Essay

How I Made The End Credits Sequence For 'No Needle, Just A Haystack'

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By Garret Harkawik

I decided to build the credits sequence around the song (the song, by the way, is My Dog's Eyes from the new Zammuto EP Veryone).  I'm been pretty interested with VHS tape degradation for a while, so I decided to play around with the concept.  My inspiration and starting point was an experimental film I saw in college, which I unfortunately cannot recall the title or filmmaker - the film was made up of a series of random shots, optically printed again and again (each time losing a generation of quality) until all that remained was a flurry of white flashes over black.  I figured I could do something similar by dubbing shots onto a VHS tape, digitizing them and then dubbing them again.

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ne of the more elaborate features of my new film No Needle, Just A Haystack is definitely the end credits sequence.  Nick offered me the chance to premiere a new song of his in the film, so rather than just have the piece play over black or a static image,

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I ended up opting to shoot my computer screen with my trusty VHS camcorder (given to me by animator Evan Curtis), rather than dubbing onto a VHS tape - this was a lot easier and sped up the process of degradation.  In the end, I shot, captured and reshot the sequence around twelve times.  Once I had the footage captured I realized that there was quite a bit more that I could do with it (beyond just having the shots go from the originals to the fully degraded shots) - using the luma key tool I could remove the darker parts of the image and overlay them over the originals, creating an interesting, ghostly effect.

I modeled the text off of what most home movie text tends to look like, although I'm proud to say that they're 100% digital.  It's a basic font with a half-dozen filters on it in order to make it look analog and have the background bleed through in an organic way.

 

The shots were all pulled from my collection of VHS infomercials and instructional videos - I'm a bit of a hoarder when it comes to stuff like that (although I obviously need them all).

 

The final shot of the computer being launched was a simple loop-edit to make it appear it was flying in the air for a while longer than it actually was, and then I overlaid some shots from the film on top (using a specific overlay filter...although I forget which one)

 

Putting these credits together was a tremendous amount of work, but I couldn't be happier with how they came out!

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Copyright 2018 Garret Harkawik