Watch the 'Transparent Seas' music video here.
Making of video:
In recent years I have worked on a few fun projects for Paper + Plastick records, they have a constantly shifting roster of really diverse bands and work slightly different from a lot of labels. The one constant is that they put out quality music, in exciting vinyl packaging. I love everything about it. Make Do And Mend put out a record in 2010 called 'End Measured Mile' and it quickly became one of my favourites of the year, and made it on to seemingly every punk or hardcore 'top 10' this time last year. So when I got an email from Vinnie Fiorello saying the band were fans of my work and wanted to collaborate on something different I was pretty honored to be part of their growing wave of success.
We met up briefly at a show in Manchester and basically said 'lets do it, whatever it turns out to be' and I spent the next 4 months working my 'real job' with Zeitguised in Berlin. During that time we emailed back and forth a few times discussing ideas but they largely left everything up to me after telling me a bit about what the song was about:
"The song itself is about the inability to believe in a higher power, but being frustrated by the fact that that type of belief affords the believer a great deal of comfort and safety." (James Carroll)
The loose outline we arrived at was a character based narrative where a kid is living in a very religious household and is struggling to buy into it getting increasingly frustrated, he leaves to find his own way of thinking and is chased by the thoughts of his religous upbringing. He breaks free and finally reaches a point where he can discover his own belief (in this case the geometric shapes towards the end hint to a belief in an atheist viewpoint based on scientific fact). He then returns home to find that his parents are actually more understanding and open to his own beliefs than he originally though before questioning it.
I knew time would be very tight to complete this during the summer, so I storyboarded it very strictly in terms of shots that would need to be animated and rendered. The inital plans were very rough and really held no clue as to the final visual style for the band or myself but they were very trusting and it unfolded naturally as assets were created in the quickest way I knew how.
There was no budget for renderfarms so it was an interesting challenge finding a way to make the video look attractive and interesting without intensive rendering or time consuming manual work. This was accomplished by using a lot of locked off cameras so I could render backgrounds as still images and composite the action on top. I also kept the look far enough away from realism to allow for roughness here and there, putting an emphasis on the characters and the overall feel of the video.
Thanks to Matt, James, Mike & Mike for being awesome to work with and trusting me through months of conversations that could be summed up as 'it might kind of look like this'. I wish them well for 2012 with the new record release on Rise and hopefully see them again on tour soon.
Early renders and thoughts about the feel of the colours
Building Sketches and 3D visualisation