The beat goes on (ENG)

By day Mike Winkelmann is a graphic designer who works mostly on projects for the Web. Outside of his day job, though, he is better known as Beeple, the ingenious filmmaker and self-taught 3D artist who offers all of his source files for free through Creative Commons to anyone who would like to use them.

After earning a degree in computer programming from Purdue University and then realizing that’s not at all what he wanted to do, Winkelmann became Beeple in 2003. He named himself after a stuffed bear toy that made a noise in reaction to light. “I thought it was great that whoever made the toy related sound and light in terms of visuals,” he explains.

Winkelmann’s interest in pairing images with sound is evident in his work, particularly the instrumental video series, which he’s been working on for the past nine years. His latest music video IV:10 (Instrumental Video Ten), was animated using MAXON’s CINEMA 4D and, as always, he composed the electronica score himself.

The result is a brightly colored, upbeat world teaming with turquoise blobs and other oddball shapes against a backdrop of blue sky and rainbows. Everything is timed to the beat of the music.

It took Winkelmann nearly a year to complete IV:10, which is just about the same amount of time he spent creating IV:9, a short film in which a robotic drummer seemingly churns out a perfectly timed percussive set of sounds on some snare drums as miniature helicopters sputter by.

Videos 9 and 10 were the first in the series for which Winkelmann used C4D. When he started the series in 2003 he used Sony Vegas before moving on to After Effects. Making the leap to C4D gave Winkelmann the opportunity to create 3D visuals to sync with the instrumental sounds that he composes. There’s just one simple rule: Whenever something happens in the audio, something has to happen in the video. “Everything is animated,” he says. “Every kick drum, every hi-hat, every snare is animated, which is why it takes so long to create these videos.”

The camera never moves in IV:10. Instead, it is the world that rotates. Winkelmann brought each instrument into CINEMA 4D so he could line up key frames with the wave form in order to sync the music and animation. The trick was making sure that as the world moved the key frames were right in front of the camera.

Winkelmann’s IV:10 looks like one long cut, and it is. But he had to break it into two C4D files because the video was huge and there was so much geometry in the scene. “Even with this much geometry CINEMA never crashed and I was pushing it to its absolute limits in terms of how much information was in the scene file,” he recalls.

Check out IV:9 on Vimeo:

Check out the full-length feature on Beeple’s IV:10 at Gomediazine.

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