen. For some reason, I could just picture Joe Stanton with this crazy look on his face with his arm outstretched, a 20-sider flying into the camera. And it turned out just like I pictured.

The backgrounds during the BB segment are from Scooby Doo, and the music cues there are from Jonny Quest. The Doom Buddies theme is from the KPM Library, the same source for all the music from the 1960s Spiderman cartoon.

Oh, and by the way, I have no idea what "Adventure just made friends with danger" is supposed to mean. That was just something I typed up off the top of my head as a bumper between the voiceover and the start of the Doom Buddies show, but now it amuses me terribly. I want t-shirts with the Doom Buddies logo on the front and that text on the back.

There are more stills from the video here.

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