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Adventures in Lo-Fi: Highlights from SxSW Music Video program

March 21, 2011

[guest post by Owen Katz, Senior Integrated Producer at JWT]

This year’s SXSW Music Video program featured “a range of classic, innovative and stylish work showcasing the scope of music video culture.” The low tech, lo-fi videos, created for little money and/or without sophisticated production tools, were the most remarkable. They prove that compelling content does not have to be expensive, elaborate productions.

U.S. Girls “Red Ford Radio” dirs. Jacqueline Castel, Preston Spurlock

This lo-fi animation was created on a photocopier and shows collage animation of 1950s – 60s era print advertisements featuring women, domestic appliances and electronics. This video’s simplicity makes it more poignant, highlighting the ever-changing and never-changing aesthetic/style of advertising throughout the years. It’s using popular culture as a counter culture statement (nothing new) but has stand-out power when compared to the hyper-produced videos of today that look more like cell phone commercials that artistic statements.

Hollerado “Americanarama” dir. Greg Jardin

This is a single take Hollywood Squares-style neo-8 bit, live action animation. The director said it took 1 day to set up the scaffolding, 1.5 days to rehearse and 1 day to shoot. They shot 12 takes, of those 8 were usable; of those 3 were actually editable. This is the 2nd to last take.

The director and AD used After Effects for the animatic, then made commands for each square based on hundreds of cues for the duration of the song. They did playback at half speed and the performers all had their commands on excel sheets posted at their feet. You can see them looking down the entire time.

Honorable Mentions in Lo-Fi:
Humans “Bike Home” dirs. Peter Ricq, David Poirier
Puppet cops bust a house party in Vancouver… kinda.

Toby Goodshank “Track 5/Untitled” dir. Preston Spurlock

How can you make the Hindenburg explosion fun? Draw a happy face on it and put the film to lyrics like, “I’m gonna jerk your boyfriend off.”

Eyes Lips Eyes “Pretty” dir. Collin Mapp (halfway down the page)
Huge baby kidnaps a band.

Best of Hi-Fi videos:
Cathy Davey “Little Red” dir. Lorcan Finnegan

This mixed media Little Red Riding Hood is colorful, multi-textured and fun. The performer is a singing and dancing lollipop-shaped little thing and the big mean wolf has a paper mache head. The backgrounds and sets have a hand made feel, augmented by subtle, stylized animated textures and the occasional hand puppet.

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