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25th July 2012
Blooming wonderful
Title of film: Lord Cry Cry - Blind Lightnin' Floor
Director: Francis Kamprath
1.4 asked Francis Kamprath about his all singing, all dancing animation for Lord Cry Cry's album

The idea of singing, dancing flowers first occurred to me years ago when I went on a trip in nature with my headphones on. Driven by some nice music the flowers started dancing and singing and somehow that image stuck in my mind although over the years that memory faded.

It came back to me, however, when I quit my job as a TV editor to go freelance and I suddenly had time and space for creativity and personal projects. I also got my first camera about the same time and wanted to experiment with it.

I’m a big fan of Lord Cry Cry and he had just released his wonderful debut album Live at the C.P.U. and following a no-budget performance video for its first single release, I thought it would be nice to have something more abstract for the second track, as Lord Cry Cry is more of a music producer and composer than a typical performer. The only minor problem was that there wasn’t a real budget for a video clip.

And that’s when I revived the image of the dancing flowers. I realized that apart from needing a lot of patience, it would be technically quite simple.

My setup consisted only of a small DSLR (Canon 550D/ Rebel t2i)
and an old light therapy box that I found in the trash behind our house the week before I started, some aluminum foil as a reflector, a piece of black cloth as backdrop and the flowers from my local flower shop. With this setup I took a few thousand single stills of the flowers blooming separately over the course of two months and then put it all together in my computer using After Effects.

The biggest challenge apart from not having enough time for doing the postproduction as neat as I would have liked, as I had to work on other projects, was keeping our cat from nibbling the flowers or knocking them over.

Also having the light therapy box on all the time was a bit strenuous. It’s one of those things that apparently helps against winter depression, but after a while I started thinking an overdose of the light could lead to the reverse, especially thinking about the electricity bill for that time span… but in the end it was definitely worth it!

When I’m not animating flowers in my bedroom, I mainly do editing. My favourite fields are music videos and documentaries. While I’m a trained editor, my animating is self-taught. I particularly enjoy working with 2D and 3D as well as classic stop motion and pixelation.

Hopefully I will soon have more time to realize other personal projects parked at the back of my mind.