David Knight - 20th Aug 2009

French hip-hop mix-master maestros Birdy Nam Nam contacted cult illustrator Will Sweeney to make a video for the insanely banging Justice-produced remix of The Parachute Ending - Will had already illustrated a record sleeve for the Nam Nams - in a near-ridiculously tight timeframe.

So Will contacted Steve Scott at Not To Scale, with whom he collaborated last year on the intro for music show The Green Room, to see if he wanted to work on an altogether more ambitious project. And thankfully, Steve said 'yes' - otherwise we wouldn't now have this wondrous, amazing and really quite bonkers animation, perfectly suited to the retro-synth stylings (with ultra-mod overtones) of the track.

Essentially it's the story of a metamorphosing superheroic alien passing through a portal into space to battle a giant robot spaceship bombing his planet with giant sugarcubes. That gives some idea of the awe-inspiring invention here - but only some.

The main point of reference - apart from Will's illustrations - is the 1971 French sci-fi animation La Planète Sauvage (AKA Fantastic Planet) and quite early on, Will and Steve threw out all notions of making the animation nice and simple.

There are 69 separate shots in the vid, some requiring complex animation work in Flash and AE. It's a major, and superb achievement. "The sheer workload involved finishing over sixty shots, in a little over a month was a little frightening," confirms Steve.

"From storyboarding, to animatics and then of course animation and compositing, with some shots containing over twenty separate elements or more, the task was daunting.

"Suffice to say a lot of hard work from an A-list crew ensured we got over the finish line shattered but ecstatic with the results. Thanks also to Will, the band and label for giving us such free reign and not adding to our task with unnecessary 'tweaks'."

David Knight - 20th Aug 2009

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