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29th June 2020
Art of lockdown
No surprises that VFX and Creative Production Studio The Mill’s Rauri Cantelo is steeped in technical wizardry. Using i-phones and drones and quite a bit of artistic imagination the new director has created these two music videos for pop queens Foxes and Ella Henderson

 

It’s Lockdown time and you get a brief to make a video for Foxes. What were the initial conversations about between you and the artist?

It was so bizarre to first meet via video call, in a weird way it kind of took away some of the pressure as when speaking to people over the phone we have the ‘Oh no, you’re breaking up!’ spiel ready if they really hate the idea.

That being said, our initial conversations were great, we talked through Louisa’s lyrics and what they mean to her, and how we could best use our creative to highlight these underlying messages. The back and forth was super helpful, Lou highlighted her favourites from a gallery of portraits and outlined what the paintings meant to her, along with colour schemes and palettes she was drawn to. This allowed us to establish a clear visual aesthetic to adhere to throughout.

 

Did the lyrics influence  the idea for the visual narrative?

 100%, Lou’s lyrics were all about self-love and empowerment. We specifically used artwork that depicted this to accompany her story. We also took literal queues from the lyrics too, showing Louisa covered in hands in response to “My body couldn’t move with your hands on me”.

 

Would the video have been completely different if the restrictions weren’t in place?

 It’s hard to say as this was a project that came to fruition during the peak of the restrictions and was not something we had planned before. Had there not been restrictions we definitely would’ve had a full crew there and by using a studio we would’ve been able to control the lighting a lot more, but I love it the way it turned out  – It adds character and I think having Lou’s input from start to finish really gave it a personal touch that I think we may not have had if we did it any other way.

 

 

Please tell us about the process of making the video. How did you go about getting the footage for instance and when it came to editing and post did you have the kit at home? 

 It was shot and processed pretty much entirely remotely, Si Lakos our DP luckily lives around the corner from Louisa so he was on hand from his car with remote access to the camera which also provided us with a live feed. We shot entirely on iPhone 11’s using FilmicPro and we had Lou on a live zoom call, allowing me to direct her in real time. When cards were nearing full we’d pause shooting and back up all footage to Lou’s laptop, which her mum was then backing up to drives and then sending proxies out to us to review – it was a well-oiled machine!

Kevin Corry (Editor), and Jo Guthrie (Designer) were both on hand with their own respective WFH set-ups in London and in Northern Ireland ready to go so that when footage came through draft edits and design layouts were underway almost immediately.

Having Jo on the project sooner rather than later was also a massive help, she was able to mock up design concepts very quickly which meant we were able to make minute decisions regarding the look and feel of the final outcome before we’d even started rolling. This intersection of design throughout the project was paramount to achieving our precise ‘collage’-esque end result.

 

What were the main challenges of the production?

 The main challenge was simply just not being able to have as many hands on deck, as you would usually have for this type of shoot. With my background in photography and videography, I’d usually like to be a bit more hands on with the camera, but thanks to the powers of technology we were able to have full remote access to Louisa’s iPhone. We made sure not to overcomplicate the kit and ensured that anything we were planning on using could be operated and set-up by Lou and her mum in the comfort and safety of her flat.

 

 

Meanwhile, you’ve taken a completely different tack with your video for Ella Henderson, using candy-esque colours and the brutalist design of Windows 95 to explore the theme of memories and nostalgia.  This time you also used to a drone to film, keeping within the govt guidelines for shooting. What were the key challenges of this production?

The main challenge was shooting something of this nature remotely. The legalities regarding travelling for work had slightly relaxed around the time we were due to be shooting, so our drone pilot Ollie Richards was able to drive up to Ella’s house from Bristol and set up ‘camp’ on her driveway for the day. Shooting via drone meant that he could easily and safely socially distance whilst getting our aerial shots. Using software that Lucy Hawes (Producer) and I had previously tested and established on another shoot meant we were able to relatively easily tune in to what was happening live on the ground. The extra challenge to spice things up was to try and patch into the drone feed as it was flying, it felt as if I was in some sort of flight simulator!

 

The Mill

 

Credits

Foxes:

Label: [PIAS]

Commissioner: Russell Crank, Anis Marks

Production Company: LH Productions
Director: Rauri Cantelo
Creative Director: Russell Dean Stone
Producer: Lucy Hawes
Production Assistant: Nadine Leswi
DOP: Si Lakos
Styling: Karen Clarkson
Editor: Kevin Corry @ The Assembly Rooms
Graphics Art Direction & Editor: Jo Guthrie
Post Production: The Mill
Post Producer: Tanya Fearon
Grade: Alex Gregory
VFX: James Mac
Additional VFX: Nick Pratt
2D: Holly McClean
Treatment design and storyboards: Lola Webster

 

Ella Henderson:

Label: Atlantic Records UK
Commissioner: Nicola Sheppard
Director: Rauri Cantelo
Production: The Mill
EP: Dougal Meese
Producer: Lucy Hawes
DOP/Drone: Oliver Richards
Drone PA: Elspeth Fisher
iPhone Cam Op: Patrick Henderson
Graphic Designer: Jo Guthrie
Directors Assistant, Treatment designer and storyboards: Lola Webster
Editorial: The Assembly Rooms
Editor & Animation: Ed Cooper
Edit producer: Eppie Bowler
Colour: Thomas Mangham
Colour Producer: Kate Ryan
TK Assist: Rory Leighton, Dan Levy
Online: James Pratt