'Take My Hand', by The Father, The Son and The Holy Simon
We want to make a music video with sock puppet versions of ourselves. We've already created the puppets AND we've built a miniature stage.” I love it when a band approaches me with an idea that's already crazy. The Father, The Son and The Holy Simon were such a band.
The concept missed story, though. Watching 3 hand puppets on a stage for 3 minutes would be boring. Since the song is called 'Take my hand', the idea started brewing that these puppets could be the real chopped off hands of the band members. Having come to life, they would search the world for the rest of their bodies. Adding the motorbike with double side spans and a whole lot of matte paintings and this was a great project to work on.
The making of Take My Hand
In order to create such an ambitious music video for a relatively unknown band, we set up a crowdfunding campaign. For this we needed a eye-catching picture. One that would be the same mix of puppetry-gore as the music video. The promotional picture uses the same mix of real vs matte paintings the music video does.
We started out with the last scene: the hospital. For budgetary reasons, the war outside was one without big scenes of countless soldiers and casualties. Yet it wouldn't have worked if these elements were left out altogether. So the hospital was the perfect place to show the chaos with a maximum of production value. Also, the puppets had less close-ups in this one, which made this scene the perfect general rehearsal to see if they would survive the rest of production.
The bike was pushed by the same cart that held the camera, monitoring on top. This way we were able to move through the hallway quickly.
The band shots were shot at our studio, with glorious additional lighting of industry veteran Michel Jacobs. Two people were needed per puppet. One to move the mouth and the body. And one to move the arms alone. This meant that for over 4 hours, 6 people were seated underneath a very small stage.
The bike shots were shot mostly in our greenkey studio. Since two puppeteers operated the puppets underneath the bikes, it was impossible to have them driving on the ground realtime. And since they were miniatures, you could just put them on a truck because they would be to far of the ground to be believable. This is way the bike and the passings landscapes were shot separately. In order to match them in compositing later on, Michel Jacobs spent the entire shoot waving all kinds of cut up flags in front of the lights, to simulate the shadow of the trees as the bike rode through.
Not everything could be done in green key, though. Chroma keying is a tool, not an entire concept. Sometimes it was easier to move the puppets to the location and start from there. This secured their visual relationship with the surroundings.
And finally: postproduction was big! It required a lot of compositing, addings lights, designing worlds and matte paintings. Everything up from in the clouds, explosions, to face reveals was done in compositing.