July 29, 2014

Earlier this year, Sprinkle Lab produced a music video for
RL Grime‘s track “Heard Me”, the single off his “High Beams” EP.

Director Brandon Tauszik wrote a treatment revolving around his real life father, who is a ventriloquist, magician, and juggler in Florida. The video reveals a mind battle taking place in a foreign land between ventriloquist & doll. Pandemonium ensues.

The footage was captured in Sprinkle Lab’s Oakland studio at 480fps slow motion using two Sony FS700 cameras. A lot of bright lighting was required to expose for that fast of a shutter speed, which the Perez Bros aptly provided.


After the edit was locked, the footage was sent to Sprinkle Lab’s animation partners The Great Nordic Sword Fights. They applied a thick layer of analog special sauce to the video, so we figured we’d dig into the process a little …

SL: What work have you done in the past that falls along this vain?
TGNSF: Our early days of video experimentation involved video manipulation and compositing, so from the start we have been finding ways to break down video into its basic form, pixels and keyframes, and rebuilding it in a very imperfect way.

At what point did you come onto this project?
In post production. After seeing puppets, we were in.

What was your rough step-by-step, from import to export?
Once we got the picture-locked edit from Brandon, we did some color-keying, then rebuilding the scenes with custom backgrounds. Then lighting, coloring, and probably a ton of photoshopping keyframes – literally detailing single frames to make sure it all looked interesting, even if you had to paused it for a second. Then came our main tools; a modular video synthesizer and VHS tape deck. You can get some really cool feedback imagery when running footage back into itself. The deterioration of the original is so exciting to watch.

Did you create all the background assets?
Yes, the background assets were a series of stills and video clips shot on a Leica at the Pasadena Huntington Library. The entire garden represents every terrain, from desert to tropical to your classic english rose gardens. However the succulents garden is other-worldly, really kooky and aggressive-looking plant life that seemed perfect for the vibe this video/song combination was going for – vaguely dark but still pleasing, like the ventriloquism doll Joey!

Why do you enjoy analog process with video?
It’s much more hands on. The computer is a great tool, but the experience is not very tactile. With analog, you are turning knobs, flipping switches, wiring this and that and getting messy. There is something really nice about knowing that your work can exist in a physical form, even if its just for a brief moment on a tape deck … until you shove it back through the computer and into the black hole of the internet.