Member News October 5, 2016
by Lauren Festa
90’s-hip-hop-glitch-pop trio Violet Sands (David Perlick-Molinari, Deidre Muro, Derek Muro) enlisted the talents of ADC Members Andre Andreev and G. Dan Covert (Dress Code) to direct and produce this mesmerizing video for their latest single No Matter What feat Eric “Doc” Mendelsohn. We got in touch to see just how they did it. Read below and watch one of the best things you might see all day.
Tell us about this video from conception to completion. Where did the idea come from and how did you go about executing it?
We love how the track sounds heavily distorted and that the vocals are almost inaudibly chopped up. We started brainstorming on ways to distort images and eventually arrived on slit scan photography. It’s an old analog visual effect originally used in photography and later adapted to cinematography. We loved the organic and fluid way in which it morphs images.
What tools did you use to bring the idea to life?
Our VFX artist Vincenzo Lodigiani digitally replicated the effect with time displacement in Adobe AE. We applied time displacement to the footage which would react according to a series of gradient maps that we created to control and determine the kind of distortion we wanted. Depending on the luminance and shape of the gradient itself, the effect would vary significantly.
Was this a collaboration between you and Violet Sands? Or did they give you a blank canvas?
They liked the concept from the beginning and gave us a lot of freedom. We put together a treatment with references and mood reels before ironing out the storyboard. They were involved in every part of the process, but our visions were very much aligned from the beginning. It was fantastic to work with another group of artists that gave us so much freedom.
How did you get the animations to melt into real life? (you don’t have to disclose all your secrets but it looks amaaaaazing.!)
Slit scan effect is not a record of spacial relationship but temporal relationship. That’s why we shot the footage at a high frame rate. It’s key to have a very high temporal resolution when the effect is applied in order to get such a smooth and organic result, almost like the animation is integrated into real life. We also directed the dancers so that the distortion moments would happen naturally, as if suggested by the grace of the movements and the harmony of their dance. DP Claudio Rietti was able to capture that beautifully.
How did the song influence the visual aspect?
We interpreted the lyrics of the track as a metaphor for never giving up on a relationship. Our idea was to show both the struggle and union between two people. The male dancer would lead in one moment and then shift to the female dancer shortly after. Eventually we wanted to show multiple instances of the dancers to visually indicate a continually changing relationship.
Who are the talented dancers?
The dancers are Richard Walters and Taquirah Thompson and they were truly fantastic to work with. We made sure to give them breaks in between takes, but throughout the day they probably ran through the entire song over 20 times. They were assembled by the choreographer Andrew Harper who managed the entire dance routine. He was instrumental in coming up with choreography that fit the song and worked best with the slit scanning effect. We couldn’t have done it without him!
Where can we listen to even more Violet Sands?
What was the most exciting part of this project? The most challenging?
The most exciting part was seeing it complete; it took us months of hard work and we are very happy with how it came out. The most challenging was working with a live owl. It took us hours to get the final shot where the owl flies at camera. Even though he was trained, he got a little stage fright and just stopped cooperating with the trainer. He just stood on his perch for 30 minutes and we were running out of time. The trainer finally ordered everyone except the camera operator to leave the studio. Once everyone left, he was able to get the owl to fly within a few minutes.
Band Members: David Perlick-Molinari, Deidre Muro, Derek Muro
Guest Vocalist: Eric “Doc” Mendelsohn
Choreographer: Andrew Harper
Dancers: Richard Walters, Taquirah Thompson
Produced and Directed by: Dress Code (dresscodeny.com)
Executive Producer: Andrea Theodore
Producer: Tara Rose Stromberg
Cinematography: Claudio Rietti
Edit: Andre Andreev
Visual Effects: Vincenzo Lodigiani
Rotoscoping: Alejandro Monzón, David Hackenburg, Rasmus Löwenbrååt
Color: Andre Andreev
Assistant Camera: Connor Lawson, Jonah Serfass
Production Manager: Lea Wülferth
Production Coordinator: Nick Stromberg
Hair and Make Up: Ashley Disarro, Brittany Romney
Wardrobe: Mariana Guerrero