Father John Misty Please Don't Die Music Video

Father John Misty

Ridley Scott Associates. Stop Motion Animation Music Video, Father John Misty: Please Don’t Die – 

Well if you are wondering where I have been recently It was a bit of a secret. However, now I am able to tell you. For the past month or so I have been locked in a bunker near Bristol (UK) grafting away. Working in a small team headed up by Director Chris Hopewell (responsible for the last Radiohead video amongst many other animated music videos) have been working every hour possible to create a journey into the underworld for the American singer Father John Misty.

Bristol studio the Farm run by my old pal Nick were used for the large sets.
Bristol studio the Farm run by my old pal Nick were used for the large sets.
We also built a second smaller unit set for me to shoot pickups and close up shots.
We also built a second smaller unit set for me to shoot pickups and close up shots.

DOP Jon Davey and I have been helping Chris create his vision for this music track. A sort of fantastic journey into the depths of self-loathing and death through the medium of stop-motion animation. Jon brought me onboard to lighten his load as our experience and skill sets are somewhat similar. Though I have not worked with Jon for over 25 years! It all started as a playful, sarcastic comment from me on facebook and ended up with me working for Subpop (Nirvana’s record label) as a 2nd Unit DOP 15hrs a day for 22 days straight, as are the joys of the interweb!

Once the dust has settled from the album launch I will follow up with some more behind the scenes etc on this shoot. I think some of the lighting setups will be fun to deconstruct for the readers out there. It is certainly the first time I have had to balance lamps of such varying power before, as often I would have a 5000 watt key light and a 0.5 watt practical light on the same set!

The smallest lamps used were the 0.5w bedside lights I built that can be seen here in the hotel room set.
The smallest lamps used were the 0.5w bedside lights I built that can be seen here in the hotel room set.

Practical lights were also used to dress the hotel room and other sets. I built these using doll’s house bulbs connected to a small dimmer so we total control of the balance between lighting. Everything else was run through a dimmer board as this gives us the ability to finesse the contrast ratios. However, we mostly would control large changes in dimming with ND filters on the head as to not affect the colour balance of the key and fill lights too much. Because dimming them down would have made them far too warm for our needs.

Myself (left) and JD line up the graveyard shot on the main set.
Myself (left) and JD line up the graveyard shot on the main set.
The guys did such an amazing job with the water on the river set, I fitted a small bulb into the lantern and this was powered by a lithium pack I used to jump-start my van!
The guys did such an amazing job with the water on the river set, I fitted a small bulb into the lantern and this was powered by a lithium pack I used to jump-start my van!

Other practicals were required such as the lantern on the Swan boat. It took a fair bit of experimenting to come up with the final lamp and power source. The requirement for that lamp to run for extended periods was crucial, as changing batteries and the potential to disturb things on a live animation set was not really something we could have happen. There simply was no time for re-shoots or any digital cleanups due to the extreme pressure we were under to get the shots done to complete this film on time and budget.

The lanterns I used on this set were recycled from an old Radiohead video.
The lanterns I used on this set were recycled from an old Radiohead video.
I was really happy with the lighting I did for the scene where we meet the sinister figure of the boatman.
I was really happy with the lighting I did for the scene where we meet the sinister figure of the boatman.
The boatman, simply backlit with yellow and top-lit with red to bring out the textured fabric an, 8x4 poly with a Strand 500w on the dimmerboard is used from the front for a tiny bit of fill.
The boatman, simply backlit with yellow and top-lit with red to bring out the textured fabric an, 8×4 poly with a Strand 500w on the dimmerboard is used from the front for a tiny bit of fill.

Rolling Stone magazine link to Father John Misty, Please Don’t Die music video.