Sam Hill - 20th Nov 2012

Ellis Bahl's much celebrated, UK MVA winning, backwards murder video for Alt-J's 'Breezeblocks' was a bit of a brain twister, but with this promo for Walk of the Earth he's artfully constructed a backwards, forwards, slow-motion, single-take wonderful nightmare of a performance video. The band perform the song, in the wrong order (sometimes the wrong direction) and Ellis's editing - no cuts, just fast-forward and reverse - bring the whole song together in the right order.

When watching the video, you'll struggle to comprehend how on earth he did it, but then watch the making of/unedited version and you'll struggle to understand how on earth he could plan the idea in the first place! It's more incredible promo filmmaking from one of the rising stars of music video.

Here's the unedited version:

Ellis Bahl words on the video: "Initially I wanted to make a narrative video where you take a one shot and scrub along the timeline to tell the story out of order. I wanted it to look like when you drag the mouse back and forth in the viewer in Final Cut. When the WOTE brief came along I realized I could do the same thing with a performance video. I decided to walk the camera back in a straight line because I thought maybe it would give more temporal/spacial context to the scrubbing. It's hard to tell what's going on as it is, but I think the forward/backwards movement helps a bit.

"My favorite part in the video is when they are building that drum set all out of order. I really wish I had come up with more things like that to have them do. It was difficult to figure out beforehand what was going to be interesting to watch out of order. In my opinion, building the drum set is the only truly interesting thing, everything else to me is just fluff. In fact, I find the un-edited version to be a more interesting and compelling video, because it's just crazy to see this band doing such a difficult thing for a single 4 minute take. I've now decided that I'm going to view them as a package. Neither is whole without the other. I've got them both on my website, because I think each enhances the worth of the other.

"The scariest thing for me was that I had to make the messed up track a week before the shoot, so I had to lock down the order of shooting way in advance of knowing so many other things (like what/how big the location was, what the effects were going to be, and what the choreography was gonna be). So I sort of just winged something that I hoped would work, I mean I graphed the whole thing out on a BIG piece of paper, and then figured the rest out based on that."


DirectorEllis Bahl
Executive ProducerDanielle Hinde
Production CompanyDoomsday
ProducerCourtney Davies and Jason Colon
CommissionerBryan Younce
Director of PhotographyP
Production designerMax Orgell
StylistTristin Scott
EditorEllis Bahl
1st ADNick Lee
Focus PullerMike Dempsey
GafferLiam Bell
GripAvihai Yaffe
Art DirectorSusie Gados
Special ThanksHiro Murai, David Altobelli, Kevin Hayden

Sam Hill - 20th Nov 2012

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