Music video with Synfig animation

Hi everybody,

besides my regular job, in my 2nd life I am a musician composing & producing my own songs and music videos. I always dreamed of including animations in my videos and 2 months ago I became active. I searched for a suitable software, got stuck with Synfig and started to realize my first project (a mixture of real and animated sequences). It is called “Der See” meaning “The lake” in English, but anyway music should be a universal language.
I would appreciate any kind of constructive feedback, may it be negative or positive (although the ladder one is preferred :slight_smile: ). If you should have questions on details, I’ll do my best to provide such information (but since I am quite busy with my regular Job, please accept my delayed reply). So here is the video:

Kind regards from southwestern Germany
says: Kellerkind

Good job. Nice atmosphere & mood.

The rest of my post is mostly critical, but that’s because i’m generally more inclined to write critique. Also, i’m only writing in detail about visuals. Hopefully i’m not doing too much nitpicking and my feedback may be useful.

First watch impressions (roughly in order of appearance): animation is “cheap”, but smart enough to make that not very irritating; and amount of animation makes it interesting to watch. Zooming is jerky (seems to be common with Synfig, i think). Next, the contrast between animation and real world video - the style is completely different (more on that later) and the first cut back to real world is without transition. But then the parallel between the two worlds is caught and that is of course cool. The sync moment at ~1:54 seems to be too short to really sink in, but good enough to be noticed. Finally, i notice that the animation is in one place, but at different times, and the real world is in more different places, but mostly with the same light & time of year.

And now for some deeper analysis.

As i mentioned, the contrast between the animation & real world is a bit too much and i think there might be a way to reconcile the two without too much additional work. Just making transitions longer and including common coloring (not sure how it’s technically called, but can be achieved by putting a semi-transparent color clip that fades in&out around the transition) would improve things a little bit. Of course, having similar (or alternatively nicely contrasting) geometry of the transition frames would also help.

Another thing is color balance in animation regardless rl video. Might be my personal preference, but i liked night & winter parts more than the rest. Palette of too saturated, contrasting colors (and most importantly not related in any pleasant way) doesn’t look especially good.

And finally, some nitpicks. Bear sprite changes at ~1:19 looks out of place. Maybe it would look better without fade, or perhaps with timeskip (like ~3:16) effect in place of pseudo-smooth transition. Multi-way zooms like at ~0:40-0:51 might look better without stops (perhaps using path following can be help). Reflection in the water is doing more harm than good: it is not clear enough what it is at first sight and on second sight it isn’t that accurate.

Thanks a lot for the extremely detailed feedback caryoscelus: this is very much appreciated! It’s well understood that you are mainly inclined to write critique, but at least your first sentence leaves no doubts :slight_smile:
Cut back to real world without transition (I guess you mean transition via fade): actually I do these things deliberately, mainly depending on the current position of the music track. At least in my personal interpretation, there are moments in songs where a sharp cut is more suitable and others where some fading is the better choice, but this may (as most things) also be a question of personal taste. Yes, I also felt, catching the parallels of both worlds, building a virtual bridge between them would be a good stylistic device and am happy to hear that this idea works.

Regarding the contrast between animated and real world: my initial gut instinct was that trying to copy the real world would fail anyway and rather give the impression “he tried but failed”. Therefore I made it as different (in particular coloring) that nobody would even suspect it shall be a simulation of the real world but rather is its own world (let’s say a dream world). In my understanding this is not in contradiction with the above mentioned “virtual bridge” since here I rather talk about optics than characters or emotions. In particular night and sun set have been a lot of work (I guess/hope in my 2nd Synfig project I’ll find smarter/more efficient ways to realize such stuff).

Thanks a lot, also for the nitpicks, which prove that you really took the time, watched and analyzed the video in detail.

Best regards,

I agree there are moments when sharp cuts are appropriate (i may not agree about all the places were appropriate for that, but that’s another question). However, unless it’s a really shocking moment, i think there should be either something common in the transitional pieces or some anticipation for the change. Fading is just the simplest way to make common bits, but not necessarily the best.

So, for example first cut into real world is totally justified musically, but there is little visual hint for a change. One thing i would probably do in that place if i would be limited to editing existing footage is add zoom cut (since it retains much of the picture) on the strum showing musicians closely. Then the cut to real world on vocal would not be as unexpected and thus feel less abrupt. E.g. the cut at ~1:55 feels better because (despite a little unsync in head turns) the viewer expects to see some change.

I realize that trying to fully copy real world or instead cartoonize real world would be hard to do. Still, i have a feeling that animated part could have a more balanced color scheme (which might end up also being far from real world, but more in harmony with it).

You’re welcome :wink:

Hi, His music is free?