We love the fact that it’s his girlfriend shooting him down for being an oaf, leaving the washing up, hogging the duvet – all the normal stuff and the visuals lend themselves perfectly to the lyrics. How did the narrative come about, was it an early decision to use the games platform as a story-telling device?
When we gave the track its first spin, the title/chorus “Kill Your Attitude”, which sounds like a late 90’s videogame title, did leave a strong impression on us so we started developing the concept based on these words. The idea of using a FPS video game as a narrative canvas plus guns threatening and explosions as a metaphor to illustrate the level of pissed-offness of actors in the relation became an obvious way to go early on in the process.
The production looks just as complicated as your earlier hit video as She’s Bad, albeit very different. How did you figure out the logistics, especially the live action footage within the games framework?
The initial idea was to use existing videogames stock footage as a background plate to sit our in-camera footage in. We discussed ways to achieve this with various people and post houses, until we came across these guys at Ruffian Post in London who are great and simply said “Humm, why don’t we just create a new game from scratch?” A few hours later we were writing our script in Unity (a game engine software which allows you to build videogames) and were able to do location scouting, props browsing, camera/framing tests, this is where almost everything happens. We were like kids without any real production limits placing helicopters, tanks, buildings and all the stuff you can dream about.
Did you work closely with an effects team – and was everything mapped out beforehand or did the video evolve quite a lot as you created it?
Before going in depth into the writing process we had preliminary discussions with Ruffian, the lovely post house we teamed up with, to exchange ideas and understand together what our technical limits and challenges were going to be. As the discussions and solutions were going on, we quickly realised that Ruffian were gonna be the perfect guys for this project.
When we were done establishing the key shots in UNITY, they began to build the final environments with lights and components as we continued to simplify and enhance the story on our side. On the shoot day, the rough 3D environments were ready and available for us to use as a visual reference while shooting which was a huge help.
The folks from Ruffian were on set with us to make sure everything was cool and going to work smoothly. They even designed the girlfriend 3D model directly with Darwin himself. After the shoot, we had working sessions for edit and key animation in order to make sure we were on the same page then they took it from there and worked on creating final scenes and comps with our footage.
What were the main challenges of the production and how did you resolve them?
Most of the challenges were on the technical side. At the very beginning we struggled on finding the best option to incorporate Darwin in an environment all made out of cgi as well as how to properly achieve the first person shooter video game camera movements. Everything got resolved by exchanging with our post house and our dop (Alex Icovic) and we came up with solutions and hacks to overcome the potential problems.
Another worry we had was regarding the animations of characters and FPS components (hands gestures, weapons, etc) since we were on a tight schedule we decided to work with existing Unity assets such as moving soldiers, tanks, weapons and build the custom animations around it. Our goal was to create a visually impacting piece and at the end we think we achieved this.
When we last interviewed you, way back in early 2013 when you were very new directors, Benjamin you were living in France and Jean Philippe you were in Montreal. How did that work for this project? And will you continue to work remotely now that you have been signed to Caviar?
Yes, even if we get to visit each other more and more for project development and shootings, we are still working remotely. Even though sometimes Skype sessions can be a pain in the arse, the distance is now part of our workflow and we embrace that constraint to turn it into an added creative bonus.