David Knight - 2nd Apr 2014

Having started out making promos for the likes of the Alkaline Trio and 3 Colours Red, The Brothers Lynch - that's David T. and Keith – have been focussing in recent times on their short films and feature scripts. But they have been wooed back to music videos by a new, epic work by Carly Paradis, the composer of the music on their last two shorts.

The building emotion of The Hope Of A Favourable Outcome is accompanied by a mesmerizing infinite zoom, created entirely from one of the important precursors to cinema in Victorian times - the phenakistoscope.


"We'd obviously been aware of zoetropes before, but an article on io9.com we read last year introduced us to the phenakistoscope disc, and it immediately perked our interest.  We'd been mulling over ideas of how to incorporate the zoetrope into a music video for years but never settled on anything. But seeing the phenakistoscope got the cogs whirring. 

"'Seven Nation Army' by the White Stripes has been a music video that has stuck with us for a long time and the way it employs the infinite zoom technique to hypnotic effect is fantastic.  Again it had been a technique we'd been wanting to try out but had never found a fresh angle into it.  But combined with phenakistoscopes it felt like we'd found something interesting.

"We discovered that a number of these original Victorian phenakistoscopes had been digitized online and so we began hunting for decent resolution captures.  The great thing is that because of their age, these discs are all in the public domain and so can be used by anyone in their projects.   Once we felt we had enough to make a music video work we set about testing out the technique. 

"The first hurdle was to work out what speed we would have to rotate each disc at to produce the persistence of vision effect that makes them animated. After a while we realised that there was a mathematic approach to it that could streamline the process.  We calculated how many degrees each disc would have to spin per frame and then tested them all out.  Once we'd got that persistence of vision effect working on each disc we set about creating the sense of the infinite zoom.

"Initially we tried to set up all the discs in 3D space and perform a virtual camera zoom but this was a massive drain on the Mac I was working on.  We realised we could cheat it by simply animating the discs' scale.  Making it start tiny and grow over time to engulf the screen.  Then it was a case of applying this scale growth to each disc, masking out the centres, and then staggering them in the timeline so that they all lined up.  Because they were all growing at the same pace, albeit out of sync, it perfectly created the infinite zoom effect and drastically reduced render times.

"Once we had successfully created a test of the concept we then had to decide what to do with it.  Carly Paradis has been our composer on our past two short films and has done a fantastic job on both and so once we heard her new album, and especially the track The Hope Of A Favourable Outcome, we felt it was the perfect style of music for this video.  So we reworked the test so that certain animations lined up with certain moments in the song ie. the boxers punching as the beat comes back in, the cellist playing as violin is heard. 

"Then we sent it to Carly.  Until that email she had no idea that we'd been working on it but her response was fantastic.  She had only one real note, to try and find some animations that would emphasise the bridge section of the song, but once we'd tweaked that it was ready to send out."


DirectorThe Brothers Lynch
EditorThe Brothers Lynch
Production CompanyArecibo Media
VFXThe Brothers Lynch

David Knight - 2nd Apr 2014

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