David Knight - 27th Feb 2008

The highly inventive new Futureheads video has echoes of an imperishable classic. Or perhaps two.

So there's a considerable nod to Steve Barron's legendary video for A-ha's Take On Me. But as green-screen is also an integral feature of the video - the band find themselves comped into scenarios from cityscapes to desertscape - Nima Nourizadeh's modern classic for Hot Chip's Over And Over is arguably also an influence.

But Appleton's video has a momentum all it's own, and the effects work, executed by a team at Golden Square Post, is excellent. The scenes where the band are playing in the storyboard world were tracked in 3D in the programme Syntheyes and then the tracking data was imported into Flame.

The storyboard art, by Alan Bennett, is very good too. And the video is now No 1 on MTV2 chart, proving that the look pioneered by Take On Me still goes down a treat.

James Appleton on making the Futureheads' The Beginning Of The Twist video

"At the start of the production process I started to worry about how much storyboarding I was going to have to do in a very short amount of time and had the idea that storyboards could be the basis of a promo, one that would try to quite playfully show some of the mechanics of the promo production process.

"As a kid in the 80's I remember watching so many promos which tried to create other worlds in-camera in studio settings. I remember seeing A-HA's 'Take on Me' and being pretty fascinated by it, one of those promos that was talked about in the school playground, and I thought it would be fun to nod in its direction here.

"With the concept it would have been really easy to bring lots of doc-style material into it, but I wanted to try to avoid this. There was a roaming camera on the shoot picking up observational type shots - snippets, ECU's, details of things which weren't too general, and mainly concentrated on getting shots of the monitor within the studio.

"Golden Square did the post-production, and the combination of low-fi and hi-fi involved, simple quick pencil sketches with 3D tracking was quite exciting to me. The process was more involved and dynamic than I'm used to. I'd been doing a lot of flat 2D compositing with camera movements applied as an effect afterwards, but here we were working with 3D tracking on shots with zooms, and pans on top of dolly movements.

"The 3D department modelled the studio from measurements and put it in an environment sphere to help out with some of the shots. This really opened up possibilities because we weren't limited to placing things on the walls in the studio; we could build up layers and depth in a space much larger than the studio.

"I didn't want to make it too elaborate with too many elements as the shots are quick, but I think this does makes all the difference in the city and desert sections, in what was a really good experience for me."

Watch 'Futureheads' The Beginning Of The Twist by James Appleton' here


Production CompanyGrasshopper Films
DirectorJames Appleton
ProducerClare Spencer
Director of PhotographyJoel Devlin
EditorJames Appleton
ColouristKenny Gibb
FlameAndrew Curtis
CommissionerGideon Mountford

David Knight - 27th Feb 2008

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