What’s Up with the Odyssey Video?

Odyssey is due to premiere their first team video on Sunday, October 12 in Las Vegas, while everyone’s in town for the Interbike trade show.I don’t know about you, but with the team of dudes they have riding for them, I’m looking forward to it. Rich Hirsch is handling the filming and editing duties, so we stopped by his place to see how things were going.

What’s the concept behind the video?
Each dude gets to pick a city in North America, go there for a week, film their part, and they’re done. Most of the guys probably have to film for their frame or bigger sponsor, and they usually want to film for like two years or something (for that). This is a way to keep the timing under control.

Who went where?
Gary Young did Vancouver, (British Columbia), I did Los Angeles, Adam Banton did Hawaii--I don’t remember what island; I don’t know how that stuff works (laughter). Mike Aitken did Salt Lake City, Jimmy LeVan did Seattle, Chase filmed in Canada, Scott Foster did Las Vegas, Jim Cielencki did Atlanta...I can’t think of the others.

So you’ve been able to travel all around to those places?
It’s a week of straight filming; it’s still awesome, but it’s pretty hectic. I’ve filmed every part except my own, that I can remember. Chase (Gouin) had somebody film him, and Martti (Kuoppa) had someone film him.

Who filmed your part?
Shad Johnson.

Rich Hirsch in his home office.  credit: Kevin McAvoy

Besides the one-week filming thing, are there any other ways the Odyssey video will be different?
We didn’t use any titles. All the titles are real; it’s a sign, or it’s painted on...there’s no computer-generated titling. It’s just something we wanted to do to make it a little different.

How long have you been working on the video?
Since February. It premieres in a week, and I’m still working on it. If there aren’t any loose ends, we’ll have copies a week after Interbike.

What problems are you running into now?
Just little ideas for intros that we haven’t come up with yet.

Odyssey’s Jim Bauer is creating the intro for the video, and it’s a pretty big undertaking. If you’ve seen the animated Odyssey commercial in Props, you’ll have an idea of what the intro will look like. Jim has to create a crapload of drawings by hand for that stuff, so we decided to see what kind of time he was putting into it.

How many drawings did you have to do for the commercial?
500.

Did it become more involved than you had originally anticipated?
I didn’t realize how many drawings it would be for such a short length of time--the commercial was only a minute long. I really wanted to do it, but I didn’t know anything about animation. I just sat down with Mouser (Aaron Nardi) and said, “if we can animate each frame, we could turn them back into moving video.”

What part did Mouser play?
He made the video template that I made the drawings from in the beginning. Then at the end, he put all the stills into FinalCut and made it a motion picture.

How much longer is the intro?
The intro is a minute and a half.

How many drawings did it take?
806.

How long did that take?
Probably a week and a half, doing nothing but drawing. I didn’t even look at anything else.

How long does it take to do each drawing?
It depends; some are more complicated than others. Most of them took a couple minutes each.

One oof Jim’s stills from the intro, a sketch of Rich filming.  credit: Kevin McAvoy

What else is involved in the process?
You go from the template of the moving video to an isolated still. Then I draw over each still I want to use. When they’re done, I have to scan them in and turn them into Photoshop files, which each represent a fraction of a second in the FinalCut file. The number of drawings you have to do depends on how smooth or jumpy you want the animation to be.

Was there ever a point in the middle of it where you thought you’d go insane?
Sort of. After you start getting a pile going...there’s a huge pile of the ones you have to draw, and a pile of the ones you did already. You just say, “If I can get the pile to this point, I can take a break.” I just got motivated to finish it. Then we had to color them in after I drew them in ink. We colored a lot more than we did for the commercial. Mouser helped on the first couple, then Adam Banton helped on a large portion of the middle section.

Anything else you want to say about the intro?
Adam Banton scored the music; he wrote an original piece for it. The intro tries to graphically tell a story about each rider; Banton has a guitar, Cielencki is doing math equations in his head about a rail, that kind of stuff.