David Knight - 23rd Sept 2010

Supreme imagemaker Tim Saccenti plays with light and creates a sumptuous performance video to herald Blonde Redhead's new album Penny Sparkle - and new musical direction.

Best enjoyed at the highest possible resolution, big image and a nice clean screen...

Tim Saccenti on making the video for Blonde Redhead's Not Getting There

"I worked with Kazu, the singer of the band and creative force, on the initial concepts. The band had a very new direction sonically, ditching their art-rock guitar roots and bringing in a synthetic, shadowy palette. Responding to this my initial treatment was based on an atmosphere of projections and holograms, something I wanted to experiment with myself. Using projections would also allow us variations and augmentations that would work within our limited resources and tight timeline as well as suit the music. Kazu and I both share a love of video installation art and this was the basis of our approach. The equestrian theme has been important to her so that was incorporated within our loose narrative and symbolism as well.

"Working within these parameters our team designed a lighting setup and graphics that would create a sense of volume in space when projected. This is quite different than creating visuals that are meant to be projected onto a flat surface and very difficult to judge beforehand. Without the budget for a lighting test we used pre-visualization software to estimate what we were getting, but we had very little idea what would actually happen when we turned the projectors on on the shoot day.

"One of the difficult parts was controlling the density of the haze in the studio, which was created using 3 different machines at various densities, aided by controlling the temperature/humidity of the room. This caused havoc with our multiple 20,000 lumen projectors which would constantly overheat. Even with 20,000 lumens the film needed to be shot with an f 1.2 masterprime all the way open the entire time to get a decent exposure.

"We had all the graphics running through laptops controlled by Ivan Safrin, who was adjusting them live by coding in the "Processing" software. This allowed us re-shape and re-design the lighting, based on the haze, camera angles, etc. Kazu felt we should keep the "primal" aspect of the track visually and we did so by making the graphics simple and organic, referencing early African art and communication. This stretched to even keeping our 3d elements as wireframes, which were shot in-camera using a "holographic" screen.

"Post shoot, Mark Szumski, vfx artist, used a technique he developed during our Flying Lotus film to track and re-project some of the visual elements onto the subjects in Flame and enhance the look overall. Since the color palette was very simple any push in the wrong direction in the telecine looked extreme, and the fluctuating color temperature and chromatic aberration of the project bulbs and lenses would mean similar takes were often wildly different tones. Colourist Damien Van Der Cruyssen at the Mill New York brought out the muted, womb-like feel we wanted. Working on a Baselight over the course of 6 hours he matched the highlights in the dark scenes to the shadows in the light scenes and brought out a sublime tonality to the final piece."

PRO Credits


DirectorTimothy Saccenti
ProducerBrian Graf
Production CompanyPartizan Darkroom
Director of PhotographyIvan Abel
EditorMichael Wadsworth

David Knight - 23rd Sept 2010

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