This will be an animated video about 12 minutes in length, a visual interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, Movement 4; Andante Maestoso, Allegro Vivace. The work is in the spirit of Disney’s movie Fantasia. The duration of the video is of course determined by the length of the composition.

The opening Andante section will correspond to a somewhat fanciful assembly of a freight train in a railway “hump” switchyard, the cars propelled by gravity and assembling themselves in sequence on the main track. At the tempo change to Allegro, the journey itself begins with a bang.

The journey proceeds through a variety of scenery: industrial, rural-agricultural, small-town, urban, forest, mountain, desert, and finally industrial again. Hopefully the changing character of the music will be adequately reflected on the screen. If I succeed, you will forget that you’re hearing an orchestra; the sound will seem to come from what is on the screen.

To the extent possible, I will be applying techniques used by Max Berends – known as Ristridyn on Blendswap, YouTube and elsewhere – in the blend Pumping Memory and explained in tutorials on YouTube. The constraints I need will differ in detail, but nevertheless the idea of heavy use of constraints, all ultimately driven by a single “empty”, and minimal use of keyframes, will inform my approach to this project. It seems a great simplifying concept.

One performance of the background music (for preview only, not to be used in the video)

A favored reference performance of the music to be used can be found on YouTube, performed by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by George Pehlivanian. Please observe Symphony number, Movement number, and part number. The audio track from that video will NOT be used in my video, but it will give you some idea of what it ought to sound like.

“fanciful” in that, as currently planned, the assembly will follow the reverse of the usual real-life procedure as I currently understand it, wherein a string of cars is fed over the peak of the hump, one car at a time, and each car is guided to one of many sidetracks by switches preset for the purpose from a control tower. In the video, by contrast, I anticipate assembling one string of cars on the main track from many on sidetracks. Thus cars are funnelled in rather than fanned out. This funelling-in would require an unrealistically dextrous choreography on the part of the yard supervisor. But the time allowed by the music is only a couple of minutes, so must invoke artistic license…

Have downloaded Blender 2.66 and begun playing around with rigid body simulations. Something tells me this will make everything I want to do vastly easier.