It feels like there’s a surge of one-shot music videos hitting the little screen at the moment, which is hardly surprising if you look at the results. Guillerme Panariello’s 5-second shoot for Siska, Pussy Riot’s powerful self-directed vision, and at its funnest Action Bronson’s recent ‘Actin Crazy’.
Bison’s poetic one-shot continues where US’ ‘How’d You Like It’ left off. Tasteful with technical prowess. Rosie comes into her own as the sole focus of a physically stripped back, visually built up set. With our eyes simply unable to look away we knew we had to catch up with Dave Bullivant and Owen Silverwood AKA Bison and find out what it’s like to work in a creative pairing, how many takes the perfect one-shot took and whether their approach to directing will change in the future.
Word Is Cheap: The lighting dictates the tone to the promo, how did you sync the lighting with the music?
Bison: Rosie kindly sent us the individual tracks that make up the song which we used to drive the lights and animations – particularly rhythm and vocal parts. We built some simple animations in After Effects for the 3 projectors, and then made a full CGI pre-vis of the video in which we created various other lighting cues. Our lighting desk operator took that and programmed the desk before the shoot. It was then a case of syncing both of these with the track in the studio. Unfortunately there was no magic box we could plug the different lighting systems into to synchronise them – so we were forced to use the tried and tested ‘1, 2, 3, GO!’.
How many takes before you nailed the one shot? How did you know it was the one?
We did somewhere in the region of 15 takes on the day. Dave spent each one with a hand on the steadycam operators back talking him through the positionings and framings as Rosie performed, where as Owen was able to have his full attention on the monitors. We had one amazing take right in the middle of the shoot (which settled everyones nerves as time was getting really tight). Also the very last take was a winner too – we knew it was the last take of the day, and perhaps it just focussed us all into ending on a high note.
What were your inspirations for the styling and set up?
Almost everything came from the music: Rosie’s style, both musically and aesthetically, is very similar to our own and so it was a fairly painless process. The song is both stripped back whilst also quite complex, with a lot of production going on, and so we thought the visuals should reflect that..
You again have a contrast of slick and real, how does working in a partnership change your creative output?
We’re often surprised that our working relationship is as fruitful as it is; we have really different personalities and have pretty different approaches to problems. But somehow we tend to arrive at the same conclusions from opposite directions. It’s not always harmonious at first, but we know from experience that once we’re both excited about an idea, it’s a good one.
You often challenge yourself technically, do you think this attitude will ever change?
We hope not. As long as it never gets in the way of what you are trying to say, or the aesthetic that most suits your goal.. It’s one of the most exciting frontiers of creativity at the moment: we’re in one of the most technologically exciting times, with pretty much all human knowledge available at your fingertips. We love having these micro-obsessions and becoming experts in really niche things for a few weeks.