Jun 11, 2007

Surprise !

I saw a pretty unusual YouTube video today. Kind of funny, kind of cheesy, but great for that reference that is really hard to come by. There are some golden little moments that you just simply don't see that often... but may have to animate!

This guy comes onto one of these American Idol style talent shows, and does something that nobody really expects. The reactions from the judges are priceless, but also his own gestures and mannerisms are great to watch.

Watch the video, then I`ll point out a few things that really stood out to me. I suppose these things can be interpreted any way, and are pretty subjective, but its all research in the end !



Try not to be distracted by the ridiculous voices of "Ant and Dec".

  • ( for some reason embedded YouTube puts the time scale in remaining time )
  • -1:42 - This is my favourite bit. The female judge ( Amanda Holden ) is genuinely shocked and amazed. The way she holds her hands together after finishing the clap, the half laugh, and the little blink of disbelief. She is truly touched, and its a nice little moment of genuine femininity ( compare to the relaxed but impressed male reaction of Simon Cowell to screen right ) . Its almost like she has to hold the moment in her hands, because she cant quite believe it! Compare this too with her contrasting attitude at -3:50 the difference is huge! at this point she is a little condescending ( the way she quickly looks him up and down, frowning, not particularly impressed by his appearance ), then a few moments later her attitude is transformed completely.
  • -1:24 - Another great moment. Watch Simon Cowell's eyes and mouth after he says "fantastic". He really shows a number of things here. Firstly he is clearly humbled by the performance, but wants to retain his professional image and tries not to show it - but twice he looks down briefly and coupled with the blinking he gives this away. The fact that he smiles through this "submission" and also squints very slightly, shows how much he likes this guy, and not just his performance. Its almost like hes thinking "you just did something I could never do, even though I`m supposed to be judging you on it...". The way he holds his hand under his chin is like he's trying to raise his head, to keep his humility - in a "keep your chin up" kind of way. Very subtle stuff, but incredibly powerful if we could harness it and use it in our animation.
  • -1:04 - This one is interesting. After she finishes saying "diamond" she does a slightly elongated blink. This is because she realises that shes actually said something a little stupid. Shes waiting for the reaction from the audience, and when it doesn't come immediately, a little tinge of embarrassment is seen, just in this single slightly lengthy blink.
  • -3:12 - Back to near the start again. I like this little bit because it shows uncertainty and doubt in the guys eyes. After he sings the words "nessun dorma" ( or really at the start of "dorma" ) he does a very quick look down - I presume at the judges, and then quickly sets his eyes back to his little comfort zone that he clearly locks into right at the start of his performance. He is nervous here and wants a little token of reassurance. Its quick, but its there very clearly.
  • -1:46 - Sorry to jump around. I like the change on the guys face as he realises his fate is in the hands of the judges. At first he taking in the applause, smiling, and recovering knowing he has done all the hard work - but then quickly breathes out and straightens his face as he realises he must deal with what is said in the next few moments. He also does a little nod, a little gesture of reassurance to himself that it will be ok.
  • -0:36 - Look closely at the faces of the judges as they watch him walk off the stage. Once again I like the expression on the woman's face, and her body language. She has her hands flatly down on the table, which is kind of odd, but interesting. Its great too they way they all track him with their heads and not just their eyes as he walks off.

I think these subtle and hidden moments are much more powerful than any of the reactions, they edited together on the actual show. For instance the "half crying" and "face wiping" that the female judge is shown doing, says far less than a single pose that she holds around -1:42.

Anyway... I`m sure there's loads of things, of all different kinds you could pick out of any footage , I just thought that little clip had a nice set of unusual mannerisms and gestures I wanted to remember.

32 comments:

Clay Kaytis said...

Fantastic clip. Thanks for taking the time to share your analysis. I've never seen the show but I'm curious to watch to see more of the woman's reactions - very expressive in a reserved way.

californiagrown said...

Hey definitley thank you for showing us that clip and your great analasis of it. I myself am an animator and never thought of those very very subtle things when i first whatched it. Man...do i need to keep my eyes open more.

Marin Petrov said...

Awesome!

BadMange said...

Fantastic analysis! I watched the clip first without reading what you posted, then read and re-watched. I now realize that I don't notice these things and really need to be more analytical when watching reference! Thanks for posting this!

Bill said...

Hey Cameron, this was very interesting to read. You know I think there might be some youtube-ish sites out there that actually let you put in comments over videos at different times in the clip, if I find one I will let you know. Thanks for posting this.

Cameron Fielding said...

Thanks guys!

Bill - let me know if you find anything mate...

Newsquirt said...

Hey Cameron, this is a great post. I seen this video last night, and the way you analyzed it really made it all the more special. All the subtle subtle stuff you pointed out is what makes this blog such an awesome resource! Awesome!

Newsquirt said...

ps. also I noticed a bunch more of those Britain's got talent bits up on youtube..What a killer resource for animators!

