Rocking out with ToonIt
By Sarah Wise
Published on Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
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Formed in 1976 Accept is one of Germany’s most renowned heavy metal bands with over 27 million albums sold worldwide. When Mark Tornillo (former T.T. Quick front man) joined in 2009 they attacked the industry with fresh ideas and a matured outlook on music and as they say on their web site “A new era begins!” With this new direction in mind they called on Dave Blass to give creative input for their new videos and the story of how ToonIt came to be used is interesting. We asked Dave to tell us his side of the story.

“I had been hired by the band ACCEPT to Produce/Direct a video for their upcoming Album “Blood of the Nations”, they were going back and forth between songs and ended up setting on “Teutonic Terror”. For that video, the first for the band in nearly 15 years, we wanted something that felt like it was right out of the 80′s Heavy Metal world.

The Teutonic Terror video was a the heart of a unique Social Network scandal when a fan of the band typed “Accept Rules” into Twitter after watching the video, and thus exposed a back-door bug in the system that resulted in Twitter having to shut down its whole network for several hours… creating a worldwide social media event. As opposed to normal shoots, rather than get behind, we finished early and had half a day to shoot some green screen footage for another song “Pandemic”. There was no “concept” at the time of shooting, just “capture some footage, and figure it out later”

The idea for the Pandemic video started with the idea of telling that story in a cool way. We had looked at Trapcode Form as something to use possibly for Teutonic Terror, but ultimately felt it made our 80′s style video look too modern. From there we looked at ToonIt as a possibility to make a graphic novel style telling of the story. Elements of the “Twitter” story were dropped as the world has a short memory for such things, but the concept of a watching a video as if you were reading a graphic novel was kept.

We initially tried compositing all of the footage and then running it through ToonIt, but we found that the faster motion and switching dynamic of the flames caused havoc with the settings depending on the pattern of the flames. Too much detail on the flames, and you got too much detail on the faces etc. Too little detail on the flames, and you lose the toon effect on the faces. We ended up running each element through the software individually and then compositing them together. Some of the sequences ended up being 4-5 passes.”

Dave Blass is well known for his television and film work, and has been responsible for the award winning and incredibly popular western styled drama Justified as well as Cold Case and ER. He also has a number of films to his credit including Asylum and Overdrive.

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