VOCALOID is a virtual vocal technology that allows Musicians and Music Producers from all around the world to create synthetic singing for original songs. Originally developed in 2004 by Yamaha, the software has taken Japan by storm and has quickly become a global phenomenon. Specifically, the digital pop idol Hatsune Miku is a well known and beloved face of the Eastern pop music scene. Having performed live in concert all over the world, she has helped to make VOCALOID a household name. As the technology has grown and expanded, so too have the variety of voices, characters, and languages. And it is the love of a particular branch of VOCALOIDS that has led to the birth of the VOCAMERICA Concert Project.
In November of 2015, the newest English VOCALOIDS from publisher Zero-G ltd were released. Named DEX and DAINA, these American VOCALOIDS proved to be a success amongst the western community. Our goal with VOCAMERICA is to put the spotlight on these virtual singers through a live concert to be held at NEKOCON 2016 in which DEX and DAINA will be the headlining stars. Other then DEX and DAINA, there are currently 4 other virtual vocalists we will be including in the initial concert (as well as others we hope to include in FUTURE shows).
The goal of this kickstarter is to help fund the further production of the VOCAMERICA live concert. Despite VOCALOID’s growing popularity in the United States, there has yet to be an attempt to bring the Western and English VOCALOIDS to the public through a live performance. Almost all of the VOCALOID concerts which have taken place here have only featured Japanese vocalists. We seek to change that.
Up until this point, VOCAMERICA’s production has been entirely funded through VOCALOID Producer EmpathP and her studio Empathy Studios. EmpathP is known in the community through her work with Western companies and for promoting English VOCALOIDs across the US. However, the continued need for funds to finish up the production of this project has reached a point where it is no longer advisable for EmpathP to fund by herself without help.
That is where you all come in. With your help, we can work together to fully fund the VOCAMERICA Concert Project until its debut at NEKOCON 2016.
- Project Manager
- Project Artists
- Project Animators
- Project Choreographers
Since the beginning, we’ve had goals we want to achieve if we are able to raise money beyond our initial set minimum. As such we’ve created a series of extra features which we will add to our concert(s) if the money is made.
PLEASE NOTE: With the exception of our "Merchandise" and "Projection Equipment" goals, the rest of these stretch goals will be incorporated in later concerts, due to time constraints on model production and animation.
Our stretch goals are as follows:
1.) $7,000 MERCHANDISE UPGRADE: at $7,000, we will have the funds we need to upgrade our merchandise. This means we will have twice the amount of CDs, T-shirts, and DVDs available for purchase after the concert, as well as bonus character items for our extra VOCALOID/UTAU performers (such as extra Keychains, Acrylic Stands, Plush Toys, Custom Glowsticks, ect.)
2.) $8,000 AVANNA PERFORMANCE UPGRADE: at $8,000, we will have the funds to purchase a commissioned performance of the beautiful Celtic VOCALOID AVANNA. This will include a 100% original MMD model, a choreography commission, and an animation commission of at least 2 original songs.
3.) $10,000 OLIVER PERFORMANCE UPGRADE: at $10,000, we will have the funds to purchase a commissioned performance of the choral VOCALOID OLIVER. This will include a 100% original MMD model, a choreography commission, and an animation commission of at least 2 original songs.
4.) $12,000 YOHIOloid PERFORMANCE UPGRADE: at $12,000, we will have the funds to purchase a commissioned performance of the bilingual VOCALOID YOHIOloid This will include a 100% original MMD model, a choreography commission, and an animation commission of at least 2 original songs.
5.) $14,000 SONIKA PERFORMANCE UPGRADE: at $14,000, we will have the funds to purchase a commissioned performance of the pop VOCALOID SONIKA. This will include a 100% original MMD model, a choreography commission, and an animation commission of at least 2 original songs.
6.) $17,000 Big-AL PERFORMANCE UPGRADE: at $17,000, we will have the funds to purchase a commissioned performance of the baritone VOCALOID Big-AL. This will include a 100% original MMD model, a choreography commission, and an animation commission of at least 2 original songs.
7.) $20,000 TONIO and PRIMA PERFORMANCE UPGRADE: at $20,000, we will have the funds to purchase a commissioned performance of the opera VOCALOID duo TONIO and PRIMA. This will include 100% original MMD models, choreography commissions, and animation commissions of at least 2 original songs.
8.) $25,000 Clara and Bruno PERFORMANCE UPGRADE: at $25,000, we will have the funds to purchase a commissioned performance of the dynamic VOCALOID duo Clara and Bruno. This will include 100% original MMD models, choreography commissions, and animation commissions of at least 2 original songs.
9.) $35,000 PROJECTION EQUIPMENT UPGRADE #1: at $35,000 we will have the funds we need to buy a higher grade of projector then our current model. This means our performers will be brighter, and the hologram will appear more realistic.
10.) $50,000 MOTION CAPTURE EQUIPMENT UPGRADE: at $50,000 we will have the funds we need to obtain our first motion capture system. This means will not have to rely ONLY on motion trace techniques to animate our performances and will be able to create animations that much faster.
11.) $100,000 PROJECTION EQUIPMENT UPGRADE #2: at $100,000 we will have the funds we need to get our ideal projection system. This means our holograms will appear the brightest and grandest that we will possibly be able to make them.
1.) What exactly is VOCAMERICA?
