David Lewandowski was given less than six weeks for creating the music video for the band Friendly Fires – a real challenge!
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An attractive brunette moves with a brisk, coquettish gate through the city streets. The sun is shining and music can be heard. As synthesizer tunes are mixed with the rhythm of the beat, something surprising happens – the woman’s neck turns rubber-like and elongates, bobbing to the music. The camera follows her for a moment and then cuts abruptly away to a street corner from behind which Friendly Fires’ lead singer appears. His head is a display cube made up of five monitors that display a human head. He walks along the street singing and dancing, until he sees the brunette cross the street. He falls in love instantly and hearts are shown on his monitors. He approaches the strange beauty but she wards him off with a push – with devastating results: He’s catapulted dozens of meters through the air. But he quickly stands up, slightly battered, and continues to follow the woman and make his self-destructive advances.
As David Lewandowski was given the job of creating this video, he realized it meant combining several different techniques to successfully create his vision. The lead singer’s monitor head was created entirely in CINEMA 4D. The perfect matching of 3D material and live footage was done using SynthEyes with the help of a special plugin that offers seamless connectivity to CINEMA 4D.
The actor portraying the brunette beauty was scanned in 3D in order to create a matching model for the neck and head animations. A series of photos and special software was used to generate the scan. After a simplified version with fitting UV coordinates was created from the dense 3D grid provided by the scan software, textures were applied and the David could start animating in CINEMA 4D.
Endorphin, a software that enhances physical effects for character animations, was used for the scenes in which the singer flew through the air. This material was then animated and rendered in CINEMA 4D. CINEMA 4D was used for more than processing material from external applications – CINEMA 4D’s own MoGraph, particle effects, BodyPaint 3D and Dynamics were added and fine-tuned until the scenes were just right.
With more than 60 effect shots, the integration of live footage was not only a challenge for special effects but was also a logistical challenge. David remembers: “In the seventh week of production, after we had already exceeded the original deadline, we were having a tough time with a take used to mask out the woman’s head. We were all very frustrated when I discovered that one take had been made that was not included on our checklist. We added the take and were able to quickly complete the scene.”
Final compositing was done in After Effects. The core of work, however, was done in CINEMA 4D. As David states: “I spend more time with this software than I do with my friends or family. CINEMA 4D and I have developed a sort of Stockholm syndrome: It’s true love!”
David Lewandowsky animation web site: