Will Dohrn directs ‘3210’ for Jeshi.
Filmed in London, UK.
Words from Will below.
Can you give us a rundown on some of the more technical aspects?
WD: The technique is achieved by shooting photo sequences at stop motion frame rates. When the camera travels past and shoots the photographs at certain traveling speeds, they begin to animate. Creating a sort of in-camera stop motion animation.
Which is a sort of reverse zoopraxiscope. The zoopraxiscope is a device that spins photographs or illustrations at certain speeds, animating them. Which was one of the main influences in the creation of the concept.
Did you find specific shutter or framerate adjustments that benefited the effect?
WD: Yeah, me and Harry Wheeler landed on 16.666 and 12.5 which are both stop motion frame rates. The unusual decimal was to avoid strobing with 50hz lights.
In ideal world we would have shot entirely at 18fps, however the higher the frame rate, the faster the camera’s traveling speed needed to be to animate the photographs, which introduces its own difficulties. So we stuck at 16 for the majority.
We used a 5º shutter on an Arri Mini which is the lowest shutter angle on that camera, we effectively needed to eradicate pretty much all motion blur from the shot to make the animations as sharp as possible at our traveling speed.
How do you pitch a video like this to the label and artist?
WD: I broke down the influences of the technique in the treatment, but wanted to shoot a test video to illustrate the concept more clearly to the label. So I shot myself walking down the street on an iPhone, then printed the video into a sequence of roughly 300 photographs and assembled them into a 60 meter or so line of photos. I then went back to the same location and shot myself wearing the same clothes, walking along the long line of photos, the camera would then move between me and the trail of photographs, going from animation to live action within the same shot. I’d say the test video was probably a key factor in getting an idea like this commissioned.
This kind of unconventional approach feels like a special category within the genre of music video. I’m interested in exploring what draws you to these kinds of executions as a filmmaker.
WD: I guess it’s the thrill of discovery, or looking at familiar notions, themes, or stories from less familiar or new perspectives. Which is why I’m sometimes drawn to this way of filmmaking. However I think simplicity in film can be an extremely powerful and beautiful thing, so don’t always start thinking from the same position when looking for ideas.
Simplicity in film can be an extremely powerful and beautiful thing, so don’t always start thinking from the same position when looking for ideas.
Are there any past music videos that were particularly influential in forming this opinion?
WD: Yeah I’d say there are lots of music videos that have had an influence on me in this way, if I had to pick one more recently I’d say Bonobo ‘Kerala’ by Dave Bullivant. Love it.
A bit of an earlier one I’d throw in is Benga ‘I Will Never Change’ by Us. Great film and a great sculpture in one, which is something I try to pursue or pitch at times myself.
Going back to simplicity though I’d say Mount Kimbie ‘Carbonated’ directed by Tyrone Lebon, which is essentially a video of people walking home in the early hours of the morning, but the way it’s captured made it seem much more than that. Definitely had an impact on me early on.
What are you reading at the moment?
WD: Beren & Luthien
- Aaron Willson
- Executive Producer
- Tom O'Driscoll
- Director of Photography
- Ground Work
- Production Company