Wollongong band teams up with Wollongong animator to create uber-Wollongong music video

Wollongong band teams up with Wollongong animator to create uber-Wollongong music video

Still from an animated music video in Port Kembla

Known? Wollongong animator Tyrone McCrystal has gone to great lengths to make this animated music video for a local band’s new song authentic, celebrating Port Kembla’s nightlife in the ’80s. Image: Tyrone McCrystal.

It doesn’t get more Wollongong than this On a cruise to the nightlife – a song by local rock band The Dark Clouds with a recently released music video, animated, edited and directed by Wollongong fencing and media trainer Tyrone McCrystal.

The video, which took two years to make, is a gritty ode to Port Kembla’s 1980s nightlife, featuring instantly recognisable landmarks and fascinating ‘local’ characters.

It was this hyper-local connection that prompted Tyrone to take the job.

“I was at La La La one night to see The Dark Clouds play and they approached me about the job of animating a video for the song,” he says.

“I hesitated – it took a good four minutes. Hand-drawn animation is painstaking and labor-intensive, and I knew it would take years. But when they told me what the song was about and what their ideas were for the music video, I was immediately hooked on the idea of ​​portraying Port Kembla in animated form; something I’m sure hasn’t been done before.

“I’ve grown up in Wollongong all my life and I love integrating that into everything I do.”

Tyrone, who teaches film, editing, scriptwriting and animation at Illawarra ITeC, was given full creative control and was tasked with incorporating “heavy 80s vibes” into the clip.

He landed on a concept that combined live footage of the band playing the song at Wollongong’s Dicey Riley’s with animations featuring various Port Kembla landmarks, such as the steelworks.

“When I first started working on this music video in 2021, no one wanted to do anything in Port Kembla. Over the years it has become more and more popular and now it is a bit of a center for creativity,” he says.

“It’s a very unique place with interesting features that make excellent backdrops. You have the harbor and beautiful beaches, but also the rough and dirty. I tried to replicate the latter for On a cruise to the nightlife.”

In the clip, viewers see seedy yet recognizable streets, dramatic drag races and even witness the literal fall of Port Kembla’s iconic chimney, all under the classic rock style of The Dark Clouds.

Keen eyes will be able to spot more quirky Port Kembla references throughout.

“The main character, I based his jersey off of an original Steelers jersey,” Tyrone says. “I really enjoyed finding ways to incorporate local references into the video.”

Although it has only just been released, viewers might think that someone ripped a real 80s clip from a VHS. The truth is that while most modern productions are obsessed with achieving the highest possible image quality, Tyrone went to great lengths to reduce the resolution Cruising to the nightlife.

For the animation style he drew inspiration from Foot Rot Flats – a New Zealand comic that reached the height of its popularity in the 1980s – using Adobe After Effects, Blender and rotoscoping to give it a grainy aesthetic.

With six cameras set up at Dicey Riley’s on the night of the live taping, Tyrone chose the shot that fit best.

“Since it was live, I knew I only had one take, so I went with the six-camera setup, but one of them had a very high ISO (light sensitivity), which created a lot of grain and noise,” he says.

“I later recorded the clip onto a VHS tape to get an authentic ’80s quality throughout the clip.”

You can check out On a cruise to the nightlife now.