From start to finish everything about André Chocron's video for London Grammar's Nightcall is simply dreamy. The premise is loose and languid, seamlessly shifting the focus from the stripped-back band to their surroundings - a misty field, shot at night and spot-lit, where the camera sweeps across in one continuous move taking in a girl on a swing, a man outside his car, a woman in a trailer, a group of kids around a fire - and beautiful horses, that dramatically bolt across the field. This looks real, and unreal.
It's André's first UK video, through his London base: FRIEND (he's with LEGS in the US, U-MAN in France and Motion Blur in Scandinavia and his own Frokost Film at home in Norway) and it comes following the success of his remarkable video for 'My Recurring Dream', nominated at this year's UK Music Video Awards, and picking up honours all over the place. Like that tour de force, the Nightcall video demonstrates André Chocron's command of on-set camera effects - in this case motion control - to jawdropping effect.
I caught up with André to find out more about the London Grammar video: where and how they shot the promo, the merits of working with horses – and why he prefers a concept over a plot.
word is cheap: What a great project for a UK debut, how did it come about?
André Chocron: For a while now I’ve really wanted to shoot a one-shot promo with motion control, and finally had the opportunity on this one. We all liked the idea of having the band performing in a barren field after dark, while slightly surreal elements and situations appear around them. However it was only when Greg Crewdson’s work came up as a reference that the visual concept fell into place.
I love experimenting with new techniques and styles, trying out stuff I haven’t done before.
It's hard to tell, but were you shooting inside or outside, or both?
It was all filmed in one exterior location at a big horse ranch outside of London. In the edit I was surprised how much it feels like a studio, I really like that. DoP Jake Scott did an amazing job lighting this, I had never imagined such a dreamlike ambience.
The horses bolting creates an incredibly powerful moment in the video. Was it hard to control, was it intentional that one horse led the others?
The horses were even better than I had dreamed of. The guy who owned the location turned out to be a horse stuntman, so the horses were actually pros. They ran on cue on every take, always with one in front leading the others.
Is there a loose storyline to follow or do you feel everyone can interpret their own story?
Not really a storyline, but definitely a theme of loneliness, a static existence, and breaking free from that.
What was it like working with FRIEND?
It was fantastic! They’ve sent me a lot of tracks to treat on, and I was never available, so it was great that we finally got to work together. Both the shoot and post production turned out to be really complicated, and they did such a great job pushing for the best result possible.
Creatively you are always pushing forward, trying new things, do you think creativity will always be the main driving force behind your work?
I certainly hope so. I love experimenting with new techniques and styles, trying out stuff I haven’t done before. When I get an idea for a film, the concept always comes first, often quite technical. This was a challenge when I worked with narrative shorts, because I had to force a plot into the concept, a lot of people seem to think it should be the other way around. With promos however it works great, I can focus on refining the concept independently from any storyline.
Word Is Cheap
word is cheap is the site to go to for all your music video needs. A site so visually stimulating it's already banned in North Korea. You can dance if you want to. - @wordischeap