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Jon Hopkins 'We Disappear' ft Lulu James by Rob Chiu

Luke Tierney - 1st July 2014

Something a bit different for a Jon Hopkins video - a performance video. In a smoky, dimly-lit space, Rob Chiu directs featured artist Lulu James for We Disappear, and keeps it a compelling watch with minimal changes. It's all about the smoke, the subtle changes of light, and Lulu's vocal and dance performance.

And we asked Rob a few questions about the making of the video...

How did you come up with the fairly unusual idea for Jon Hopkins of doing a performance video? 

Jon gave me a brief that detailed specific colours and the word nocturnal. Although he was open-minded to any approach he did mention that he was interested in something quite surreal and performance-based over something narrative. I am usually drawn automatically towards a narrative approach so it was interesting for me to personally explore something very different from what I usually do.

What was the key to making a minimalist performance video stay compelling all the way through?

Before we shot, myself and Jon discussed the timings in the track and how to create a build and to maintain interest throughout. For example utilising elements such as Lulu stepping out of the smoke to her wearing different costumes to using the rotating lens that spins through 360º. We wanted to keep it interesting and mysterious with Lulu emerging from the fog and then eventually disappearing back in with us never really getting a traditional look at her.

Where did you shoot? Seems like you used a lot of smoke and that could make it difficult to work. Was that one of the main challenges you faced?

We shot in a car park in South London which was apparently used for some scenes in Skyfall. It was a challenge to shoot with smoke and to achieve the organic nature of her costume so that it appeared to be blowing in the wind.

We ended up in some set ups with Lulu on a rotating turntable, the camera spinning 360º and then 4 people holding her dress out of frame flapping the fabric around to resemble wind! Pretty insane!

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Luke Tierney - 1st July 2014


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Rob Chiu
Shabana Mansuri
Production Company
HSI London
Executive Producer
Beth Montague
Production Manager
Luke Fraser
1st AD
Jai Lusser


Director of Photography
Patrick Meller
Focus Puller
Catherine Brown
2nd AC
Matt Tregoning


Nathan Matthews
Aaron McDonagh


Art Director
Casey Williams


Jason Brookes
Kym Menzies-Foster
Costume designer
Jo Shippen


Holly Blakey


Charlie Moreton
Editing company
Work Editorial


Aubrey Woodiwiss
Colour grade company


Nathan James Tettey

Luke Tierney - 1st July 2014

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