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1st July 2013
Projected emotions
Title of film: Willow - Remedy
Director: Filip Sterkx
Production Company: CZAR.BE
Czar.be director Filip Sterckx talks us through the intricate process of making his music video for Dutch band Willow. See in related content for animatic and production stills

We all want to know: How did you make it? Please tell us about the working out of the techniques.

Basically I projected the first frame of the next scene out into the previous scene (or the other way around). I’ve been playing around with projecting on sculptures already for quite a few years now and have been presenting them as art installations at exhibitions. When Willow asked me to make another video for them, I thought it would be a cool idea to use this technique in a music video, that you have these ‘portals’ to travel from one scene to the other.

I’m also a big fan of the Chop Cup video. In this video the camera needs to be in the correct position, in the right perspective, for the image to work. But as soon as the camera moves out of this position, the whole image starts to deconstruct. So as opposed to the sculptures in my installation work, I decided to make the sculptures for the Remedy video a lot more distorted, so that when you move out of the ideal camera position, the image starts to break apart.

Here are some behind the scenes picture that clarify it a bit (see also in Related Content).

Did you use post extensively or did you try and shoot as much as possible in camera?

We did as much as possible in camera, I did a bit of small adjustments here and there in post for the transitions to match better, but other than that everything was done in camera. During the shoot there was a lot of trial and error for the transitions to work, and a lot more digital work than people realize.

One thing that was particularly difficult was the fact that if you project onto a certain volume and want to record it again, you have to hold the camera at the position of the lens of the beamer for it to match with the previous scene. If you’re not, there is so much distortion it becomes impossible to match it with the previous scene. But if you hold the camera at the position of the lens, off course you throw a shadow on your image. So the way to fix this was to 3D-scan the sculpture once it was finished. Then recreate the setup with all right dimension between beamer and sculpture in the 3D software, digitally project the image out onto the sculpture and digitally ‘record’ this again from a slightly different angle.

Then we moved the beamer in real life to the corresponding new angle and project this new image, so that now there was space for the camera to record it from the place where the beamer used to be, and this solved the shadow problem.

Please tell us about the underwater shoot.

We shot them in a private swimming pool with a gopro 3 at 50 frames. I had initially planned to shoot the first underwater shot in quite a different way. But while shooting it didn’t come off the way I had in mind. So we just started to try different things. I have to say I was quite happy with how it turned out, for example the bubbles that come out of the girls hair while she was swimming was more of a happy accident, I think it works very well with the music. For the shot right after I wanted to have a very stylized version of their love, love in its purest sense, two bodies melting together, a short moment of peace.

How did you work the timings out?

I did quite a bit of preparation for this video, since it was very difficult to communicate the idea to band and crew, but also to make it clear for myself. During preproduction we shot a live action version at the locations I had in mind on a cheap camera and me acting out the scenes (without the projections off course), just to get an idea of timing. Since I still felt a bit unsure about the transitions, I decided to make an animatic in 3D software, where I did apply this principle of projection out the frame on a volume. This really gave me something to fall back on while shooting. (See animatic in Related Content). Some scenes near the end are missing, at the time I didn’t know how it would end.

You obviously have the full support of the band – did they leave you to develop the narrative from your own interpretation of the lyrics or was there a tight collaboration?

The singer told me what the lyrics meant to him, and I took it from there. Because of the success of the Sweater video, they had a lot of faith in what I was trying to do, even though they didn’t understand exactly what that was.

The singer is actually the boyfriend of my little sister (who plays the girl), so what he sings about felt quite close to me. Other than that we also shot a big part of the video at his and my parents place (with my grandmother), so I really tried to capture the energy between them in an honest, natural way.


Willow, Remedy

Directed by Filip Sterckx.
DOP: Pierre Schreuder
Art direction: Bart de Melker + Filip Sterckx
Editing: Filip Sterckx
Grading: Xavier Dockx
Production company: CZAR.BE
BIG THANK YOU to whole team working on this video, Het Depot, Nozon, Antoon Verbeeck, Ann Dieltjens, B&B Inblauw, Lites, Cools multimedia, Cafe De Kroeg.


Willow, Sweater

Directed by: Filip Sterckx
DOP: Pierre Schreuder
3D animation / Editing: Filip Sterckx
Production: Pierre Schreuder, Filip Sterckx
Technical support: Aitor Biedma
Production assistant: Nils Goddeeris