With seven Grammys under their belt, the country music trio Lady Antebellum is known for their harmonies, deft songwriting and often uplifting messages. “Compass,” the recently released third single off of 2013’s album Golden, delivers all three. For the music video, Lady A returned to acclaimed country music video director Peter Zavadil of Taillight. Using light and color to help highlight the song’s message, he shot light writing to spell out the lyrics. Light writing is a form of stop motion animation where stills are taken of words being spelled in light. The images are then arranged sequentially, creating the optical illusion of movement.
“Peter wanted a super bright, colorful and festive look to the video, so I pushed the saturation to its limits, which was fine for the still camera shots that were used for light writing,” said Gavin. “But in order to match the performance scenes with that same level of intensity without ruining the skin tones, I really had to rely on DaVinci Resolve to key out all the saturation and maintain the skin tones. It’s the best keyer I’ve worked with.”
In order to incorporate light writing, every letter in the alphabet was shot by itself. But doing a rough composite and cropping in on the letters left the tiles exposed instead of creating a seamless look. Gavin brought the footage into DaVinci Resolve, and by removing the crop and using DaVinci Resolve’s blend mode, he was able to make the light writing seem as if it was part of the original footage.
“I was able to blend all the images together instead of having to crop off the edges, which delivered the seamless look that Peter was going for,” said Gavin. “If ever I run into an issue with footage, I know DaVinci Resolve has the tools to help me overcome it.”
Gavin noted that DaVinci Resolve 10’s new editing features were essential to streamlining the workflow, which was especially useful considering he had 24 hours to turn around the project. “Because the video was shot with different kinds of cameras, when I imported the XML into DaVinci Resolve, it was all in a jumble with whacked out timecodes. For a lot of conforms, it’s easier to rebuild the edit by hand based on the offline,” he said. “But DaVinci Resolve 10’s robust editing features made it super easy to rebuild it right in Resolve. It saved me on time and was a life saver.”
He continued: “DaVinci Resolve shined when dealing with different cameras, video and stills and different formats and timecodes. The conform process in DaVinci Resolve and flexibility of its timeline helped me get the project conformed and turned around super quickly. Out of all the applications I have used, DaVinci Resolve is the most intuitive, and there are very few problems I can’t solve with it.”