Back in the days I found the original version (1985) intriguing. Not a big fan, but the song was enjoyable and became such a big hit due to the revolutionary music video. It took Michael Patterson 3,000 sketches – and the total crew 4 months – to complete the stylish video.
I was browsing some a capellas when I found the Take On Me vocals in January 2017. I imported them in my music application (Cubase), fixed the timing here and there and played some piano chords along. The rest of the arrangement followed pretty quick: added different chords during the verse, pitched the vocals accordingly and added a ballad ending. Reinier Pollmann came over to record the saxophone and although the ending started out as piano and vocal only, I added the orchestra later on for a bigger mix. The final mix was mastered at Da Goose Music.
When the music was almost done, I felt this sudden urge to create a video as well. Not only because narcissism is so 2017, but mostly to increase the amount of listeners. The idea was to start playing in the studio and eventually end up somewhere outside. I used two cameras and six takes in the studio, which gave me 12 takes in total. This allowed me to pick the right segments and viewpoints while editing. Reinier’s saxophone performance was recorded on camera a week later, separately from my own recordings. Another week later and outside, G-Squared helped me out by handling the stabilized camera and controlling the video drone. I wanted to film on a flower field location but since it was the end of May, everything was cropped already so there was nothing left to see there. There were two other locations that seemed worthy: the Loosdrechtse Plassen and Soestduinen. The first location had events planned during the sunny day we wanted to film, so it became the second one. I aimed at getting it filmed around the Golden Hour, to get that red/golden look on film.
The video needed some pencil effects of course, to refer to the original video. Here’s how it was done:
1. I tracked the movement of my body with a tracking tool. You could use Syntheyes or Mocha for this. These tracking tools allow you to draw shapes that can detect movements.
2. The tracking resulted in a mask – my isolated body – which I could lay over the original movie clip.
3. When layering the mask on top of the original clip, I applied a pencil effect so that only the tracked part (the mask) was affected.
Although a remake or remix hardly succeeds in competing with the original music and video, I still hope to have given a unique twist to this golden classic.