Wave Machines video codec wrecking
I recently helped director Jack Whiteley on his music video for electro-pop band Wave Machines, doing an interesting little job as part of the post-production process on new single ‘I Hold Loneliness’. The video explores the use of digital and analogue trickery (much of it provided by Venya Krutikov) to colour, distort and animate the band members faces. Jack asked me to create some codec glitch effects for one short section of song during the breakdown.
Although I’ve run a workshop exploring the principles of codec wrecking, I’ve only used it once before as part of my own work, in the final sequence to my Noah’s Ark film. It is an odd process for a video-maker to work with, as it is a precision operation that yields surprising results. The particular compression and keyframe surgery do not easily anticipate the final outcome. In addition, the effects are dramatic, and yet no filters or fx plugins are used – just a couple of compression tools. It’s nice to work away from the FCP timeline and play with the material itself. I used ffmpeg and avidemux to produce several different treatments of the original sequence of singer Tim for Jack to include before his final post. The video below shows the original rough edit sequence, followed by 3 treatments fro the codec wrecking process.
If you want to know how to play with codecs, then you can follow this cracking tutorial series (note – if you’re using OS Lion, then you will likely need updated versions of FFmpeg and avidemux).