Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cover of "Fake Plastic Trees," Parts 1-18 of 18

I finally finished presenting all 18 parts of my cover of Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees" (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18). One of these days, I'll have to stitch all 18 parts together and upload the entire thing on YouTube, or somewhere like that. Since I really have nothing else to write about on the 5th of the month, I will quickly muse on what exactly inspired/possessed me to produce the final six short videos for the song. The first 12 were covered in my previous post.

13. Turn and run, from the lyrics. I videotaped my dog Kate running toward me. I stitched together two shots. The first was filmed later, at 60 frames per second, so I could reasonably use slow motion on a 60 fps shot than a normal 30 fps shot. The second was filmed before, at 30 fps, but I liked the ending of my dog licking the camera lens area. I added some effects to almost look like she's running from a story book and breaking through to the real world, or at least that's what I think it looks like.

14. I don't usually take selfies, but when I do, they're as weird as hell.

15. It's Big Blue, the daytime sky, with the clouds rolling by, in fast-motion.

16. If I could be who you wanted, from the lyrics, with a bad pun with the imagery. In late January, I parked my car near some bushes, with a hive of worker bees gathering nectar and pollen. I had a camera with a relatively long lens with me, so I took about 100 photos. This pseudo-stop motion quasi-animation used up most of the photos.

17. This was a less-weird video shoot with my dog Kate, with the same basic lighting setup as my weird selfie video (part 14).

18. This was basically everything before, repeated twice, with a trippy mirroring effect: The first 25 frames are the first 17 parts in fast-motion, the next 25 frames is part 17 in fast-reverse, the next 25 frames is part 16 in fast-reverse, the next 25 frames is part 15 in reverse, and so on, and so forth -- if any of that makes sense. It's just a summary of the previous parts of the song.

It was an interesting experiment in Instagram filmmaking, and I might do it again sometime in the future. Some videos proved more popular than others; it might be the hashtags I used, the still-frame used to represent each individual video, how well/not well I played each section of the song, or the time of day/day of the week I posted any given video. In any case, here is the order of popularity for all 18 parts, as of this posting, which is worth investigating if one is to identify potential target audiences:

Part 8: LEGO Surgery (57 likes)

Part 4: Puppy Laser (42)

Part 14: Weird Selfie (38)

Part 7: Burrito (37)

Part 18: Trippy Summary (36)

Part 17: Dog "Selfie" (35)

Part 13: Dog Run (33)

Part 12: LEGO Concert (32)
Part 1: Watering Can (32)

Part 5: Pouring Milk (29)

Part 3: Freeway (25)

Part 15: Big Blue (24)
Part 6: Drum Machine (24)

Part 11: Cookie Splash (23)
Part 10: Diablo III (23)

Part 2: Fake Bass (22)

Part 16: Bees (21)

Part 9: Traffic (19)

If I wanted to get this down to a formula, I would have to investigate the day of the week, the time of day, the hashtags used, etc., as mentioned earlier. In broad strokes, it seems that hard work with fun toys -- stop-motion LEGO animation -- has a large target audience. In fact, at least one other Instagram user has taken this video (without my permission, but at least linking back to me with the @ protocol), and has received hundreds of 'likes' and dozens of comments. Cute puppies doing cute things seems to be popular, as well. Weird, shirtless selfies are bronze medal material -- why, exactly? Food is a close fourth place.

My next video series will probably have a combination of LEGO, canine cuteness, artsy narcissism, and food porn. Hopefully people will tune in, and if not, at least I get to say that I can record complete, competent (?) cover songs with the set-up pictured above -- one take, all instruments at once, no overdubs, no Autotune, and no personal computers (okay, a little bit o' reverb, busing, and mastering later on).

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