In the lead up to the release of Emma Louise’ new album Supercry, Mushroom Records asked if I’d spend a day with Emma and record some intimate, solo live tracks in one of her favourite creative spaces, Brisbane’s Old Museum.
An homage to one of Australia’s best-ever music videos. TISM’s “Thunderbirds Are Coming Out“.
Pete from Hey Geronimo has directed all of their varied works. He asked me to be DoP for his planned remake, and solve the not-insignificant problem of having a camera smoothly traverse 85m with precise timing, and without a large budget.
I’ve loved working with WAAX as they thrash their way through the early years of their careers. After the robotic glitch explosion of Wisdom Teeth and the strange mirror-world of I For An Eye, we wanted to do something simple, visceral and effective for the launch of their Holy Sick EP and tour.
Hence, a live music video, recorded in a single, sweat-drenched take at their home ground of Black Bear Lodge in Fortitude Valley.
Hyper-low-budget, single shot experiment in time ramping.
After the Violent Soho/Graetzmedia single-shot clip Covered In Chrome was nominated for an Aria award, we knew the follow up had to be really special.
Director Dan and I had been discussing if we could use the camBLOCK motion control system to do a low-budget version of the famous “Children Of Men” car chase scene. We did some tests in the back of a van and realised that the robot would be able to move while under acceleration, so we started planning.
Shitbox car purchased and modified. I came up with systems to allow director Dan to control the moco rig live, moving throughout the entire length of the car while he was huddled in the back underneath dirty clothes and sleeping bags. I figured out a quick-release system that enabled the transition between car interior and hectic live performance, which I may have done slightly differently if I’d known that transition would be mediated via my jumping in the passenger door of a moving vehicle.
Behind The Scenes
What followed was one of those wonderful creative experiences that makes the hard work of filmmaking completely worthwhile.
Single-shot, time-ramped icon of Brisbane Suburbia. I don’t think director Dan Graetz and the rest of the crew realised how much of a Thing this video was going to be when we spent a day shooting in 39º heat at bass player Luke Henery’s house.
It totally became a Thing, nominated for a 2014 Aria Award, and over a million plays on Youtube.
I sorted out the time-changing of the music, set up stage lighting, and came up with the quintessential “Jaymis” suggestion – “set the hills hoist on fire” – when we couldn’t figure out how to finish off the clip.
For the shoot day I had it easier than most, spending most of the clip hidden upstairs watching the video remotely and pulling focus. More sweat came out of Dan’s body than I thought was possible for a human body to contain, but the look of the piece, and the “teleporting” band members required that we produce a Behind The Scenes video to prove it was a real single-shot clip.
I’m really proud of this one.
Both video and audio for this clip were recorded in a single session at the flood-destroyed Graetzmedia studios in West End, Queensland, Australia.
To achieve a perfect focus pull over the 4-minute staring contest, I modified the camBLOCK moco system to control a follow focus whip. This clip was the first shoot to utilise this technique. Several months later, camBLOCK shipped their official focus/zoom motors.
There is no trickery in the single-shot nature of this piece. Cowper really can keep his eyes open for that long. In the dozen or so takes we shot, I think he blinked in two of them.
Long-time collaborator Edward Guglielmino. Failing over and over. A beautiful desaturated mandala of fail.