“Magnum Bullets” Music Video: Another Impressive Artistic Collaboration

Cara Caulton, Staff Writer

On Feb 27, the music video for the song “Magnum Bullets” by Night Runner, produced by the independent animation studio Knights of the Light Table, was released on YouTube. Knights of the Light Table is based in Austin, Texas, composed of animators from around the world that collaborate on various animation pieces for clients. Most of their work can be seen in music videos, such as the “Magnum Bullets” music video. The song was released in September of 2017 with the album Thunderbird, but the animated music video is brand new and has apparently been in the works for over two years.

The video was released on the Game Grumps channel–a channel run by Arin Hanson and Dan Avidan that primarily focuses on comedic video game let’s-plays–because Dan Avidan wrote the lyrics and performed the vocals for “Magnum Bullets”, as well as worked closely with Knights of the Light Table throughout production of the music video. Dan Avidan has collaborated in a similar fashion before with the band TWRP on their song “Starlight Brigade,” where he also did lyrics and vocals. The Starlight Brigade music video, released May 23, 2019, was the other major music video done by Knights of the Light Table. It received massive support for its animation, character design, and story and now boasts over 7 million views. The Magnum Bullets music video is receiving similar praise and has already collected over 700,000 views.

Speaking as an avid fan of independent animation, I found the animation to be full of character, with a unique cyberpunk setting paired with anthropomorphic animal characters. The colors reflect the aesthetic, utilizing neons and harsh lighting in nearly every scene. The lighting changes subtly throughout the video but remains consistent enough as to not be overwhelming, and in many scenes the lights are moving over the characters to compliment the beat of the music. The animation, and especially the unique transitions between shots, work with the music to create a flurry of movement and color that does not let up for the entire song. My personal favorite feature of the animation, however, is the intensity of the character’s expressions. The story of the music video is one of revenge after the main character’s companion is tragically murdered. The animators take care to portray the grief that is fueling the violence by utilizing expressive character animation. The expressiveness adds another layer to the violence of the video, giving it purpose and revealing the underlying pain of the main character. At the climatic final shot that kills the antagonist, the viewer is left with a chilling sense of justice.

Overall, the music video was a treat to see and I eagerly await seeing more work done by Knights of the Light Table. With 2D animation being increasingly rare due to the convenience of 3D in major animation studios, it is always encouraging to see independent animation studios that can complete projects such as these. Independent 2D animation seems to have found a home in music videos on YouTube, where popular artists can commission independent studios or even individual creators to create gorgeous pieces of art to accompany select songs. I certainly hope to see this trend continue, and send my congratulations to the team at Knights of the Light Table for completing such an impressive project!