Talking With Brian Frey About the "Battle Hymn" Trailer

Sun, February 6th, 2005 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Jonah Weiland, Executive Producer/Publisher

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Download the
"Battle Hymn" Trailer
35 meg ZIP file
Quicktime video format
So far CBR News has told you about the new Image Comics mini-series "Battle Hymn" by writer B. Clay Moore. We've even showed you a heaping handful of preview pages by artist Jeremy Haun from the first issue. What else is there to do? Well, talk about the trailer, obviously.

That's right, the trailer. Graphic artist Brian Frey, who's collaborating with Haun on the covers for "Battle Hymn," has put together an impressive trailer to promote the series. We caught up with Frey for a quick chat about the creation of this trailer and the tools he used to bring it all together.

Frey's worked in television, the web and print for twelve years creating both still imagery and 2-D/3-D animation. His broadcast and cable graphics have aired on three continents in five languages and more than a dozen countries. Inside the comics industry he's probably best known for working with Tony Harris on the first four "Starman" trade paperback covers. "On those we utilized photography more than illustration, whereas with Jeremy Haun on these 'Battle Hymn' covers I started with his pencilled characters and filled in the rest," Frey told CBR News. "The fourth 'Starman' trade cover, the Times Past one, was actually all mine, though Tony did model as Jack Knight for me."

Frey used a variety of tools to create the trailer, a number of which are probably familiar to many of our readers. "Three Adobe softwares and one from NewTek (makers of Lightwave3D). All of them non-cracked and operating on the real serial numbers that came with their packaging, thank-you-very-much. I use the ubiquitous Photoshop, plus Premiere and AfterEffects for editing, compositing and FX on the music & video and NewTek's Inspire3D, a 'little brother' to Lightwave. The same were involved in the coloring and backgrounding of the 'Battle Hymn' covers."

Towards the end of the trailer suddenly you're greeted by a squadron of P-51 Mustang flying machines, the model of which Frey bought off the Web site Turbo Squid.

The music that accompany's the trailer is by composer Michael Giacchino ("The Incredibles," "Alias" and "Lost"). Frey's a big fan of his work, owning a lot of his score work, particularly fond of the music he provided for the "Medal of Honor" video games. "[Michael has] this one very stirring theme, and once I'd started working for [B. Clay Moore] on 'Battle Hymn,' certain imagery would pop into my head when I'd hear certain bits in the music. The squadron sequence in particular. When I finished the cover artwork I kind of had to get this out of my head, plus, as the book's release date slipped, like Clay's flipcover idea, I wanted to help maintain -- and generate new -- interest. I've seen issue #1 and believe the trailer's been a worthy project.

"I began around Thanksgiving by jotting down typical marketing bullet points, like addressing what the book's about, who's doing it, etc. Then I sifted thru what Clay and Jeremy had already publicly posted of the artwork to see what I could display without spoiling anything. I probably could've asked them for more stuff, but I wanted to keep what I was doing a surprise for everyone! So, synopsis, the team, the characters, some artwork... I had access to all the cover elements, so I thought it'd be neat to show their 'construction' so to speak. I did the same with some of the pages -- the pencils, the inks, the colors -- and thought to show those coming together'd be cool, too."

Frey says that the score he chose dictated what could and would happen in the trailer, building his story in order of "informational importance." Frey continued, "I did have to edit some of the music away, for timing and just because I didn't have quite enough imagery and material to fill it! I did add one tiny little snippet from his 'Medal of Honor: Underground' soundtrack. The moment in my trailer when the synopsis says "Too bad nobody told the heroes," I added a faint, eerie, ominous minor key orchestral/choral strain, for flavor.

"Some ideas I had that didn't work after all were to have the Comic Shop Locator 888 phone number, and also a slogan about comics in general that I'd come up with back when Adam Hughes and I were kicking around a concept for a customizable print ad for comics retailers. I rendered lots of tests of the trailer to check the timing and movement, and, since I'm anal about my craft, I had to make many, many, many tweaks. How long did it take? I don't really know, but I did stay up almost two days straight there at the end trying to hit my self-imposed February 1st deadline. 'I'm not mad:angry, I'm mad:crazy!' Putting it all together has been an off-and-on affair for maybe three months."

Click the link above to download the trailer. We've also provided a handful of screen grabs below for you to look at.

 
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