Joel Compass ‘Back To Me’ by Ian & Cooper

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London-born R&B newcomer Joel Compass joins forces with directing duo (and cousins) Ian & Cooper for this magnificent, tense monochrome beauty to his debut single Back To Me.

The video incorporates a glitchy movement in the background of otherwise inanimate frames creating an eerie feeling – perfectly echoing the haunting soundtrack. Shot on RED Epic, the innovative promo was constructed with still images using the cinemagraph technique – where one motion is isolated and the rest of the frame remains still.

“The initial spark for the technique came from the lovely video commissioner Dilly Gent, who referenced La Jetée (a 1962 short film by Chris Marker composed from a series of still images )in her brief” says Ian Schwartz. “Cooper Roberts and I did a ton of research on cinemagraphs; what effects were possible, what kind of movement was most striking, etc.

“We shot-listed everything and specifically mapped out what parts of the frame would be in motion so that we could shoot it correctly. We knew it’d be a challenge to communicate story using only still images without the help of a narrator, so we also made a really rough animatic of the whole video, so we could test how it paced to the music and came together narratively.”

“The shoot itself felt like part photo shoot and part cinema,” continues Ian. “In each set-up, we’d have our actors pose, holding still in a certain position while we shot about 10 seconds of footage. Different shots required different post techniques, but in general the cinemagraphs came together in After Effects by layering a still frame over the moving footage and through masking, rotoscoping and stabilization.”


Ian & Cooper
Production Company
PrettybirdPrettybird website
Executive Producer
Candice Ouaknine
Nathan Scherrer
Director of Photography
Patrick Scola
Production designer
Ali Rubinfeld
Camera operator
Rachel Fox
1st AD
Patrick Munroe
Cooper Roberts
Ian & Cooper
Chad Goel
Pat McElroy
Jim Tavaré
Nicholas Neve
Veronica Bloom
Gene Alexander
Dilly Gent

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