Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Saga of Beowulf - Promo Video

After several weeks of fairly steady work I've finally finished the first promotional video trailer for my debut novel, The Saga of Beowulf. I had actually started working on this project some months back - gathering together all the odds and ends of art that I would need, compiling and arranging them into something vaguely resembling a concept - but kept getting sidetracked with other, less time-intensive marketing efforts to promote this book. But I promised myself I would finish this over my holiday break before I returned work on the 12th, so over the past few weeks I've been putting in a lot of hours on this monster, beating it slowly into shape.

The idea was to string together in overlapping sequences a series of images that would give a rough impression of the story and its setting, mostly through the use of iconic Viking art and other Norse elements like swords and ships to set up a dark and brooding mood. I found the piece of music, after several days of searching, on the Shockwave-Sound website, and paid $30 for full rights to its use. The composition, by Pierre Gerwig Langer, is entitled "Morpheus Calls," and I think it's tense and awe-inspiring. Just the rousing orchestration I was looking for.

I wish I could say my video composition lived up to it, but it was really all that I could do to make it all fit together in some rough semblance of shape. I had a script of sorts that I was working from, with sketched out ideas of the visual sequence, but the dictates of the media quickly did away with all but the most rudimentary outline of my original idea. I did have both the beginning and endings visualized essentially as they are, particularly where the ship sails into the scene that becomes the cover of the book, as well as a few of the combinations of layers that I used; but the remainder was pretty much done by the seat of my pants, with the movement and color scheme of one image series leading inexorably into the next. The timing was the most difficult part to work out, causing me no end of headache, as everything kept unfolding either too slow or too erratic, and changing one element meant I had to shift everything else around it. It's a very tedious process.

Overall I'm happy with it, for a first attempt. I might try another later on, if I find the time, but don't count on it.

Incidentally, YouTube compressed the crap out of the video, so the quality is much lower than how it looks in the original, which I did in Flash. However, since Flash is not universally supported, I have embedded the YouTube version here instead. You can view the Flash version on the website here (click the Promo Videos tab).