Cartoons. Or, Putting all that goddamn authorial angst aside for minute and having some fun.

Writers are a dour bunch, they more or less have to be — that’s the part you play. But musicians – though they have their tortured moments – get to have quite a bit for more fun. This video was one of the most fun things we’ve done as a band.

 

I mean, it’s hard to take yourself seriously when you’re literally being cartoonish.

The idea was all Jeremy Roberts, who – in addition to being a really good bass player – has also pretty much taken the reins of our artistic direction (i.e. making videos). For the last couple of years he’s been working on his Master’s degree in digital animation and this was a chance for him to put some of that knowledge to use.

The live-action video was shot around Wilmington but the animation took place at a basement lab at NC State. That’s where Jeremy worked on his degree and that’s where the magic happened.

We took a day and drove up to Raleigh where we were rigged up in motion capture devices. It was a little surreal to see ourselves translated into 3D computer figures in real time and a little tricky to get the hang of, but we had a good time.

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A repeating glitch caused our right feet to become glued to the virtual floor. One attempt to fix the glitch severed the digital foot and caused us to (virtually) float away. Apparently that was the gravity foot.

What you won’t see in the finished video are a series of computer glitches, including one that caused our singer Pete’s digital avatar to break free of gravity – except his right foot, which stayed anchored to the virtual floor. ┬áPete performed the entire song while slowly being raptured into the digital heavens.

Another glitch forced flipped horizontal and vertical axes — which is how I ended up laying on the floor, playing air-guitar on a metal pole.

Also: you also won’t see how tightly the motion-capture units were strapped around our groins. But I assure, those fuckers were strapped on tight.

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Pete, strapped in but good.

This video was Jeremy’s baby and, ever the perfectionist, he probably would have worked for another month – or five or six – on it until he got it the way he wanted. But the rest of us, well, we were all pretty happy with it.

A special thanks to┬áJulie Lineberry, Hilary Smith, Monica Nguyen and Nat Sumpunkulpak and the faculty at NC State for making the video possible — and for dealing with our incredibly juvenile behavior during the process.

Puppet rock (new EML video for ‘Love Control’)

Cementing his new role in our band, Jeremy Roberts did a lot (i.e. most) of the work for this video (along with his wife, who did the outfits).

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Puppets? Puppets.

To shoot this video we had to spend hours on our knees, hunched over at weird angles. The attic where we filmed got warm – and then hot – and we were a sweaty mess the whole time. When it was over, we were a little drunk and slightly stoned and totally exhausted.

Ben (crouched over in pain), Pete (smiling, delirious), Steve (naked) and Jeremy (too close to the camera for his own good.)

Ben (crouched over in pain), Pete (smiling, delirious), Steve (naked) and Jeremy (too close to the camera for his own good.)

But it was well worth it.

Check it out: