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Dear Valentine - An MTV Music Video Made With Blender


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Robert Schober has directed/created a music video using Blender for all modeling and animation. The video, "Dear Valentine" is the first animated video for The Burning Tree Projekt for their debut on MTV CHI and Asia.

Rendered at 12fps to give it a more stop motion feel, the video is ushering in an age of Blender being used for professional music videos. The official release of this video is currently on hold so live performance footage can be added. Once the performance footage has finished filming and edited into the animation the final version will be released. I asked Robert several questions, and he was kind enough to tell me more about the project.

How long did it take to do (preproduction, actual production, rendering, etc.)?

This video took about 4 weeks - one for preproduction and 3 for production. Because of the tight time schedule, I did renders at the end of each day and added them into my timeline in final cut so I could see how it was progressing.


Were there any others that helped with the project?

I worked with my partner Warren Woodward (the valley arena) on the concept and he shot my green screens. The animation and design is all myself though.

Did you use the Blender Internal renderer?

Yes I did. This is my first project dealing with 3d. In my videos I work extensively with After Effects. I do mostly 2d motion design and animation. I just started working with Blender in December when I downloaded 2.4. Needless to say, I haven't figured out pov-ray or yafray yet, nor did I think a mac mini and a powerbook would be able to handle the renders for a 3 and a half minute video in three weeks when both were also being used for other aspects of the production simultaneously.

My render settings were default ambient occlusion and an oversample of 5. The dream sequence is just shadeless with edges and then was multiplied over a scanned piece of old paper from a pulp novel.


Why did you choose Blender to do this project?

I chose Bender because I wanted to try my hand at 3d rather than contracting the work out to a studio. A seat on maya looked a little too pricey for me at the moment (im a 25 year old starving director) so free seemed like a good price for trying 3d out.

Beyond the amazing results of this powerful tool, I was really taken with the open source community and wanted to use as much publically developed and shared artwork as possible. The medical chart in the x-ray room in the video was done with Gimp.

Compositing and editing were done in After Effects and Final Cut Pro. The freeware alternatives for a mac aren't here yet, but when they are, I'll make the switch to a fully open-source workflow.

Were you doing this under Revolver?

I'm a director signed with Revolver Films (I'm listed with the directors on the site under the name Roboshobo). I have directed videos for Capitol, Warner Bros, Subpop and astromagnetics as well as many indies.

This particular video was very low budget so I produced it with my side project ROBOWAR, a collaborative directing project between myself Robert Schober (Roboshobo) and director/rock musician Warren Woodward.


Robert also had a production blog that documented the project with some great images found there (which are the images above). So take time the time to watch the video and enjoy!

About the Author


Just a guy really into 3D, especially where Blender is concerned.


  1. Was this your first 3d project, Robert?! I'm absolutely amazed at what you have achieved here. Great atmosphere and storyline - I can only hope that you'll be able to do another clip in Blender!

    Now if I could only get that song out of my head after playing it for five times :)

  2. @Sympodius:
    Blender has compositing, post-production, and video editing capabilities that could have easily handled the job of making this video. My guess is that the author already has working knowledge of After Effects and Final Cut Pro so, he decided to use those to minimize the learning curve for his project. I hope that he realizes that he could have done it all in Blender and decides to make his next project with Blender exclusively.

    Great job BTW!

  3. @Kernon

    Cheers for that Kernon. I've not really used the sequencer/compositor in Blender yet so I wasn't really sure of its capabilties (other than knowing Elephants Dream was made using them). I have a project coming up and I'm trying to scout the software I can use to make it. But I think I'm going to try and do as much of it in Blender as possible.


  4. @Kernon

    Sorry, forgot to say this as well:

    Part of what I am interested in knowing is if Blender's sequencer/compositor/post-production abilities are the best open source has to offer in these areas. I'm sure they're very good (if Elephants Dream is anything to go by), but I'm just interested to know if there are any dedidcated open source programs for these types of things.


  5. @Sympodius:
    There may be something else out there but, since the Orange Project started, it has become obvious that Blender is on track to fill that gap as well. Even if there is something else out there, you can't beat the tight integration that Blender offers with everything pretty much under one roof.

    BTW, you don't have to only reach for Blender when there is 3D involved. You can use Blender strictly for the purpose of editing video clips without even touching any of its 3D capabilities.

  6. the video is great , but you have missed a very important detail in the characters , you have forgotten to remove doubles vertexes , I think that with this problem fixed the video would look better ;)

  7. I wonder why everyone is 'advising' Robert to use Open Source tools for everything; I'm happy that he likes Blender for the 3D part of his workflow. As he is a professional director, I'm sure he's more proficient with other tools for editing and compositing, and that he'll simply get the job done with them faster. It makes no sense to switch to Open Source alternatives just for the sake of using Open Source, and more so if you're on a tight schedule.

    For my own professional work, I use whatever tool is either best fit for the job or that is the fastest/easiest to use. If that means using 'closed' software and paying a bill, so be it :)

  8. @Kernon. Voc007,

    Thanks for the suggestions, I appreciate your feedback.


    For me personally, it's more a case of being unable to afford a lot of the commercial apps. It's interesting in a way since "Free as in free beer" was never really supposed to be a focus of open source software. But it is undoubtedly one of the main reasons for the large number of people using open source products. In many cases, I would say that the open source software is the best, and in many cases I wouldn't, but for me personally, the choice often comes down to what I can afford. I actually got into Blender because I had to choose a 3D modelling package to use for a University project and Blender was the one that I thought was best for the job. Admittedly, I may have been using Blender for something a little off the beaten track, but it was still the one I wanted to use, and in that particular instance it had little to do with cost.

  9. hey guys, thanks for all the kind words.

    @satre- i think i know what you are referring to... the seam down the middle of the heads..believe it or not, that was an intentional design. the idea being to look like manufacturing they had been stop motion figurines molded in plastic. there is a shot on the gurney where the deergirl's mouth had some issues though.:)

    i have to admit that i'm skeptical about jahshaka as an AE alternative...but it looks like its made major progress since i looked at it in december...

    i'd love to see some tutorials or comprehensive articles about blender as compositing or editing tool? any leads?


  10. @roboshobo:
    I remember reading somwhere (probably here on BlenderNation) that the Orange Team will be putting together a very comprehensive full-color book filled with all the gory details about how Elephants Dream was created. I'm sure that will illuminate many aspects about the compositing and video-editing.

    In the meantime, you could check the Tutorials section here at BlenderNation. Also see:

  11. I know this was put up like 2 years ago, but I just wanted to say great job on this!

    Great concept and it was delivered well..... and cute, too. :)

    You're showing your experience there, saying you did it in 4 weeks. Good stuff.

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