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Camp Fear

Zartman, Kline, Iriarte and Haddox. Who can forget four years of squad drills, standing at attention, counting odd numbers out loud, section skits, and of course - “spats, hats and pants?” I came across the video I made for our senior show and had to share it. The quality’s not great (ripped from a VHS tape) - I hope to find the original movie file somewhere so I can get a higher quality version up here. It took me back to watch it - hope it does the same for you.

For those of you who aren’t HHS Sa-WING Marching Band Alums, you probably won’t find much humor in the video - but let me fill you in. Every year our concert band performs a senior show where they highlight a senior (usually by playing a piece of music which features them as a soloist). For our senior show, in addition to a solo performance, Mr. Kline, my band director, approached me about creating a cartoon. He had found this piece of music called Cartoon Capers which was...well...cartoon music. It didn’t have the usual musical structure and when you listened to it, it felt like you were watching a cartoon. He thought it would be really neat for our band to perform the piece of music live - underneath a movie screen showing a cartoon which went to the music. He asked if I were up for the challenge of creating a 5 minute cartoon and I excitedly (and unwittingly) agreed. I’d never done anything like this before and hardly knew where to start.

I listened through a recording of the music a few times, gradually piecing together an idea for a story line - bouncing ideas off my family. Next I began practicing caricatures of the directors until I was happy with the way they looked. Then, it was time to start drawing key frames for the different scenes in the cartoon. I drew them all on standard drawing paper in pencil and inked them (all the black lines in the cartoon are actually my pen lines). Gradually, I filled in the frame gaps by drawing the filler frames in between the key frames. In order to get the placement of everything in the frame to stay relative to the frame before, I cut a 4:3 rectangular template out of thick cardboard and drew frames on each piece of paper. Using the frames, a glass end table and a lamp, I could lay a blank piece of paper over a keyframe, have it lined up correctly and draw the changes to the next frame over the keyframe.

If this write-up were a movie, this is where the fast-paced repetitive-work montage would go.

After all those were done (there must have been a couple hundred drawings) I began scanning them in to our computer. My sister actually helped a HUGE deal with this (hence her thanks in the credits). After I had them all in digital form, I colored each one in Photoshop. For the moving clouds during the rain storm, I actually rendered that in Bryce. Once everything was colored, I began laying out all the frames in Premier. Unfortunately, all my drawings weren’t drawn at a consistent frame rate so when I imported each frame into premier, I had to adjust it accordingly - I couldn’t just paste them all in 1/4 of a second apart from one another. I laid every frame in and matched everything up with my recording of Cartoon Capers.

After it was all complete, rendered, and recorded to a VHS (DVD burners weren’t mainstream yet) the rest was up to Mr. Kline to practice conducting while watching the movie so that he could make sure our band was perfectly in sync with the cartoon. In the end, it all came together well and I think everyone enjoyed it. It was a LOT of hard work, but it’s something I’ll remember the rest of my life.



Instrument: bass guitar

Musically inspired by: U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, Jamiroquai

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