Sunday, 16 August 2009

The Sacrilegious Scorn + Vampire Hunter D

Video Editing: 3 music videos - a retrospective (Part 2 of 3)

--- Project Info ---
Track Title: The Sacrilegious Scorn
Artist: Dimmu Borgir
Film: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2001)
Completion Date: Dec 2007


This was my second major video editing project and this time I was a lot more ambitious. First off, I actually did almost all of the planning before even starting the editing as I knew exactly what I wanted to set out to do.

I had tried live action previously so this time I wanted to use an animated film to see how it would differ. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust was ideal for me as it has been one of my favourite animated films since seeing it years ago and I knew the film pretty well - which helps considerably when you come to plan which sequences and shots you want to use.

The vampire imagery of the film went well with Dimmu Borgir's 'The Sacrilegious Scorn', a black metal song tinged with gothic and melodic elements. There were a couple of songs I could have used from their album In Sorte Diaboli, but I chose this one as there were many bits in the song that I could play with in regards to editing as well as distinct shifts in its structure and mood.
(note: At the time I also picked the song because at the time there was no official music video for it. A few months later the official video did come out as Dimmu Borgir decided to release the song as a single. Why not peep that video on youtube for a comparison? ;) )

Story-wise, half way through the planning stage I had an epiphany.
I had always wanted to include the love story between the characters of Meier Link (the main vampire of the film) and Charlotte (the 'kidnapped' girl) to some degree - although this was only really a subplot of the film.
The main character, simply called 'D' takes up most of the screen time and the majority of the set pieces include him to some degree. Currently, on Youtube they are countless anime music videos and many of Vampire Hunter D. This would usually have put me off, but at the same time I was pretty sold on using the film.
And then it came to me...
'What if...' I said to myself, 'this video focused on just Meier Link and Charlotte... and D wasn't even in it at all...!'
This would serve me in two ways. Firstly, to distinguish my videos from ALL the other Vampire Hunter D videos out there by not showing scenes of D at all; and secondly, it would allow me to take the scenes with Meier Link and Charlotte and use them to craft my own narrative that differs from what actually happens in the film.

So there you have it - the story of Meier Link and Charlotte presented in the video is pretty different from the one in the movie - those who have seen the film previously will definitely notice this.
I also had the additional idea of having the character of Gilbert bookending their story as if to make out that the whole thing is a drug induced dream that progressively gets wilder - another concept that is completely different to the film.

Anyway, here are a few notes on key bits of the video that are of interest:

- The bats flying in at the intro - these are actually different scenes from the movie stuck together in a single sequence - its regrettable that the resolution drops and results in some 'blocky' bats when it gets particularly hectic but that was unavoidable. The bat noise was taken from a particular scene in the movie and lengthened to cover the whole sequence.

- Meier Link baring his teeth to 'aah' out of the moon. (Note: with the exception of the bats at the very beginning all sounds in the video exist in the original Dimmu Borgir song).

- The first bookend featuring Gilbert getting injected as he "enters" the dream. It works well with music and is re-arranged interestingly from the original context of the movie.

- The heavy drums coming in with the carriage thundering on was a good combination I think. It sets the tone for Meier Link's arrival. Similarly, the cuts to him laying dormant inside and the beat hitting of the crosses being crushed and water freezing was particularly effective.

- Conversely, the first melodic part of the song heralds the onscreen arrival of Charlotte, as Meier Link comes to get her.

- The choral part coming in when Charlotte is in front of the mirror - introducing the love story element between the two. I like the lingering shots of them here. In the film this an indication of their mutual love. In the context of my video it can be seen as Meier's vampire seduction of Charlotte.

- The carriage driving away marking the 'abduction' of Charlotte. Fits perfectly with the music - as does the subsequent sequence involving the carriage driving up to the castle and into its grounds.

- Meier Link speaks! With animation, at times the heads are static and just the mouth is animated to make the character speak. With clever cutting and the repetition of certain frames, I was able to make Meier Link match the voice speaking on the track.

- The zoom through the mirror on beat.

- The piano part coming in as Charlotte starts to ascend the stairs - also Meier baring his fangs (all on the original track).

- Cutting away to the flowers on the coffin (taken from the ending of the movie) when Charlotte is being bitten - symbolising death.

- Gilbert crying out - hitting that scream but also to remind the viewers we are still in his 'dream'.

- With the arrival of Carmilla at the end (representing the downfall of Charlotte) I wanted lots of images of vampires and teeth cutting in as the 'dream' reaches its pitch.

- Carmilla opening her eyes on beat.

- The 'talking' trick is repeated here for the old man.

- Carmilla crawling towards the viewer and the showing Gilbert's frozen eyes at the end finishes the video abruptly after the climax. The limp hand holding the syringe falling to the floor was always the way I wanted to finish the video since I first thought of using Gilbert as the bookend. Very effective as a final image.

On the whole an improvement on the last video.
Although the preparation did take a long time, I am pleased with the end result - particularly with being able to craft my own narrative from the available material.

Here is the video for your viewing pleasure:

Coming next:

The Truth of Edge + Vexille
Video Editing: 3 music videos - a retrospective (Part 3 of 3)