South Wales-based alternative folk group Nanook of The North came to us to create a music video for their upcoming single “Panda Eyes”. The brief was to something different, more visually-driven than narrative-based, and the group gave us free reign in terms of ideas – which obviously got us excited.
The track itself has a deep, atmospheric feel, which then turns to an emotional epic in its final section. With the band having no intention of featuring in the video themselves, we knew that the video itself would have to be visually stunning in order to fit the feel of the track, but also demand audience attention.
So naturally, we made some faces out of ice and smashed the shit out of ’em.
One of our biggest challenges we faced was the reflectivity of the ice. We wanted to project images onto the surface, so that the audience could see the subject clearly, but also be able to notice that it was actually projected onto the ice itself. After numerous tests using various degrees of purity and composition, we concluded that the best result was just water straight from the tap. This frosted over well, and wasn’t as transparent as distilled water from bottles, which gave us the effect we were looking for.
The ‘make or break’ moment of the production was making the ice explode effectively. After ruling out actual explosives or fireworks (obviously…), as well as some unreliable homemade effects, we realised it was going to have to get pretty hands-on. That’s where the hammer came in. Keeping it out of shot in the edit was a tad tricky to be honest, but incidentally, smashing a mountain of ice blocks to pieces is a decent stress-reliever.
This was a great opportunity for us to take advantage of one of the great strengths of the Sony FS700 – its ability to shoot at high frame rates to achieve great super-slow motion. Using a combination of 200 and 400fps, we managed to capture the explosion of ice in a dynamic and beautiful way.