VOCAMERICA is the name of our concert. It is called VOCAMERICA because the 2 headlining VOCALOID performers are American English VOCALOIDS. In addition to this, all of the performers for this concert (as well as future concerts) will be Western or English vocal synthesizers. There will be no Japanese or Asian licensed software featured. However, this does not exclude the possibility of Japanese-language songs being in concert, as some of the Western technologies we hope to feature have bilingual capabilities. We currently have no plans to sell tickets to this event, so it will be free for all who attend NEKOCON 2016 (This requires purchasing a badge for NEKOCON 2016).
The VOCALOIDs and Synthesizers who are planned to be featured at our concert are:
At the moment, our concert set lists consists of 10 original songs created by American and European VOCALOID producers. These songs have never been featured in concert before, making for a wholly new viewing experience. Just to name a few of our contributing producers, we are working with the talents of:
nostraightanswer (AKA Kenji-B)
More producers will be contributing as the project grows.
2.) What will this kickstarter fund?
As previously stated, we have no current plans to sell tickets for the VOCAMERICA concert. Any admission fees that may apply will lay solely with the convention which hosts the performance. Our hope is to maintain a non-profit approach for our concerts as long as possible so as to expose as many people to these wonderful Western VOCALOIDs as we can. That being said the cost of putting on this concert is very steep.
While most of our initial projection equipment has been purchased, every member of our staff is being paid for their services. That means each animator and choreographer is paid per song. The only means with which we will be making our money back from this concert is through the sale of official VOCAMERICA merchandise. Unfortunately, the cost of manufacturing this merchandise is one more piece of the budget that must be attended to.
Thus the funds for this kickstarter will go directly to:
A.) Finalizing the payments of all VOCAMERICA staff members
B.) Paying for the manufacturing of official VOCAMERICA Merchandise
3.) What will this VOCAMERICA Merchandise be?
The Merchandise we plan to make is the standard for a concert such as this. It will consist of the following:
A.) Official VOCAMERICA Soundtrack
B.) Concert T-shirt
C.) 2” Acrylic Keychains of both DEX and DAINA
D.) Limited Edition DVD featuring a live recording of our first performance and bonus documentary footage (this will be added to our merchandise after the premiere concert)
4.) What will this concert look like?
It should be noted that as we are a fan-produced event, we do not yet have the budget to hire “professional” animators or motion capture artists for this concert. Therefore, we will not (at least initially) be able achieve the production levels that concerts such as Magical Mirai or Miku Expo are able to provide, nor should it be expected of us . Those concerts are funded by a multimillion dollar corporation and sourced by the game development company SEGA. It should come as no surprise that our concerts will not be quite as extravagant.
That being said, however all of the crew contributing to the project are members of the VOCALOID/UTAU community and have gained their skills in animation and dance through a lot of hard work and practice. They have passion and a love for VOCALOID that is to be admired. And every single one of them is going to work as hard as possible to make our holograms perform to the best of their abilities.
Our animations are being made in the freeware program known as MMD (Miku Miku Dance). Despite this software being free to use, it is an excellent source of animation and provides it users with pre-programmed physics for things like hair movements and clothing movements. That means that our animators only have to focus on body/limb and facial movements. This cuts down on animation time exponentially and allows the team to work that much faster.
We will also be striving to include special effect animations into the concert to make it more eye-catching and exciting. And of course, as part of our campaign, we have stretch goals in place to help fund future advancements in animation, lights, and projection.
5.) Why should I support this kickstarter?
As with many other forms of entertainment, VOCALOID has brought forth a strong community of fans who are eager to see and experience the virtual idols they’ve come to care for. It is unfair that so many who love the Western VOCALOIDS have no real means of expressing that love outside of certain mediums. We hope that this concert can provide not only the means with which Western VOCALOID fans can share their interests with friends and family, but also educate others in the ever growing world of this unique musical phenomenon.
There is more to VOCALOID then what we receive from Japan, and with your help, we will be able to bring it to life.
6.) If the kickstarter campaign is successful, what will happen after the first concert?
While we are primarily focusing on the first live event at Nekocon 2016, we have already started having open talks with additional cons which take place between December 2016-August 2017. If our kickstarter and first concert are successful, we will strive to expand our concerts with new content and singers, bringing them to as many venues as possible.
And, of course, we will be hoping to hire more animators and choreographers who might be interested in helping us out if we DO manage to book more shows. If you are interested in seeing VOCAMERICA expand, please feel free to recommend us to conventions who are seeking to introduce new content to their events. And also don't hesitate to contact us if you are an animator with experience in MMD, or a choreographer who loves to be creative and have fun. Anyone who comes to work for us in creating these VOCAMERICA concerts will receive a paid commission.
Risks and challenges
There are several risks we face while we are in the production phases of this concert. While we believe these risks will be sorted out between now and the first show, the fact that they exist at all to begin with cannot be ignored. When you get down to it, we are a concert that is being funded and organized by 1 person. Should something happen to EmpathP between now and November, we do not at present have a back up presenter to bring this concert to the masses. Another risk we may face is that some of our MMD models may not be fully complete in time and we would be forced to use substitute models until the final ones are completed. There is also the risk that something may happen to our hired group of animators, and some of our songs may not be animated in time for the first show.
The good news is that we HAVE BEGUN to take precautions in case these situations emerge. And even if we should have to drop some of the songs we’ve selected for the first concert, we have MORE than enough content to put on the show. And we have every intention of adding back any dropped songs for future concerts.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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