Right Chord Music is delighted to introduce you to The Red Red, a Hampshire based company consisting of Jake Hawkins and Rob Luckins. The Red Red was founded with a simple aim to produce outstanding videos for outstanding music. Each month they will be highlighting exceptional music videos and providing an insight into the creative and production process. To kick the feature off here is Rob explaining how they made the video for ‘Further Still’ by Right Chord Music favourites Curxes.
After an initial meeting with Roberta from the band we discussed an idea she had in mind, where the band would perform the track in a room surrounded by taxidermied animals. Wild life footage would then be projected onto the band, which would serve as the only light source. After talking this idea through we quickly came to the conclusion that next to shooting our own wildlife footage we would have to use stock libraries, which would completely drain the budget.
The idea of a room full of taxidermy really stayed with me, as this was something visually I had wanted to experiment with for a long time. So from the initial meeting the search was on to find a taxidermy collection. We tried every approach, the band began sending out tweets, I contacted museums and even looked for private collections. The Brading museum on the Isle of Wight’s collection had recently been sold at auction to a private collector, but that discovery lead to a dead-end.
A week or so went by and I went to meet a curator at a local museum where I would be running a series of workshops and as I walked in the front door I spotted a huge taxidermied swan frozen mid-flight suspended from the ceiling. This lead to a conversation with the curator, who showed me an unbelievable room with every conceivable taxidermied animal on display. To say I was pleased was an understatement.
I quickly got in contact with Roberta who met me at the museum and we feverishly began photographing the displays and working out what we wanted to show visually. Rough ideas were drawn up and we spoke about the narrative, which would join the sequences together. The narrative section shows a taxidermist who hasn’t stopped at animals and plays on the themes of preserving memories that ultimately become a part of history. I have always been fascinated by the way in which the Victorians who were so prudish in their societal views were also extremely barbaric to the animal kingdom. The macabre legacy which they have left for us to stare at through thin sheets of glass, housed in ornate finely decorated cabinets stands as a testament to both their hunger for discovery and also their obsession with death.
I knew for the final shot of the video we would need a large case for the band to be displayed in, so I took photographs of the other cases dotted around the museum (the less ornate ones) and set about sourcing the materials to make it. The construction took roughly two days to make a box just short of 7 feet tall, I also knew the box would need to be dismantled for transportation, so assembled it with this in mind.
The shoot was broken down into three days.
Day 1: The final shot including close-ups of our two extras who would be in situ with the band on display. Day 2: Main performance, which would be shot in a Victorian living room set dressed appropriately. Day 3: Mortuary/taxidermy operating theatre where we would see the band being prepared by an unidentified taxidermist.
Production for day 1 consisted mainly of working with the extras to get the desired reactions to the band, I liked the idea of the slight hint that Victor (man-eating sandwich) may or may not have been the taxidermist in the video. This combined with Roberta & Macaulay doing their best to hold as still as possible got us the final shot that we needed, This was all shot using natural lighting.
Production for day 2 was a different set up all together. Getting the lights to where we needed them in order to fake sunlight coming through the windows was trickier than we thought, this was mainly due to the set being right up against a wall with no rear access. Once the lighting was in place we set about capturing a range of different camera angles to cut together as the main performance section.
Production for day 3: This was shot in my studio, I recycled the display cabinet from the final shot and turned it into an autopsy table. We used a sheet of metal behind the bands heads to give the illusion of the whole table being metal and chose our camera angles wisely so as not to draw too much attention to this. If you ever need operating theatre props any local shop that sells cheap fishing equipment is a gold mine. These combined with a deep roasting tray made for a convincing set of operating theatre tools. The lighting we wanted for this shot was very harsh and from directly overhead to create a sterile look.
All in all, I am really pleased with how the video has come out. A lot of planning and preparation went into making it happen and I hope it does justice to a great song. I can’t wait to start working on the next one.