David Knight - 4th Feb 2009

Handfed is two minutes of gripping drama, stylised and beautiful: Amanda disrobes from her plain religious clothes as her home is consumed in flames. It's very cinematic, but Dan shot her performance against green-screen and composed everything in post - there's a lot of stock footage, found imagery and CG in there (as he explains below).

Amazing what can be done these days - but the really special thing about this video is its marvellous atmosphere.

Dan Brown on making the video for Above The Sea's Handfed

"Amanda (Above the Sea) is my wife's good friend - she sang at our wedding. It was more that I liked the track and wanted to come up with a video for it, not just reach back into old rejected past ideas. Another bonus was the song's length - at just over 2 minutes I felt confident that the post work wouldn't overwhelm me.

"The original idea came from a book I was reading about this group of people that are like Quakers, but they bomb each other's houses and run around naked and it's all in the name of Jesus. One picture was of a woman folding her clothes while she calmly watched her house burn down - that image and the song just clicked in my head, and a sort of Amish 'How Stella Got Her Groove Back' became the idea for the video. I didn't want to go into her reasons for burning the house down - if the video is engaging people will make up their own reasons why she's doing it.

"It was really a shoestring production, just me and the DP and sometimes just me grabbing clips or elements that I could put together for the final. We shot all the performance on green or against black on the same night, then the rest was shot at really odd hours working around other projects and life.

"After I had all the elements I started comping the shots, again in my free time so there'd be huge gaps between me working on it. In the end there was only one all CG shot in the video - that's the overhead grass shot. At the end of the day it would have been really lovely to have had the money too shoot it all for real, but that was never an option."


Production CompanyOh, Hello
DirectorDan Brown
Director of PhotographyBilly Summers
CompositorDan Brown
AnimatorDan Brown
VFXCody Cobb

David Knight - 4th Feb 2009

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