I’ve now directed around a dozen music videos. Beautiful people have made futuristic love on my dining room table, I’ve tailed a dapper puppet as it wandered the streets of New York, slapped a woman in the face with a fish, and tarred and feathered a young man in a forest. And I’ve done it ALL FOR ART.
Among all these whimsical creations, I’ve neglected to make a straight-ahead, sweaty, ‘band playing in a room’ rock clip. Consider this my entry into that illustrious canon.
We filmed in our regular rehearsal room at Redsun Studios (say that five times fast), but I knew we’d need to tart it up a bit. Fans of the band will recognise the portraits as stills from our live projections. I rasterbated and printed all the ‘big heads’ the day before – well, except Kev’s, whose portrait debuted in our last video. Lou and I then had to piece them all together on the day – each consisted of around 15 A4 pages that needed to be arranged and stuck together face-down. Kev’s portrait was before we’d ironed out our technique, and we got the ordering wrong. I kinda like that his is the Picasso of the lot, especially since it was the only one to be recycled.
I’m a sucker for dramatic, colourful lighting, from Wong Kar Wai’s films through to Blackstreet’s No Diggity. We jerry-rigged the lights by taping red cellophane over the room’s fluorescents, then threw a blue gel over the camera mounted LED ring. I love the combination of the two colours, further heightened by the smoke we liberally pumped into the room (courtesy of friend-of-the-band Joel Barcham’s fog machine – thanks Joel!).
A technique I got to try on this shoot was to mime to the song playing at half-speed and then speed back up the footage in post. At half-speed, the song sounds like jokey doom-rock (least it was funny to us on the day). The sped-back-up footage has a manic energy to it, and also allowed Lou (camerawoman and bedrock of this operation) to cover a lot more distance in her tracking shots (essentially, she could circle the band twice as many times). The clip that gave me the idea is Vampire Weekend’s excellent A-Punk (I imagine half-speed Vampire Weekend just sounds like Animal Collective).
The final stylistic affectation is the animation. I’ve gushed before about my love for Ruff Mercy– I’m hoping he’ll interpret my crude imitation of his style as flattery. The clip consists of around 1800 frames – I reckon I drew over at least two-thirds of those. The animation amplifies the already unhinged vibe of the piece.