Rob Ulitski - 1st May 2020

The Magic Gang provide an antidote to the turbulent times we’re living in - and a comment on the less palatable side of remote socializing - in Georgina Cammalleri's video for Take Back the Track. 

Meeting on a Zoom-style video call app, the four bandmembers’ attempts at remote rehearsal are repeatedly foiled by an unwanted guest - User1234. Their efforts to hunt down the mysterious stranger result in little joy - other than the appearance, via the 'random chat' facility, of an impromptu dance troupe. And they soon have their real and virtual worlds hijacked. 

As well as very much being a lockdown-era video, Cammalleri also pays homage to video-call thriller films like Unfriended and Searching. With the evident contributions of DoP Lorenzo Levrini and choreographer James Berkery, and a crucially precise cut by editor Jo Lewandowska, it is an inspired use of the format, and a marvel of lo-fi motion graphics and VFX, courtesy of Sandra Clua and Guy Davis.

GEORGINA CAMMALLERI:

Directing remotely was intense. The smallest of details had to be thought through.

“I always love starting off in the real world as a basis – in this case an app similar to Zoom – then elevating it to some surreal dimension. The boundaries disappear and suddenly anything is possible.

"To bring this world-within-a-laptop to life, I worked closely (figuratively) with the editor Jo Lewandowska and motion graphics team Sandra Clua and Guy Davis. Working with flame artist Zdravko Stoitchkov allowed me to depart from this real online world in a much more dramatic way and imagine what hijacking someone’s real and virtual worlds would look like.

"Directing remotely was intense. The smallest of details had to be thought through - such as dividing up the screen into sections to direct the band’s eye movement on screen. And due to internet lag we had to rely on the pace and lyrics of the track to time the band’s precise responses. This meant that every move was considered and timed sometimes to the fraction of a second so that it’d all sync up with the rest of the band, as they were all shot separately.”

JO LEWANDOWSKA (EDITOR):

Every move of the cursor, zoom, click or reaction had to be carefully considered to make sure it felt completely natural.

“As an editor I get a kick out of technically challenging projects. This one was on another level, as we had to incorporate motion graphics, animation and VFX into the edit, factoring in independently recorded performances from four band members, 16 dancers, 1 internet troll and a whole bunch of extras. The biggest challenge was figuring out the camera movement around the screen - every move of the cursor, zoom, click or reaction had to be carefully considered to make sure it felt completely natural.”

LORENZO LEVRINI (DOP):

The band had to act as gaffers and set designers, carefully setting the gels on the right lights.

“We wanted to embrace the webcam aesthetic but at the same time give each band member’s room a distinct colour palette. We didn’t have access to a lot of production design so we knew the colour of the lighting would be essential to developing this, so we shipped colour gels to everybody. It was the first time I ever used a band as crew. They had to act as gaffers and set designers, carefully setting the gels on the right lights.”

JAMES BERKERY (CHOREOGRAPHER):

“I was both excited and, truthfully, a little daunted by the challenge of creating in lockdown. My aim was to create something anyone could replicate from the limited space of their home and I’m so happy with the end result from all the brilliant team involved; I can’t wait to see what TikTok does with my choreography now!”

PRO Credits

Credits

DirectorGeorgina Cammalleri
ProducerGeorgina Cammalleri
Director of PhotographyLorenzo Levrini
EditorJo Lewandowska
Post ProducerMartin Macnamara
VFXSandra Clua, Guy Davis (motion Graphics), Zdravko Stoitchkov (flame)
CommissionerDominic Mckiernan
ChoreographerJames Berkery
Other creditsSound Mix: Adrian Walter Band Manager: Mike Watson

Rob Ulitski - 1st May 2020

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