The Ting Tings were one of the biggest breakthrough acts of last year, meaning that all eyes are on them for their new single We Walk. They turned to director Ben Ib, who we last saw creating a sultry, 40s-themed promo for Kylie.
In Ib's hands, the Ting Tings' edgy, achingly hip style becomes a slick, near-continuous shot through a nighttime playground, where people become frozen in time. Ben Ib explained a little about how the promo was made.
DA: Were you closely briefed for the project?
BI: Yes. Jules and Katie are the kind of band that get really excited about their visual identity. They had specific ideas, Jules really wanted to see this idea of the frozen moment, of manipulating time. The question was how we would execute this, and really that's where I came in.
DA: What were your references and influences? BI: I had pitched the idea of a continuos panoramic shot created in post to other bands previously. I thought it would be a great way to stitch together these frozen moments, and for the visual effects to be fluid and messy rather than formal and 'posed'. Also I looked at photographic references from Gregory Crewdson, Jeff Wall, and Dan Holdsworth. I love their use of cold, hard, artificial light, in natural spaces. I think Denzil (Armour Brown) did a great job in capturing this.
DA: How did you go about turning these concepts into the finished piece? BI: I started by working on various test video clips, to establish the main visual technique. These involved me jumping around my flat with my girlfriend's cat occasionally walking in. I then put together an animatic so that we could time out the visual events to the track. After we finished the shoot we still needed extra background plates, which I then shot in Morocco with my digital SLR whilst on holiday over new year... talk about work/life balance!
DA: What was the biggest challenge you faced, and how did you overcome this? BI: The biggest challenge you always face with post heavy music videos is time. Although I had a group of After Effects wizzkids rotoscoping out huge amounts of footage, and i did all the editing and compositing myself, which meant basically two months working day and night, 24/7. It's always extremely hard to meet the deadlines required for this kind of job. You have to keep the pipeline really lean and efficient. There simply is no room for trying things out. The video was built in After Effects, with some 3D done in Maya.
DA: Was the band happy with the end result? What would you have done differently if you could do it again? BI: The video went through many versions, some of which looked hugely different from how the video looks now. Often when working with post-heavy videos, the first few edits don't look pretty, as you just haven't had time to finesse it visually and add all the bells and whistles. So I think there was some apprehension at first, but I kind of expected this. In the end the band were, I hope, happy with the result, and I think the various different changes improved it. If I could have done it again, I think I would have employed a personal trainer and therapist for the duration of the job, to assist in general health, and provide a constant supply of doughnuts.
Watch the promo here.