We had always wanted to shoot a music video in space but we wanted to wait for the perfect track to justify the expedition. So, when Trench approached us about producing a video for his track ‘Rat Catcher’, we knew it was time to start gathering the resources. Nah, we just found a thin, clear piece of glass in a skip outside our office and proceeded to pour all manner of liquids over it.
To control the light we blacked out a small studio, placing black paper on the floor to act as a backdrop behind the glass. We then used some clamps and lighting stands to hold the glass pane horizontally in place. To get the camera in to position we connected a 1 Metre Glidetrack to two tripods and had the camera locked off in the middle, facing straight down at our glass canvas. We shot this video in 4K with the Gh4 so luckily, like the To Kill a King – Love is Coal video, we could connect an iPad to the camera to act as a monitor – this saved us fumbling about over the precarious set up! The lens we used was a Nikon Nikkor 50mm 1.4, connected to a Metabones Speedbooster so we had ALL the light.
All kinds of things were used to create the colourful mess on the glass, including inks, fairy liquid, milk, tissue paper, white spirit and oil. My favourite combo being the milk and ink. Fairy liquid and white spirit created some interesting results too. We only needed to experiment for about an hour before we had enough footage to play with.
I edited this piece before I built my new beast PC which I now use for 4/5k edits, so I had to subject my poor old iMac to a 4K edit again. I wanted to do a load of slow digital zooms with this 4K footage so I edited the video in a 1920×1080 sequence in Premiere Pro**. This took me an age on my iMac, the render times and endless crashes were horrific – at one point it became so hot I could have cooked an entire full English breakfast on it. The main techniques I used were scaling in to the footage, nesting the clip in a sequence and then speed ramping. If you keyframe scale and speed ramp the same clip without nesting, bad things happen. I had plans to do a lot more with this edit in After Effects but my schedule and iMacs health wouldn’t allow me to spend any more time on it. For grading I used Film Convert which worked perfectly for this.
**Quick tip, if you don’t want to punch into your 4k footage and reframe your shot in post, putting 4k footage into a 1920×1080 timeline in Premiere and scaling it to frame size creates a proxy which makes working with 4K on older systems much more bearable. Doing this does decrease image quality but, once you’ve got your edit finalised, all you need to do is uncheck scale to frame size on all your clips, then manually scale down a clip to the desired scale, copy this clip and then paste scale attributes on all your other clips in the timeline. BAM.
Check out the finished piece, I recommend watching it with headphones!