David Knight - 27th Nov 2013

In keeping with the dreamy and ethereal qualities of Elephant's track Shapeshifter, director Steven Boyle captures vocalist Amelia Rivas as her sudden movement and chaotic surroundings in a hotel suite are turned into serene and graceful moments by being shot at super-high speed - between 600 and 1000fps - on a Phantom Flex. 

As Amelia runs, jumps and dances to static on the TV, the electrically charged chaos becomes balletic - and the climactic trashing of the room becomes a spectacular anti-gravity finale.  

Steven Boyle: "The concept emerged from small details I extracted from the lyrics that I could somehow punctuate visually; closed curtains, sleeping, falling or sense of weightlessness. These elements all lead me to something nocturnal and dreamlike, they all contribute towards the promo’s visual narrative and overall aesthetic.

"At the back of my mind I also knew we had a tiny budget to work with so I had to keep the idea relatively simple and contained, something logistically feasible, limited to one location that could be shot in one day. 

"We shot on the Phantom Flex with a set of high-speed Zeiss lenses. Most of the scenes were captured at either 600fps or 1000fps. Amelia’s vocal performance was captured at 25 and 50fps. I wanted the lighting to be consistent with the sort of mood lighting you would find in a hotel suite - this was a challenge because shooting at high speeds demands more light. I was able to push and refine this look further in the final grade with our colourist Dave Ludlam at Framestore. 

"The Mill carried out post duties. I worked closely with Barnsley from the Mill both on set and during post to make something really impactful.  In many of the shots there’s a good deal of digital ‘clean up’ going on. We also added the subtle electric sparks you can see throughout. The final floating object shot is the most elaborate VFX shot in the promo.

"Everything you see in the shot was all captured in camera. We shot several plates of the objects being thrown into frame, from each side of the frame, at different angles and trajectories at 1000fps. The best elements were then composited together into one shot. Overall I think the final shot consists of about 14 plates all stitched together."

Credits

DirectorSteven Boyle
ProducerNicola Dempsey
EditorAndy Phillips
Director of PhotographyFede Alfonzo
Art DirectorAurelie Taillefer
ColouristDave Ludlam
VFXAndrew 'barnsley' Wood
LabelMemphis Industries

David Knight - 27th Nov 2013

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