One of the first films I directed (this one with Luke Losey) which got public notice.
Starring the wonderful Tilda Swinton, this was a labour of love from a great team, based out of my studio just off Sheperdess Walk.
I was called in by my studio mate Giles to help him and Luke come up with an idea for a pop video.
Did I know any good DoPs? I said I'd always wanted to work with Maxim Ford. Maxim had shot and directed a film called North - which was like a British Koyaanisqaatsi.
Also I was heavily influences by a number of great animated films which had used pixellation techniques - stop frame animation with humans - including the work of Norman McLaren (Neighbours is the best example) and an Australian animation called Palisade.
We came up with an idea of an alien character who came from a different time-frame from us - a much much slower place. So that when they moved around in our world, it would feel terrifyingly fast.
To make it possible to shoot in the short amount of time allowed for a pop video, I thought we could do a timelapse animation (where the camera keeps turning over slowly one frame at a time) and so be able to speed up the otherwise very lengthy animation process. It turned out Maxim had done a number of tests with another animator which proved that it could work for inanimate objects and abandoned buildings.
I called up ex college mate Jonathan Charles who had done some pixellated films while we were at college and worked as an animator. We did some tests on video with Tilda and it looked like it could be done.
The idea for asking Tilda Swinton came from Melissa Bliss. We had been to see Tilda doing a performance piece where she lay very still in a gallery for the two weeks or so of an exhibition (as part of The Maybe exhibition - a collaboration with Cornelia Parker - which was much later restaged in MoMA in New York).
Luke had worked as an assistant on Derek Jarman's Caravaggio so he had met Tilda and hand wrote her a letter.
Tilda had been ill for a while and was just recovering so she said she understood the feeling we were trying to convey. Luke did warn her that the technique we were using required her to be very still if she was to stay in focus. She explained that she was good at 2 things - being still and parking.
Co-directed with Luke and working closely with Director of Photography Maxim, animator Jonathan Charles, art director Dorigen Hammond and fledgling producer Tracy Bass, this is a music video for Orbital which has the structure of a short film. It won awards and nominations all over the world and has received 2m hits on Youtube. This is the first time I have actually posted it since we made it in 1995. This version is taken from the original 35mm print but is digitised from a Digibeta copy. We could not have made this without the incredible support we got from Phil and Paul Hartnoll of Orbital and their management team.
All of this film was shot on location and in-camera.
But there is one shot which we had to re-do in the studio because Tilda's eyes were streaming with tears and red raw (an allergic reaction to the make up)