And that's kinda where it fell flat.
Despite all of the little things in the animation that should have made it just amazing to watch, it kinda was just... I dunno. Just kinda OK. In that same way that girl in high school would dismiss you by saying "Oh him? Well, he's nice I guess." Ouch.
One of the dangers of video reference is becoming blind to what it doesn't have- namely- it lacks the exaggeration and artfully chosen emphasis that can only be expressed in animation. Video reference needs to be taken beyond what is seen in the video. You need to bring an animator's sensibility to what you get from the reference. You have to pick out the parts that are good, push them. Distill the information down. Push poses, build contrast in the poses, go inside then outside, reverse the line of action, play with the texture and the pace of the timing, pick the best staging for the moment, etc. If all you do is grab still frames from the video and make those your thumbnails then you're not doing the full job of an animator. Now you're becoming more of a motion stenographer. The Milt Kahl audio intervews you can grab over at Seward Street blog bring that home. In track 09 titled "Lazy Bastards (Live Action)" Milt says about some animators who used live action reference heavily in their work....
They'd use it because they didn't have to think. They'd draw the character over the damned photostats. And that's what you'd get. You'd get the same performance you got from a second rate actor.
And in Track 15 titled "The Crutch of Live Action" Milt also says
At least if you're gona use it for reference, use it just for that, use it for reference. Don't accept it blindly. ... No, the only reference I had for Medusa (a character he animated) was by watching people all my life.
Now Milt was known as a salty and somewhat gruff fellow, a man of very strong opinions. However he makes great points. Listen, the reason I'm an animator is because I'm not able to physically pull off the kind of believable acting that Kevin Spacey can when a camera is rolling. Trust me, if I could, I'd do that for a living. There's a LOT more money in being able to do that. Heh. So when I shoot live action reference of myself acting out a scene I have to understand and realize that my own ability to physicaly portray a scene is limited. As such I need to bring an animator's eye to the work. I have to pull out of my experience all the things I know that go into making an animated performance something special to watch. It's not realistic. My clumsy acting in the video reference is realistic. Nobody wants to watch that. No, what I need is to pull it into some other level, someplace beyond merely replicating the reference footage. You need to push it, pull it, make it better than real life. More real than real. Else, why animate it?
So yeah, I like live action reference. I use it, especially for physicall stuff. I think it's a helpful tool. But like money, live action reference makes a fine servant, but a harsh and uncaring master. Make the reference your servant, not the other way around.