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Villagers 'That Golden Time' by Rok Predin

David Knight - 19th Jan 2024

Rok Predin at Trunk Animation has created a brillliant music video for Conor O'Brien's project Villagers following the journey of a moth on its instinctive journey towards a source of light. But this is no ordinary moth - nor an ordinary light, for that matter.

From near darkness at the start, there comes the first evidence a creature; the stirring into life of a moth, with glistening, gold markings. Over the course of the next few minutes, the moth makes its way from the darkness of a cornfield at night to the porch of a farmhouse - illuminated by the flame of a gas lamp. It is an extraordinary sequence, which achieves and celebrates visual beauty while slowly ratcheting up an increasing sense of peril - all of which reflects the poigant nature of the song. 

O'Brien's song ponders humanity's obsession with technology and tendency to trap itself in the digital bubble, drawn to the promise of more stuff, just out of reach. O'Brien outlined the feel of the video and idea of 'algorithm blues', a line from the track, in his brief. From that, Rok Predin made the connection between the lure of technology to the draw of a moth to the flame.

His approach was inspired by another piece of art: ultra-slow motion footage of a Dark Marathyssa moth - a species found mainly in North America - shot by Dr Adrian Smith of North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Filmed at 6000fps, the footage captured the delicate nature, strength and agility of the insect - and the golden shimmering scales and flecks that adorn the Dark Marathyssa body and wings. That gave Predin and producer Richard Barnett the platform to emphasise the beauty and fragility of the moth - as a representation of humanity's own frail relationship with self control.

The Trunk team studied the composition and texture of the moth in order to recreate it in Cinema 4D. There is a touch of poetic license in the video, the scale of the moth is a touch bigger than reality - it is actually only about 1.5cm in length and has a wingspan of around 2.5cm - but as well as the 3D model, having licensed Dr Smith's footage they dropped a couple of the live action shots in too. 

Then in the final sections of the video, as the moth nears the flame, it takes a more abstract turn. Trunk did a SFX shoot in Norfolk to capture the mesmeric particle systems." I didn’t want anything too digital," says Rok Predin. "I wanted to embrace the organic randomness, so shooting at 240fps in 4K gave us some great options!"

Richard Barnett adds that the work was also a real collaboration with Conor O'Brien, where artist and production team were talking on a regular basis to discuss ideas. "Too often walls are put up between creatives rather than allowing them to chat," he says. "But once again our old friends at Domino showed trust, and alongside commissioner John Moule steering the ship, it was a really great process."

The result is so good, its worth minimizing external light, to embrace what happens on screen, from the initial darkness onwards - to fully immerse yourself in the experience.

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David Knight - 19th Jan 2024


  • Animation
  • CGI
  • Director's notes
  • Pick of the Day
  • Indie
  • Alternative
  • Moth
  • Dark Marathyssa

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Rok Predin
Richard Barnett
Production Company


John Moule
Domino Records


3D Animator
Rok Predin
Layla Atkinson

Other credits

Stock footage

c/o Dr Adrian Smith of North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

David Knight - 19th Jan 2024

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