Video: Opa Opa

Video: Opa Opa

A music video I made for The Ray Mann Three. Using limited animation techniques, the video incorporates elements of the band’s gig posters (which were also designed by me).



These Things Usually Begin With Beer: Making the ‘Opa Opa’ Music Video:

July 2009

As inspiration hit me at the pub, I reached for my felt-tip pen and some coasters…

The theme: Diagrams of Optimism and Motivation.

I think in black and white. My way of “cheating” colour into my work is via tints. Below is me working out the key to faking colour this time around:

For this music video, I wanted a fast-paced, non-linear edit of vignettes, which each had a little narrative arc that would be interrupted and then returned to. Each vignette should be very quick, cheap and nasty to make – each with one simple idea, each one reiterating the theme in its own way:

Then to organise all these random little vignettes, I drew up a score of the song. This also helped me to help me work out: which ideas would fit in the video and where; what I’d need to cut; and how much more I’d need to generate:

Each vignette has three acts. Each act is doodled on a post-it note. And each post-it note is then moved around the score until things are sitting where they need to. Then I just have to create the little vignettes, one by one, ticking each one’s post-it note as I go:

I decided to animate elements from some of the gig posters I’d designed previously – I’d already done the work of generating those elements, so why not use them again, in this context? For example, the star character of one Christmas show gig poster, made for a fun, unexpected thing to throw into the video:


And here he is, brought to life through limited animation techniques, in the original unedited vignette of this scene:

Not being an animator, I relied on limited animation techniques and simply-designed elements. Here is the complete library of parts for the video’s protagonist:

At one point, I’d envisioned a video that consisted entirely of the protagonist interacting with the lyrics of the song. The template I built for that idea only appears in fragments at the very start of the final video:

Stepping back to look at the score / paper edit (literally stepping back: these diagrams, sketches and notes covered an entire wall of my studio for the months I spent working on this video), I realised there was actually an overall narrative arc that would need to be made stronger to provide a context for all the smaller ones. And then, in response to a friend’s question (“So why is the little man so afraid of the arrows?”), I doodled the single idea that turned the whole mess into a three-act play:

And so the final music video for ‘Opa Opa’ was born:


More gig poster designs over here.