Maybe it’s the tentacled ballerinas. Maybe it’s the twerking hamburger butts. Whatever it is, something about the music video for Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” feels different this time around, and we can’t quite put our tutting fingers on it. Could it be the cheerleader-spaceship-launch?
Maybe we should ask Jane Shadbolt, animation lecturer at University of Newcastle‘s School of Design, Communication and IT. Shadbolt (cool name, by the way) provided each of her 49 Design from Animation students with 52 different frames — approximately 4.5 seconds worth — of the original music video, with the assignment of rotoscoping their frames however they liked.
Rotoscoping, for those not enrolled at UON SODCAIT, is an animation technique involving tracing an image over previously filmed footage, frame by frame (a la A-Ha’s “Take On Me” music video, or practically every Disney dance scene).
The resulting 2,767 frame-long remake of Swift’s music video is an exuberant and dizzying whiplash montage of artistic styles and creative talent, all blending together through the synching sound and action.
In an interview after the video went viral, Shadbot told Newcastle, “Some of [the students] loved the song, and others hated it,” but even the students who hate-hate-hate-hate-hated it, “were able to bring their own unique interpretation to it. It’s a great way to get a feel for how animation is put together from thousands of frames and get a feel for how movement happens on screen.”
Until somebody makes a side-by-side comparison of the original and the animated remake, you can watch T.Swift’s live-action “Shake It Off” here. A full list of the students involved is available on the video’s YouTube page.