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November 2017: Nadine Stardust about the Bowie tribute „I’m Comin‘ Home“

The music video for “I’m Comin’ Home” was created as part of a workshop that all of the students at Animationsinstitut could participate in.

The idea was created by institute director Andy DeFries, who intends to conncect David Bowie’s spirit with the city of Ludwigsburg. Andy DeFries asked me if I could write a tribute song, since I organize a regular jam session for other students together with my fellow student Helge Forler. I thought it was an interesting challenge to write a song in a very specific style and it turned out to be a great change to my usual daily work in front of a computer, so I just went for it. Luckily, Andy DeFries liked my song, so I was able to start planning the video shoot.

Regarding the corresponding music video, he asked Mahmoud Woodmansey, a technical director student, whether it was possible to track David Bowie’s iconic make-up onto the students and employees’ faces in real-time. Mahmoud used a face tracking software, which uses machine learning to detect the distinctive features of the human face. The software allows projecting any given overlay onto the faces. So as a result, you only need a webcam and a computer you can record with to turn yourself into David Bowie. Additionally, Mahmoud programmed a software that allows showing the lyrics of the song on the upper edge of the screen while the song is playing.

Together with our fellow students Ella Estrella Ronson, Manuel Ferry and Ziggy Pivetta as well as Flo Mahakim, an employee of Animationsinstitut’s film sound department, we recorded the song. Those awesome musicians added the finishing touches to the song. Afterwards, Mahmoud and I recorded students and employees with a video camera. Using the face tracking software, people were able to see themselves on the screen as David Bowie while singing along to the song.

After Zoey Binggeser, who works in the post-production department, had cut the music video, we gave different sequences of the video to other students who added animations to those sequences. It was great seeing how different artists would interpret the music and reflect that through their animations.

We hope we were able to contribute to connecting David Bowie’s spirit with Ludwigsburg.