David Knight - 22nd Feb 2013

A collaboration between Natasha Khan and animation/mixed media master Peter Sluszka has resulted in this diverse and absorbing visual feast for Bat For Lashes' Lilies - the fourth single from the critically acclaimed album The Haunted Man: life-sized puppets, a flock of 2D spirits, miniature landscapes, morphing polygons, and Natasha herself were animated to create a universe in constant flux.

It's Peter Sluszka's first music video since his animation tour de force for Moones' Better Energy last year, and this repeats the trick of bombarding the viewer with delightful creations - Natasha's song unleashes a trio of curious puppets, a wax and paper ocean, a cloud contraption and a series of stop motion sequences, including Natasha's head becoming encased in a glass case.

And it took months to come together, from Natasha and Peter's first meeting in New York last year, to a three day shoot in Hornet Inc's studio later in the year, to the completion of the stop motion work in early 2013.

"Natasha and I developed the idea together, starting with a meeting in New York when she was here last May for her album cover shoot," explains Peter. "She shared the track, as well as initial ideas and inspirations. This was very helpful as it gave me a starting point and insight into the types of visuals she was interested in. After the first meeting, we emailed thoughts and references and began developing a more specific approach and design.

"Ultimately, it took months. We shot Natasha's live performance and animation sequences in three intense days in the fall and then slowly accumulated the remaining animation shots. Encasing Natasha in glass was in fact one of the hardest sequences. It required her to pose very uncomfortably for hours and it was claustrophobic despite the transparency. The entire structure was held together with copper foil tape that I had to slice away incrementally with an x-acto knife. Between the blade proximity to Natasha's head and the need to shoot efficiently, it was one of the more stressful animation processes I can remember.

"I had a blast working with Natasha and I think the performance footage with the massive puppets shows moments of real joy, humor, and improvisation that counterbalance the poise and meticulousness of the animation shots. It was also a pleasure working with a great and devoted crew. Like so many videos, the budget was tight relative to the creative ambitions and production designer Ben Phelan pulled together some incredibly inventive builds with very limited resources. From the start, everyone credited in this production went above and beyond to make it as unique as possible."

Credits

DirectorPeter Sluszka
Production CompanyHornet Inc.
Executive ProducerMichael Feder
ProducerC
EditorAnita Chao
Director of PhotographyIvan Abel
Focus PullerRommel Genciana
GafferMichael Yetter
GripCasey Wooden
Production designerBen Phelan
Production AssistantLaura Wass

David Knight - 22nd Feb 2013

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