At the end of June, I decided I wanted to do some sort of celebration for Canada’s 150th birthday. 150 years ago, Canada went from being a bunch of colonies to being a Dominion, which means that it’s part of the British Common Wealth, but is mostly independent.
The making of my “O Canada” video…
How Internet Patriotism became Japanese Surrealism!
I had a few ideas for what kind of video I could make:
- Rick Mercer explaining the Canadian Government
- The opening to Mr. Dressup
- William Shatner’s “O Canada“
I was musing about the advantages and disadvantages of each video when I checked the calendar. I had misjudged the amount of time I had to make the video. I did not have a week. I had one day.
William Shatner’s O Canada it was! I already knew the audio well because a show I was working near used it as part of their program. It was short – only five minutes long – and simple. All I really needed was one guy standing on a stage and talking.
First, I needed a stage. I immediately went to our very own Learn MMD Auditorium stage because it’s simple and clean.
Second, I needed a guy. This was a bit more difficult to figure out because I was not sure if I wanted to imitate the look of the original video. Eventually, I chose Hzeo’s Formal Kaito because I’d already downloaded it.
Third, I needed the audio. I found a shorter version of the original clip on YouTube and downloaded it.
Analyzing this video gave me the basics for the camera set up. There were two shots. One was a full body shot from the front, and another was a bust-up at an angle. The video switched between one and the other. There was no camera movement. Easy.
I didn’t want to motion trace the video. Motion tracing would be much slower and more complicated, and I wanted to make the video my own.
I worked very quickly. I didn’t use interpolation curves very much, and the movement was pretty basic. I didn’t even recolour the ground shadow. I would not consider this my best work, but I had a deadline to meet.
I finished it and uploaded it to YouTube on June 30th.
Because videos seem to get more views on Nico Nico Douga, I uploaded it there too. I didn’t put subtitles on the video. This was partially because I thought it would take too long and partially because I thought it was easy to understand.
There was a small but notable reaction. On YouTube, the video got two thumbs up and one thumbs down.
On Nico Nico Douga, the reaction was different. It was added to a few people’s favorites. People left comments on it. I don’t read Japanese, so I put them through Google Translate.
Initially, I thought there was a mistake with the translation. After fiddling with the translation options, I realized the confusion did not come from a translation issue.
They said, in summary, “Lol! This is so surreal.”
How could they say that?
It was easy to understand!
I was so confused.
Then, I realized it was easy to understand if:
- You can follow casual English sentence structures with many parentheticals
- You know the Canadian national anthem
- You understand who William Shatner is
- You understood what the jokes were
Most Japanese people didn’t meet any of those requirements. They just saw the “Rankin Bass” level of animation quality and heard a series of words strung together by nonsense.
Next time I upload something to Nico Nico Douga, I will have to add subtitles. If I could find a Japanese translation or somebody was kind enough to write one, I could write them in Japanese, but English subtitles could work too. At least then, people will be able to figure out what the people in the video are saying.
I hope these musings are useful to some of you. I will be writing more soon. Have a wonderful day!
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