Singalongs On Steroids

A few months ago I had the opportunity to work on some singalongs. Since I love karaoke, I immediately said yes. But it wasn’t doing a cool version of Bon Jovi’s Bed of Roses that I was doing. Instead I had the honor of working on a release of Elf, not a musical, but a really funny Christmas movie that’s always a blast during the holidays. This time, it was adding some cool singalongs as well as other graphics popping in-and-out of the movie. Being a comedy more than a musical, it gave us the opportunity to play around a little bit with how we approach it as a sing-along, or in this case, a Sing & Cheer-Along.


Elf_sing_02Using Buddy’s hat as the main bouncing-element, I got to play around with making it come to life using After Effects. The actual lyrics would’ve looked really good in 3D, that’s why I opted to use Video-Copilot’s plugin, Element3D to create the lyrics. This gave me the ability to control everything, and animate the singalong all in After Effects. With Zooey Deschanel’s character singing, I used her hat for their Baby It’s Cold Outside duet in the movie. It was really fun but at the same time really hard to animate all the overlapping lines in the song.

Elf_sing_03Overall, the mix of playful animations and having it interact with the movie made this singalong project a real treat. It felt like I just gave a cool gift to an already great movie.


Immediately after this project, I hopped on to a similar one, but this time with a new movie called Smallfoot. If you haven’t seen it, I can guarantee it to be a blast. A funny and unique take on the Yeti’s point of view and how people are in regards to mysterious creatures. For this particular project though, I got to explore more designs and bouncing elements for each song. Using emojis and other elements from the movie, it was very easy to get creative especially with the catchy songs. I’ll be a movie-critic this once and say it’s actually better than Frozen.

Bouncing Glowing Snails? Yes, please!

Like Elf, aside from just doing insane singalongs, I also got to play around and incorporate the graphics into the movie itself. This method seemed to be really working well as your attention goes from singalong to movie, and it all works seamlessly.


Using Element3D, I created the 3D snowball, and used it throughout the mowvie, bouncing in between scenes and lines from the singalong. It was another great way to do some fun and unique compositing. At this point, I was getting the hang of the timing and generally have a good feel of how singalongs work.


Fast-forward a few months and my producer got a green-light from Warner Bros. to make another singalong, but for this time, for a movie that is tried and tested, and had one of the catchiest songs in 3D animated-movies. Everything was awesome at this point!


So from doing 2 movies and all the songs in those, plus some more compositing and motion graphics work, it felt like it was good to start with those, because now its getting crazier. Still looking at Element3D as my main tool, this was the perfect opportunity to do some wild things with the plugin, and just take this whole singalong journey to a whole different level.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Too many things I got the chance to play around with. Bouncing coffee-cups, morphing Lego Queen to Batman – this was starting to get better, but at the same time, renders are getting heavier and heavier.

Lego_Sing_01We were very fortunate to work with the animators of the movie as they provided some of the 3D models of the characters. The problem was, they had their own system of how they used these models, so for most of the bouncing elements, we created our own 3D elements using Cinema4D while we figure things out. Luckily with Lego, we are only dealing with blocks, but since these are well-designed toys, we had to get our measurements and modeling right.


By the time I had to work on the last song, I finally managed to get the main character, Emmet, rigged and set-up for animating in Element3D. The extra steps to get it working in Element3D worked great because like I mentioned before, I didn’t want to be switching between Cinema4D and After Effects. Having the ability to control everything in After Effects made everything easier in the long run.

Using a rigged Lego character, I animated it in Element 3D along with some Lego particles.

3-movies, and probably close to an hour-worth of 3D animated singalongs later, I think I accomplished something that easily got out of hand. It got out of hand in a good way – I used methods that nobody in their right mind would do, and it all turned out unbelievable, super-cool, outrageous and amazing. Such a phenomenal, fantastic and so incredible experience. Woo-hoo!

These songs are burned in my head now. If you want to have the same catchy songs stuck in your head, or would want something for the kids, please do check out the new release of Elf, Smallfoot, and Lego Movie 2 and check out the singalongs!