Last fall, we shared the video for Said the Whale's "UnAmerican", a visually impressive clip that director Johnny Jansen created by photographing 2,250 images printed on separate pieces of paper.
It was very cool and also very low-tech, which made it doubly impressive.
Now the Vancouver indie-pop band has teamed up with Jansen again for a video that employs a very old-fashioned technique to modern ends.
Once again, we'll let the creators describe the process, because it would be even more baffling if we tried to explain it.
The video you are watching was created with 129 spinning vinyl records shot in sequence. There were NO visual FX or digital animations used in the making of this video.
The idea for this video was based on the first widespread animation device called a Phenakistiscope introduced in 1833 (similar to the more widely-known Zoetrope). The device was a disk with a series of pictures showing sequential phases of an animation. As the disk spins, the user would look through evenly spaced slits on another connected disk to see the pictures animate before their eyes. This similar effect can be achieved by looking at the spinning disk through a camera with the proper frame rate and shutter speed.
The idea was to use this effect to create an entire music video on a 45rpm record player using a series of spinning vintage records. Through a lot of trial and error and countless hours of experimentation, we developed a system to create a connected sequence of animated records that would actually sync up with the music. Once we figured out that process, we then had to produce 129 12-inch stickers, each with their own stroke information that would allow a machine to cut out the edges around the subjects on the stickers so we could see the unique vinyl texture on each vintage record. From there, we spent hours peeling off and discarding the extra sticker material cut by the machine. We then filmed each record at multiple angles spinning for approximately 1.3 seconds and then combined them all to create the final video you see today.
Said the Whale plays Stanley Park's Malkin Bowl on September 6.