The Sad Song
by Fredo Viola


Flash Video 5.3Mb
(high-res video click here)

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The Sad Song started out as an improvised melody and counter melody after I learned that my dog had cancer. The improv remained on my hard drive for nearly two years undeveloped.

In March my family found out that my father had cancer, and we spent the following month and a half by his side at the hospital, where he died. I had not been doing any music for probably a month after he died and I had really buried my emotions. When I returned to my studio I decided to finish the track. It was amazing, the melody acted like those floatation devices used to bring heavy sunken objects up from the bottom of the ocean, and up came my emotions.

The development of the video was a chance to realize an idea that I'd had for a while. My music had become more and more about multi-layered vocals. But having graduated from NYU film school studying to be a director, I always wanted to SEE those vocal lines. So one day I worked out five lines, set up the camera, and shot them from start to finish in 15 second intervals. By the end of the day I had the whole song with all five vocals side by side in AfterEffects.

The next part of the process was to shoot the imagery. I wanted to have it start at dawn in the weeds, and drift slowly upwards into the day, slowly gaining speed as it moves into the modern world of transportation, and blurs in speed, until it returns to the quiet late afternoon light. It was a pleasure shooting this part. I would just pop out on my bike if I had an idea. And the train footage was shot on the train I take to get to NYC.

The part that fascinates me the most is the effect of offsetting horizontal movement graphically and temporally. It seems so mysterious, to be able to visually sync up planes of action, while other deeper or more shallow planes are distorted temporily and do not sync, creating interesting patterns. This is an effect that I am very excited to dig a bit deeper into with my next video.

Fredo Viola