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Duncan Laurence 'Love Don't Hate It' by Ed Sayers

Rob Ulitski - 29th Nov 2019

Following his win at Eurovision 2019 with his song Arcade, Dutch singer-songwriter Duncan Laurence returns with a call to arms against hate in all its forms - and a striking video directed by Ed Sayers.

Choosing an intimate performance setup, bathed in red light and very much representative of the elemental theme of fire, the video for Love Don't Hate It is the result of an approach borne of necessity. Lacking real flames for obvious health and safety reasons, Sayers has turned to a classic burned celluloid aesthetic and used it to create a fresh take on one of the most powerful and multifaceted elements on the planet.


“There are no boundaries, no limits when it comes to love. It’s the purest thing we have in this world and yet so many people, including myself, have to fight for it every single day. Because of their looks, their beliefs, their gender, their sexuality. Because of what others judge them for. Love Don't Hate It is a song about fighting for who you are and who you choose to love. Because in the end it is always your choice to make. It’s my answer against the hate in the world, that will always keep trying to break down what we crave most: love.”


“I love to get to know an artist and have as many discussions as we need until we find the right way in. For me, it’s not about pitching a singular take it or leave it approach and crossing fingers that the artist likes it. It’s about working together to find a shared aim.

"In this case we went through a few ideas but from the first call it felt like we were making this together. The agreed route and formal signoff followed but there was already the confidence that we were going to team up and I think that always gets the best result.”

“Following on from Duncan’s video for Arcade - set underwater, very blue/black and with water as its key ‘element’, we settled on the elemental theme of Fire, for Love Don’t Hate It. Having discussed working with real fire, for various reasons - not least keeping Duncan alive - we looked for a different route.

"I was inspired by shooting more on analogue lately and love the way that the first shot on a roll of film (photos) often has a lovely ‘burn’ to it, and I also love the way celluloid film burns up in a stuck projector. Duncan had talked about how love can feel powerful in both a good and bad way; uncontrollable, you have to dare to go with it. So I sent Duncan and his manager some test footage which they loved and we started testing light-leaks, pre-flashing, fogging and more ‘messed up’ techniques on both 16mm and 35mm film at Panavision London with DOP Gabi Norland.”

“Once we’d found a few techniques and got the footage back from the Cinelab London I laid them back to the track as a test edit, and we knew it would work well. A pretty singular approach with a mix of hard and soft dynamic lighting using white and red lights and a host of special flare lens to fire firey light down the barrel and onto Super 16mm film and a little Super 8mm. The flares down the lens were a way to put a layer between Duncan and the camera, like the water in Arcade, and meant that in the choruses it was like he was having to really try in order to get his message over. There was a lot of trust and we shot everything in just a few hours, finshing off with macro shots of burning celluloid, courtesy of producer Russell Curtis’s homemade rig, as Duncan and team raced to the airport.”

“Once in the edit we took a collage approach and layered up the footage a lot - so much so, the edit timeline in Avid looked a bit like Manhattan. The track itself is so brilliantly produced, the build is so well-paced - it was a question of pacing our subtly different sections that we’d shot to really tie it into that construct. The editor, Kit Wells at Final Cut used every little bit of analogue goodness as salt and pepper in the cut: some of the loveliest shots are one frame long, for example where the camera was running up or down so you’ll only see them if you pause it in the right places.”


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Rob Ulitski - 29th Nov 2019


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Ed Sayers
Russell Curtis
Production Company
Seven Productions


Director of Photography
Gabi Norland
Focus Puller
Jon Mitchell
2nd AC
Ines da Costa Duarte


Rich Maskey


Lead actor
Duncan Laurence


Kit Wells
Editing company


Jonny Tully
Colour grade company
Big Buoy


Richard ‘stretch’ Russell
Post production company
Big Buoy
Post Producer
Sydney Levy


Director's Representation
Seven Productions


Karim Shawky
Spark Records

Other credits

Stills And Additional Super 8

Alex Glynn

Process And Scan

Cinelab London

Rob Ulitski - 29th Nov 2019

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