PRODUCTION COMPANY: Try Hard
CLIENT: Transgressive Records
Shot on Bolex H16, Kodak Vision3 250D & 500T both pushed +1 stop
Director: Jamie Whitby
Producer: Scarlett Barclay
Exec: Sorcha Bacon
Animation: Katy Beveridge
Editor & VFX: Jamie Whitby
Casting Director: Coralie Rose
Casting Assistant: Bardha Krasniqi
DP & Colourist: Spike Morris
Jamie's treatment was only a few pages long but clear from the outset. A playful, seemingly simple music video shot on 16mm interacting with a backdrop of hand-painted graphics. Wonderfully analog but done the hard way - the real way.
The concept played on the visual of lovers cutting their ex's out of old photographs, and Jamie's brief to me was for each shot to be a lockoff in order to feel like an old photo from happier times. A vibrant animation layer in line with some of Gengahr's previous videos would fill the void left by the cutout.
Shooting on location was a seriously stripped back affair as it was a big stretch to do the project on 16mm, and our crew consisted of just Scarlett (producer), Jamie (director), and me doing my own gaffing & loading on my Bolex H16. It soon became apparent that our small crew was a blessing in disguise though as we captured beautiful natural moments with our cast time and time again, plus being so ridiculously mobile as a unit for a change. The cast found by Coralie were genuine couples and as a result made shooting a pleasure. I only wish the Bolex shutter was quieter! We shot the band performance in the living room of our residential location on our first shoot day, and returned to the bedrooms later in the week to cover the couple scenes. So simple so good :)
Meanwhile animator Katy began the mammoth task of hand painting and stop-animation capturing 2556 background frames in the same studio as Jamie, whilst he compiled the elements of the film together and individually cut out the characters from the Bolex footage frame by frame as it came back from the lab. We ended up going through 10x 100ft rolls of Kodak Vision3, and Kodak Film Lab at Pinewood did a beautiful job of pushing our stocks to 500D & 1000T for that extra lo-fi grainy feel - their scans came back even better than I hoped for. Thank you!
It was a pretty odd experience lighting and framing scenes where one of the characters would be literally deleted from the frame, constantly reminding myself to not spend too long finessing lighting on the wrong character. We focused our efforts on trying to apply small colour themes to differentiate the lighting between the three pairs of couples, and I tried my best to continue this when colouring the project for Jamie to allow him to concentrate on working with Kate's incredible hand painted frames, adjusting the paintings as the edit came together. Those two really did the hard work on this one.
Overall, a true pleasure to work with such a decisive, hardworking and calm director such as Jamie who really put in a heroic effort alongside Katy in the post production on this. It wasn't the easiest way but the hard work shows.
Check out more of Jamie's projects here.
Nerdy note: Jamie knew from his test edits he wanted a 12fps project rate to get a stutter-y low frame rate holiday film feel, but as the Bolex's shutter is fixed at 130° (approx) and I didn't want a slow shutter speed of 1/24th, we had to shoot at 24fps and drop every other frame to achieve 12fps at something closer to 1/48th sec shutter on the Bolex. Rip half the footage :(