As we all know, Brits love to talk about the weather. And as the days (ever so slightly) warm up there’s talk of Spring in the air. With this is mind, Zac Ella’s kaleidoscopic vision for Superfood’s beachy – Britpop hybrid ‘You Can Believe’ is just the kind of juxtaposition needed as a sound track to these Spring-but-not-quite-Spring kind of days.
Zac and Superfood have collaborated numerous times and Ella’s vision of colourful pseudo-vintage world blends perfectly with the band’s throwback sound. His past as a graphic designer is illustrated in much of his work through his experimentation with colour and shape. We had a chat with Zac to find out how and why he creates such an aesthetic, and whether his videos are as fun to make as the end product appears.
Word Is Cheap: The video has a kind of 70’s psychedelic feel, what were your inspirations for creating a semi-kaleidascopic effect?
Zac Ella: Ha – yes, 70’s psychedelia is always an inspiration, and it was indeed a source for how to resolve YOU CAN BELIEVE.
As an avid late night telly bod, I do like to zone out (now and again) watching in-studio live performances – aired by programmes such as The Old Grey Whistle Test.
I love how old broadcasting techniques would try and recreate that trippy ‘far out’ feel in the music by doing some ‘simple’ in-camera echo effect. It probably was mesmerising back then. Of course, nowadays, it’s all set up for you and you can accomplish the same thing in after effects too easily with the flick of a switch…
Putting aside all of those technical approaches – the real inspiration for this video came from rediscovering ‘Fan-Art’.
The days when I used to collect, cut & paste loads of images of my favourite band or pop idol and create a huge scrapbook/poster collage – hope I’m not alone and it’s still done now.
I guess my goal for this video was – to create an ultimate fan-based video collage of my favourite band of today – SUPERFOOD.
You have worked with the band on multiple videos, what is about your style and their music that you feel works so well in collaboration?
I can’t speak too much for SUPERFOOD, but I guess, I feel that we struck a chord when we first met – which was on set for TV. And I guess that chord was grounded in being enthusiastic and having fun – along with the other shared interests we found we had.
I’d like to think that we had this trust that if we could hangout and have fun, then it would translate on camera.
This especially becomes more relevant with You Can Believe… I was testing to see how far I could push the fun boundaries – getting SUPERFOOD and the crew to keep filming the same song and action again and again to see if anyone of them could get pissed off with me… It never worked, everyone just kept smiling! I feel like I’ve failed!
Your work often reflects a colourful retro aesthetic, is this something that appeals to your personally or something that is a reflection of the music industry’s fondness for nostalgia?
I don’t really think I have an aesthetic. I do love colours and dwelling on the past – so if that comes through in the projects I work on – then I’m happy. Viva 4:3!
We read that you said this video was a lot of fun to film, as the person who also films Paul Woolford’s ‘Catflexing’ and Wiley’s ‘You know the words’, which would you say was the most fun and why?
This was a lot of FUN to make – BUT – You can’t put a number on fun. I couldn’t put comparisons against any project I work on. I just hope the next one is as fun as the current.
You must be a glutton for punishment with the amount of post work involved, just how hard was it creating this video?
I do love kicking the shit out of myself when it comes to working on a project. “If it bleeds it leads” – that has no frame of reference.
Thankfully, this video wasn’t as intense as some others that I’ve worked on – like TV, for instance – that cost me an arm and leg with coffee…
The main goal for this video was to try something new. Using experiences and techniques from projects with more budget and seeing what we could achieve on a shoe string. I wanted us to create a man-made echo effect – which relied on a man-made motion control rig. Basically getting Andy ‘the MACHINE’ Fletcher, on steadicam, to recreate the same camera move over and over again. He nailed it.
With that in mind, the post was easy. Each and every take was planned to be used in the final edit. No matter if there were any fuck-ups, every shot was destined to make the final cut. Piling them all on top of each other.
Which is a ‘creative’ excuse for the odd few glitches involved – including the coincidental crew member crossing – I’m a lover of making mistakes.