Saturday, March 13, 2010

Coldplay - "Strawberry Swing" (2009)
What's the inspiration behind the story in the video?
First and foremost we really wanted it to be nonsensical and almost dream-like. We also knew that the technique itself would also be a lot for the eye to take in. So when we had the idea of a day with a superhero on some weird adventure we chose to frame the journey with a very simple, easy-to-understand narrative: superhero saves girl from baddy. So it's pretty weird, but makes some sort of sense. I saw the video referred to as "ten-steps-left-of-centre" which we take as a great compliment. I might even get that as a tattoo.

Have any of Shynola had a bad experience with squirrels?
Our lawyers inform us that if we talk about it now it may jeopardise the court case.

It looks like you must have had a very detailed plan before Chris came into the studio?
Once we got confirmation that it was happening we all made a swift visit to the toilet. As you can imagine this took a LOT of organisation and planning. We were going "what have we promised here?" We ended up making a fully animated "pre-vis" version of the video beforehand, with a CG Chris. You can watch it in its own right. This served as a microscopic, frame-by-frame guide for us on the shoot. Which meant that when we actually came to start shooting, in a way, the video was already edited and finished.

How much did you try to tie the plot in with the Strawberry Swing lyrics and the music?
We never see the point in following lyrics literally. We would be adding nothing. We do however try and capture the feel of the song - what the music suggests to us.

Was the "chalk-drawing" actually done on the floor?
No one seems to want to believe that we drew it on the floor. Which is particularly galling, seeing how long the video took us.

So how did you do it?
Again we had pretty much all of the animation roughly blocked-out beforehand using computers. It was just a matter of taking one frame at a time with our grid for reference. Luckily, you only need to draw or rub out the bits that have moved since the last frame. We also had this cool portable monitor while filming, which showed you a live feed from the camera, blended with the previous take and our pre-vis.

Was that the most time consuming part of the process?
It was all pretty gruelling. The thing that sticks in my mind was when Chris is falling with the umbrella. If you look closely he is lying on a tiny square skateboard we had made. For each frame we had to drag him an inch this way or that to make him swing. There was a lot of sore backs after the shoot. Always bend at the knee. And back up your hard-drive.

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