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Flying Out

Grayson Gilmour has just released the video for his new single 'Minus Times Infinity' featuring a giant dragon, dismemberment and over 5000 frames of film individually hand coloured.

Director, Jesse Taylor Smith shared with us some facts and figures on the process of putting together this extraordinary music video (which you can watch below as well).

  • 1x giant animatronic dragon was constructed. Before we even began I knew this would be a very largest complicated prop. Creative director and cinematographer Jenna Eriksen and I had some solid ideas of what we wanted - The dragon had to be kitch and homemade but with character and personality. It needed to be big enough to devour Grayson and small enough to be driven for hours to the location. Borris (as we lovingly named him) was born out of hinges and ropes, tubing, wood, foam, bathroom sealer, fabric, wire and mesh. His eyes and brains were made from a deconstructed remote control car and were operated off camera. His neck, jaws, tounge and legs were controlled by pulleys and operated by two puppetters inside the body. During production Borris suffered terribly. He was shoved in and out of a van. His jaws briefly caught fire. He was sent down a river and finally he was cut completely in half.  

  • 1x vintage soviet era 16mm camera completely failed on the first day (even after several flawless camera tests). I guess certain unforeseeable situations are almost expected on a shoot as ambitious as this one. After a long stress and a quick fix we were back on track and managed to wrap one day over the schedule. I am really amazed at how far we manage to push our bodies and brains and budgets during the production phase. But with this clip I am even more amazed how far we managed to push our patience during post production. 

  • 5625x frames were coloured by hand! I have always been fascinated by frame by frame colourisation in early 20th century films. The work done by Georges Méliès and Lumière brothers is beyond beautiful. But I have always regarded the technique as too difficult and time consuming for a music video. However, after talking with Grayson and after a lot of convincing by Jenna it started to all make sense. The style and narrative suited the frame by frame colourisation perfectly. The edit was already looking like some uncovered silent film.

It had already been such a laborious production that it didn't make sense to fall short during the edit or colour grade. So the decision was made to hand paint every single leaf and drop of water of a four minute clip at 25 frames a second. It took several days just to desaturated and separate the footage into frames. The process created an enormous amount of data and an even more enormous amount of work. We originally considered painting on the negative but instead opted to paint on TIFF (16bit) files with a tablet. Using this process we managed to keep definition super high and our sanity as intact as possible. The next two and a half months were spent in front of screens. There were many deep and philosophical discussions about which certain shade of brown the mud should be or if the leaf should be more yellow. To be honest it all seems like a blur of coffee and colour now. The video was slowly reassembled frame by frame. The colorisation  seemed to slowly be bringing the video to life. The most inanimate rock now burst into focus.
The clip was finally set in its own unique world ... and with that some kind of boyish-dragon-fantasy of mine was fulfilled. It is really wonderful to finally share Minus Times Infinity with everyone. 

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