Rob Ulitski - 17th Nov 2020

Paul Dugdale directs a powerful visual for Sam Smith's Love Goes, featuring Labrinth, performed live at Abbey Road Studios. 

Filmed as part of a global livestream broadcast on the day of the release of Sam Smith’s new album, multi-award winning live director Dugdale both pays homage to tradition whilst embracing new ideas, resulting in a new perspective on the UK's most hallowed and legendary recording studios - as unique and fresh as the artists that inhabit it.

PAUL DUGDALE: 

"We took a few creative liberties for Sam's livestream, making it a fusion of performance and documentary, to appear more like a bespoke live-streamed film rather than straight up, live-to-air gig.

I wanted it to feel like we were peering in on Sam and the band rehearsing in the iconic room rather than a consciously designed 'global livestream’

"At this point, Sam had spoken relatively little about the album and its genesis, and because it was the first time many of the tracks were being performed live since Sam had recorded them, we liked the added depth and supporting context this part documentary format offered the new songs.

"Our film is bookended with two theatrical lighting moments where we essentially take the room away so that all of the focus is on Sam and their voice, lit by a single back light. Beyond that, for the other 11 tracks, the identity of the room was vital for us and I wanted to pursue an aesthetic which felt more like we were privately peering in on Sam and the band rehearsing in the iconic room rather than a consciously-designed 'global livestream'.

For five of the tracks we bathed the room in a deep colour... all accent colours are from in-the-room lighting.

"Besides the start and end, one early decision was to not have any lighting in shot, BUT still have the ability to see the whole room on big geographical wide shots to get maximum character of the space. Lighting designer Tim Routledge who put together Sam's previous tour was key in executing this challenging brief. Having found a solution to make the room look… well… normal, we then wanted to introduce several punctuation points where we would fuck with the space a little bit, but crucially- without hiding it.

"These came in the form of these moments of synethesia where for five of the tracks we bathed the room in a deep colour, to remove the reality of the moment while never removing any of the character of the room. It's the same space but seen through a different filter, though all accent colours are from in-the-room lighting.

"I heard an amazing quote from Damien Hirst once where he said you could walk down the same road for 20 years with very little changing but one day a huge tree might have fallen across the road. It's still the same road, the tree was always there, but because you're seeing it slightly differently, in that moment the environment feels completely different.

"I guess this was our attempt at that. The colour accents gave us an opportunity to punctuate the piece as a whole, breaking up the normality of the aesthetic while never stepping on the authenticity of Sam’s performance or compromising it still looking 'very Abbey Road’.

We kept moments between songs quite loose to allow Sam’s unfiltered personality and passion to be seen by all.

"Seeing relationships between the players and Sam, and often letting long camera moves play out in the edit hopefully leant into this idea of realism and capturing a moment. Sam’s character and incredible performance sits front and centre of the piece, and we were conscious to keep moments between songs quite loose to allow Sam’s unguarded and unfiltered personality and passion to be seen by all. Sometimes the rough edges can be some of the most valuable bits.

"Producer Simon Fisher pulled off one of the most lavish video village locations of all time housed in Abbey Road Studio 1 - so for a short while during Sam’s performance, we could all imagine we were rock stars too."

Credits

DirectorPaul Dugdale
ProducerSimon Fisher
Production CompanySi Fi Productions
Creative DirectorLee Lodge
Executive ProducerStefan Demetriou
Executive ProducerPaul Dugdale
Executive ProducerLee Lodge
Production ManagerBean Taylor
Production ManagerWob Roberts
1st ADEmma Ramsay
Director of PhotographyJames Rhodes
Focus PullerChris Robertson
Focus PullerWarren Buckingham
Focus PullerWill Roth
2nd ACJosh Spear
2nd Unit DoPJames Tonkin
Lighting DesignerTim Routledge
GafferJonathan Sellers
Make-upJo Hamilton
EditorSimon Bryant
EditorBenjamin Wainwright-Pearce
EditorTim Woolcott
EditorMatthew Blacklock
ColouristSteve Atkins
Post production companyThe Joint
Post ProducerRuth Leighter
CommissionerStefan Demetriou
Other creditsTour Manager - Gemma Peacock Musical Direction & Production - David Odlum Mixed By - Steve Fitzmaurice Monitors - Saul Skoutarides Lighting Programmer - James Scott Technical Supervisor - Naor Aloni

Rob Ulitski - 17th Nov 2020

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