Video: Opa Opa

A music video I made for The Ray Mann Three – a motion design piece, incorporating elements of the band’s gig posters (which were also designed by me).

Video directed and animated by Ray Wassef.

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.