Strap on your headphones before watching this entrancing music video from Dutch studio Onesize for The American Dollar’s “Anything You Synthesize.”
The star of the video isn’t the band (who make no appearances) or a scantily clad go-go dancer (although I wouldn’t have objected), but rather the landscape. Here’s a little more info from Onesize:
After listening to the song over and over, we came to the conclusion that the track felt like “landscape-music” to us.
Seasons, mountains, time-lapsed skies, day, night, drama, decay, cinematic, slow-paced, out of the ordinary… to name a few keywords.
We finally decided to build a looping landscape that would decay during the track. Very simple, but never the less a challenge to us, cos we simple never done such a thing before.
A simple camera movement traveling from left to right during the song, and while it travels we see the landscape decaying from a beautiful fresh mountain-view-landscape into a dead, flat desert.
Also, during this trip we would see all 4 seasons of one year go by, even day and night. So, it actually is a non-linear and a non-chronological time-lapse of a decaying landscape.
This approach speaks volumes about Onesize. Instead of thinking in terms of what they knew they were capable of doing or assessing what the latest software could achieve, they built up their concept in iterative cycles. Then—and only then—they figured out how to actually make it happen.
We had split-up the track in 9 pieces, equally in length. Each piece is one loopable landscape, panning from left to right. Then we also cut the song into 4 seasons and in addition, to make it more complex for ourselves, we also needed 3 smooth transitions from day into a short night.
After preparation we started the actual production. Because of the fact that this was a “personal” Onesize project, we had to work on this during our spare time and in between projects.
The idea was to add some live action (in-camera) effects, like rain, snow, lens flares, dust, etc. but we ended up with a fully CG production.
And it’s always a good idea to allow for a bit of serendipity:
After watching the final piece a couple of times by playing it in loops with the Quicktime player, we accidentially looped it backwards one day.
That was the moment we unanimously decide that we had to reverse the whole piece, starting with the flat dead desert evolving into a green mountain view.
The American Dollar
Design & Animation:
Harm van Zon,