The prolific and talented Bradley Munkowitz (GMUNK) invited Conor Grebel and myself to join a team of artists in creating the music video for Tycho's "See". Thrilled at the opportunity, we dove in, devoting months of passionate hard work into what would be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding projects in our careers.
The main character in Tycho’s “See” possesses a powerful ability to gaze into an alternate world hidden within our own. When she finds a mysterious tablet, she stares into it and beholds a stunning ethereal dimension.
The tablet transforms throughout the video, holding two distinct shapes; first a triangle, then a circle. It is the character's unique sight that unlocks the mysteries within the tablets. Thus, the visuals for each encounter needed to reference not only the shapes, but her beautiful journey into another world.
We were challenged with conceptualizing what her visions looked like, and finding ways of practically executing them. After countless trials and experiments in a tiny basement, we developed several concepts that conveyed the sense of mystery and wonder experienced by the character.
This effect was created by projecting a series of shape animations directly at the camera while sending smoke and haze through the projected light. A thin layer of clear acrylic caught the edges of the projection, creating a glowing outline which framed the planes of light made visible by the smoke. The result was a kinetic, volumetric tunnel of light that captured the beautiful movement of the smoke and haze.
Mirrored acrylic and steel pipes were used to make reflective tunnels with circular and triangular shapes. The tubes were suspended above the camera, which shot upward through them. Steel wool was then spread across the top opening of the tubes and ignited. The glowing embers and falling sparks were reflected brilliantly throughout the tubes interior.
The growing crystals were created using sodium acetate trihydrate, a harmless salt-like chemical. When heated past its melting point and subsequently cooled, the aqueous solution becomes supersaturated. In this state, it will remain liquid until “activated” by more solid sodium acetate crystals. After much trial and error, we prepared such a solution and poured a thin layer into back-lit petri dishes. We then caused them to crystallize while recording from above.
This effect was achieved using our good friend, steel wool. We constructed a rig that held two metal light bulb cages at both ends of a dowel. In the dead center of the dowel we glued in a drill bit so the whole rig could be spun at the end of a screw gun. During filming, we fastened the screw gun onto a c-stand and lit steel wool inside the cages at both ends. The air flow and centrifugal force sent a tremendous shower of sparks outward, leaving a circle of negative space in the center. Amazingly, no one was injured...
Working on this project was literally a dream come true. I have been a tremendous fan of Tycho for many years and am deeply moved and inspired by their music and aesthetic. Working with the dedicated team of brilliant and accomplished artists behind this endeavor was an incredibly rewarding experience. I am truly and sincerely grateful.