What was the most challenging part of creating Free Yourself?
D&N: The whole thing was a huge challenge. We had to find crew, locations and cast willing to work for whatever we could offer them. We also had to have The Mill on board and committed to make it the best it could be, as so much of the film relied on the post. The Mill were amazing, giving us access to the best talent and software for as long as we needed. And a bit more. We had to be flexible about everything we did to get what we wanted and we didn’t compromise. All the crew who worked on it gave everything as it was such a great idea and a great track. It was a tough shoot but good fun. After the shoot we had to motion capture lots of dancers for all the roles of the robots, if you watch the video and imagine that nearly all of those movements were created by dancers and actors in motion capture. We had to plan out the action and the scene and use tape on the floor to give them marks to work in as well as acting like a robot. Building the robots in post was a huge task and the level of detail The Mill went to was fantastic. No stone was left unturned in the pursuit of realism and cinematic style, the team just kept chipping away, innovating and creating digital magic on the screen. It was a very inclusive, inspired and creative part of the job to bring the look and performance of the robots to life.
Wes: I think rendering scenes with over a thousand CGI raving robots in was probably the most challenging part of what was a very fun and rewarding project to be involved in.
How long did the project take?
Wes: From the initial chat to delivery it was around nine months. We decided that we would use a new piece of technology in this project called the X-Sense suit. These are motion capture suits which we could set up and use in the office at The Mill. This enabled Dom&Nic to have the flexibility to suggest new dance moves throughout the project which could then easily be dialled into the animation.
This was crucial on a project like this. Only when you see the full renders can you properly assess the performance and the composition of the scene. Having this option enabled us to be constantly adding to scenes and improving the overall feel and organised chaos of the rave.
What’s the best thing about working on a music video?
D&N: With the Chemical Bros. it’s the combination of great music and a free rein to push our own ideas it to the absolute best they can be. We can make a decision right there and then and act on it instantly which means we can get more done quicker than we can when working in commercials.
What’s the biggest change you’ve witnessed in promo-directing since you started?
D&N: Post production has come on so much and what interests us is how it is integrated into great traditional filmmaking to create stories and bring alive ideas that might have been impossible 20 years ago. The other thing is that when we started there was no online, instant viewing for videos. We made videos for TV and they were more disposable then, and you couldn’t access them once they were off the telly.
Nowadays, a music video will forever be linked with the track via YouTube, so someone looking for the track will also see the video. It means they will live as long as the music does. That means we have a great responsibility to the artists to make music videos worthy of the music for the rest of time. We love that idea.
What are you working on next, and do you have any future plans to work with the Chemical Bros. again?
D&N: We love making commercials, we just had a very busy year and there’s a few interesting things we’re pitching on at the moment. We try and make a music video every couple of years or so and there are other artists we love to work with or would love to work with. Of course, it’s always a pleasure to work with the Chemical Bro., It’s about timing and we’ve always been really lucky with that.
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