Liron said...

Hey Cameron, first I must say, great blog you have here! I really enjoy getting your emails and reading your post.
I just wanted to say, it’s fascinating to see the emotional arc the judges have in the video. Especially Simon, you pointed out some great observation in his reaction to the performance. There are also priceless reactions before, when he is so doubtful.

Gianmichele said...

Hey man, this is absolutely fantastic! Reactions were a nice piece of acting. I would also look at the performance of that young man. He was able to pull off the people in front of him not just with his voice. Look at the use of eyes in him. How he just goes to the infinite and tries to reach every peron in there. He was singing for them... he called for their reaction!

marina said...

Beautiful!
Thanks!
Look forward to get more clever analysis.

Matt said...

awesome clip. Really good insight to some very simple mannerisms. I especially like the one where he comes back to reality and knows the judges are going to critique him, so he does the little head nod to reaasure himself - briiliant.

I also thought he was one hell of an opera singer - gotta watch this show now just to see him!
good stuff!

Matt -

Diego said...

Nice one.

praveen said...

whoah, that was simply awesome.... a great resource on how people especially celebs, looses their 'people-image' for a short period of time and then realizes that they lost it completely, and all of the sudden they manage to regain it back....that's the moment of hawk-eye for us... and you really nabbed it down; very very good job indeed.Thanks for sharing Cameron.

Henk said...

Very sharp analasis. I felt the same about their reactions just didnt notice the "why or how". The reserved yet impressed reactions of the male judges, and the somewhat uncomfertable but frank reaction of the female judge.

Mike Antonicelli said...

Funny... I watched this the day before I found your post and I found myself feeling the exact same way! I watched it over and over..the I analyzed it like an animator would. But I found your analysis much more detailed. Great minds think alike!

Jean-Denis Haas said...

Thank you so much for posting this. Beautiful clip and great analysis.

Here's another one for you that has the always interesting Simon going through some emotion changes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En0A8KGMgq8

david a said...

Cameron, kick ass ;) Very good stuff. I just heard of this today and I've watched it a couple of times. If you google the way to download the actual video file, you can import into Flash as a video and scrub it. You get to really pick out stuff then ! But I have to say, the held poses ARE stronger. Isn't that wierd? The only time I've really seen a held pose for a LONG period of time was at the end of Cars, where Guido and the little Pitstop guy just sit there at the end of the movie looking at two ferarris, they just slowly float forward. It works so well!

Can it be done in 3D? In 2D it's easier because the medium allows it but 3D can be so refined and detailed that we always expect something to move.

-3:46 is great, he just sits there, looking off to the side, like "Righttt, you're going to perform?"

-3:40, he swallows in slow motion (I guess a editing thing) I like that, very rare to see it in animation :D

So. Awesome >_<

:dA:

Cameron Fielding said...

wow .. can't believe the response to this post.. might do another one of these, they're pretty fun anyway!

thanks for the comments guys..

Anonymous said...

that was great analysis. Made me even look deeper into it. I have so much to learn.

I like how Simon pinched his ear while listening to the guy sing. Pinching of your ear can send pleasure to our brain.

I will be checking this blog out more often. Great insight.

Anonymous said...

I'm an animator...... and the only thing I've seen after a couple of times watching this video (and the only thing I want to say....) : This is fucking beautiful.... This is a great singer, it's unbelivebale......

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

Forni said...

Amazing man. I even translated your sayings and posted on my blog along with some of my comments too (unfortunally it is on portuguese). But that is great, thanks a lot for sharing, made my day !

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Anonimous said...

Excellent website. Good work. Very useful. I will bookmark!

daniel huertas said...

I thought i was the only freak who keeps watching stuff like this in live action..LOL.. i am very inspired by your animation and your way of thinking.. also for the non-stopping learning idea that you shown us just now with this complete analysis... apart from the animation concepts i really got touched by this guy who has an amazing voice...

i hope to meet you one day in person so we could talk about this things better lol

take care

stan said...

hey, i know this is pretty late. but i just found this blog and have read most of it. i was able to read most of the reactions but yours were just so detailed and well analyzed. You should do more of these.

Small tip, I don't know if you know. but you mentioned that when you embed a youtube video it does the time in remaining. Actually if you just click on the timer it will switch back and forth from remaining to elapsed.

Cameron Fielding said...

thanks for all the great feedback people!

Anonymous said...

hey - can you re edit the timings because youtube has changed them so it's duration-so-far/total-duration

jp

patSarell said...

I have been looking into the techniques involved in animating surprises and have a little system going that is working well and you can clearly see in the Paul pots link.

Basically a surprise is made up of four phases:

1) Interruption
2)Identification
3) Assessment
4) Reaction

Sometimes these phases can happen across the cut too or a person can move between Identification and assessment many times before moving on to a reaction. I find it a useful tool for analyzing reference like the paul pots stuff and for recreating them in animation.