Showing off its conceptual, directorial and design prowess, Lightborne has created a quirky, psychedelic and inventive music video for Fat Possum recording artists Heartless Bastards. “All This Time” is a powerful declaration of loyalty and affection by vocalist Erika Wennerstrom to her partner and fellow bassist, Mike Lamping.
“We all really liked the idea to begin with and getting to see the final result was pretty amazing,” comments Wennerstrom.
The video takes Wennerstrom on an “Alice in Wonderland”-like scavenger hunt put on by her bandmates. Signs and vibrant motion graphics point her to various destinations where she meets unusual characters such as a Hunter S. Thompson-style urban beach bum (drummer Kevin Vaughn) who keeps the company of weirdly dressed mannequins, and offers her sake and a cootie catcher. During the chorus, graphic backgrounds and animated rainbow ribbons take Wennerstrom and the band into another world akin to a fall down the rabbit hole. The delightful video concludes when the bandmates, dressed in “American Gothic” garb, are reunited at their final destination: home.
Lightborne Co-Directors Scott Fredette and Dana Hamblen, who knew the band personally, were given free reign in concepting and producing the video.
“Erika [Wennerstrom] gives a powerful and poignant performance, which really makes this song so appealing,” explains Fredette. “Our idea was based on arts and crafts. We wanted to combine low art with high-end graphics in a guerilla style film.”
The rigorous three-day schedule took the band and the Lightborne team to many locations shooting the HD variable-speed camera Varicam. The performance sequences were shot on green screen with the HDCAM.
Creative Director Tuesday McGowan designed the motion graphics and overall look of the video. Compositing was done by Dave Irion in After Effects and particles were created using Particular. The CG rainbow was created in Softimage XSI. A standard definition edit was done from the down-convert in Avid, and then an HD edit in Final Cut. The timeline was then exported to After Effects.
“Scott and Dana have such a unique and fun directorial voice while the Heartless Bastards’ possess a powerful infectious energy,” says McGowan. “We wanted to capture this vibe by developing a design language that would reinforce the scavenger hunt idea in a signature way. In the green screen choruses, a CG ’70s-inspired graphic rainbow seamlessly moves in and around the band to punctuate their high-energy performance and to highlight the narrative arc of the song.”
For Irion, using After Effects on “All This Time” proved to be a tremendous advantage over other compositing software. The Automatic Duck software enabled the artists to open up the layers and timeline intact and work immediately from the offline edit.
“We usually have one main animator who oversees the entire project, but this time, we had several artists working on specific parts,” says Irion. “The Ultimatte plug-in [for After Effects] does a great job of cleaning up the dark shadows or variations in the key background for you. A few shots were exported to Fusion and combustion, but the bulk of the compositing and 3D camera moves were done via After Effects.”
“We really experimented with different ideas,” concludes Fredette. “Tuesday did a fantastic job of making the video look original and fresh. There’s some dirt to the design. We wanted interesting effects without being too glossy. The challenge was getting the project done and being creative with our budget. We really relied on our resources – sweet people who are very involved and proactive. We couldn’t have done this without them.”
Production & Design Company: Lightborne
Executive Producer: Scott Durban
Creative Director/Designer: Tuesday McGowan
DP: Scott Fredette
Editor: Tom Acito
Lead Compositor: Dave Irion
Compositors: Andrew Hildebrand, Kyle Shoup, Alex Schworer
Animator: Tim Salikov
Online Editor: Nate Clark
Editorial Assistant: Trevor Schulte
Illustrator: Hogan Lee
Lightborne is a motion design and production studio, which has created cutting-edge and memorable work in commercials, broadcast design, and short films for clients such as ECCO Shoes, Lee Cooper Jeans, MTV, and Fuel TV, as well as music videos for artists including Death Cab for Cutie, The Raconteurs, Atmosphere, Bad Religion and Kenny Chesney. Made up of designers, directors, animators, editors, illustrators, sound designers and effects artists, this collective desires to practice and advance the discipline of motion design. Lightborne thrives on the exploration of the unseen and untested and uses its knowledge and experience to help clients navigate innovation.