David Knight - 14th Jan 2009

Taking karaoke to a whole new painful level, the new Metronomy video by directing team Megaforce have released the bouncing ball from the singing machine to wreak havoc with the band and their pals with increasing variation, and lots more interesting stuff to boot. It's marvellous.

As we find out below, Megaforce are four young French fellows from graphic design and advertising and music backgrounds. They've swiftly established a reputation for making videos with extremely clever VFX, mustered from really not much more than sheer brainpower (and possibly firewood): we're talking about Naïve New Beaters' Live Good and Late Of The Pier's Heartbeat.

These boys are going places...

Leo from Megaforce talks to Promo about the video for Metronomy's A Thing For Me

? Great idea to use the karaoke ball to cause mayhem in the real world - how did you come up with it And did you prepare each shot and all the details - like the misspelled words - for the treatment, or did that come at a later stage

We always start with a big brainstorming. We throw some concept on the table and then we discuss which one fits better to the band and got the potential to be interesting for more than three minutes. So we started with that karaoke idea, and as we had a very low budget, we didn't know if we would be able to find a good place to shoot. So we first wrote graphical ideas that could work on green screen in case of a missed location emergency.
Around 20% only of the project were written on the treatment here: here and here. As you see, it was very much a work in progress. Then we searched very hard for a good place to shoot it. We wanted a different set for each line of the song, so we decided to look for big bourgeois houses, and we finally found that amazing house in Champagne. We adapted our ideas to the location and decided to throw out some graphical ideas and replace them by narrative ones - like the ball chasing the band.

? There are some convincing reactions from the band and their friends to the bouncing ball. How did you make them react at the right moment And how did you make objects (like the globe) move

We just designated who had to react to which word, and then we shot singing the song acapella. The ball is always CG. We used a real ball only for light references. Objects moved thanks to nylon strings (that you can actually see on the "Uno" box).

? You also have intriguing tricks like the girl falling out of shot, revealing herself behind (you did something similar in your Late Of The Pier video), and the band and girls doing forward rolls towards camera... how did you achieve these FX

We always do some tests before with our own cameras. Sometimes it works better on the shoot (like the girl falling and revealing herself), sometimes it's better in the test. For the girl revealing herself, it was pretty tough to do, because it's a motion control technique made without motion control material. Basically, we first shot a plate: the travelling across the living room. Then we shot the girl with a small green screen at every place we wanted to inlay her in post (for light matching reasons), and we had to film her with the same speed of travelling as the plate, so we put some marks on the floor to check if the cameraman had good timing. See what we mean

? You have some good misspellings - like "Maya art". Did you do those yourself, or need some help from a native English speaker And the speech bubbles - are they real or were they added in post

For the misspellings, we wrote them by ourselves, but we checked with our rep in UK to be sure it worked. The bubbles are for real, they were hung by nylon strings. The type is added in post.

? When and where did you shoot the video

Late October, in Champagne.

? Who exactly are Megaforce I believe there are four of you - so do each of you have special duties (or powers) How did you come to team-up

Charles and Raphael are freelance graphic designers and owned a studio (www.spamstudio.com), Clement is a freelance graphic designer by himself (http://clementgallet.com) - don't try his website, he never finds time to do it. I (Leo) work as a creative in an advertising agency and do some tracks in an independent label called Chinese man Records (www.myspace.com/leolebug). The cover of my vinyl (Le Pudding) was made by spamstudio by the way.
We've been working together since mid-2007. I worked on a first video for Naïve New Beaters by myself (Bang Bang). Then we teamed up on the second video for this band, Live Good. It's not really easy to define who does what. Hello mum, look I'm on the Internet!


Production CompanyEl Niño
ProducerMourad Belkeddar

David Knight - 14th Jan 2009

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