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17th January 2012
Mother of all tracks
Title of film: Let Me Be The One You Call On
Director: Airside & Mr Kaplin
Production Company: Airside
Airside talks about the process behind Frank Eddie's "Let me be the one you call on" video

While thriving creative design studio Airside UK has been keeping us happy for 14 years with its cheerful illustrative work and animations, the founders Fred Deakin, Alex Maclean and Nat Hunter have decided to close up shop in March to pursue their separate ambitions.

“We haven’t fallen out with each other, in fact we’re as close as we ever were. What has happened is that after 14 years of working together, we have grown into different people with different goals,” the founders announced.

We at 1.4 also rather liked this quote from Fred: ‘The bizarre thing is that we’re not selling the business – we felt like it wasn’t that sort of company. We did think about it at various times over the years, but we felt like we’d have to commit ourselves to several years of soullessness. We feel a bit like the KLF when they burned a million quid – we want to end Airside with a bang.’

Meanwhile Airside Nippon will continue and carry on producing work like this weird and wonderful video for Frank Eddie. Hoooray.

Frank Eddie: Let Me Be The One You Call On is compulsively watchable. How did the characters come about? Were the visuals in reaction to the music and lyrics or had you already been building the characters and environment and they just happened to fit perfectly?

The real starting point for the idea came from the title of the track “Let me be the one you call on”. We looked at the different types of relationships and in the end we decided that for us, the title reflected that of an almost maternal relationship you would except to find between a mother and child and it grew from there.

The tone is very colourfully organic! Did this just spontaneously evolve or was there something specific you were after?

Airside work has always been playful, characterful and colourful. Collaborating with Mr Kaplin really helped give it that slightly darker, edgy feel to it.

Were there other ideas that you shelved in favour of this?

Originally floating around were ideas of boy-bands, dancing robots and singing buildings but in the end we decided as a result of the sonar like sounds within the track that we wanted something slightly aquatic.

It’s a joint venture between Mr Kaplin and Airside Nippon – how did the collaboration work?

First it was roughly sketched out on the back of another project brief…

As a group we discussed birth, embryos etc, which later developed into an abstract visualization of the Osmosis process, the movement of water molecules through membrane, this felt like the right angle. An aquatic journey of colorful characters finding their way to the mother like character.

At first the idea was visually a lot darker but became more playful as Airside Nippon started to put into place the designs of the internal membranes and the characters. The one shot idea for the video was established pretty quickly when we realized how well it fitted the structure of the song as a result of the big intro. So from here we just worked out timings of where we wanted the camera to be at key points in the track, then all that was left was to create it.

Once the final designs came from Airside, modeling was very fast, it only took a few days, where as the rigging of the characters and render style took a little longer to work on, to get everything rigged up for animation took about two weeks. Animating in 3D took another week or two on top of that, and then the render of everything was around ten days in total on six computers doing a net render.

Once everything was rendered the final composite of the video took another week in After Effects adding extra lights, flashes, particulars etc. All in, the production was around six to seven weeks.

Were there any major challenges in creating the piece?

They might say it was lip-synching since this was their first time – learning on the job to match the singing to the mouthing.

What’s next?

There’s another Frank Eddie single out in February, several more videos and an album release later in the year. Watch this space!