SCISSOR SISTERS

ONLY THE HORSES

Director: Lorenzo Fonda
Label: Universal Records
Commissioner: Dilly Gent
Production company:Doomsday Entertainment
Executive producers: Jonathon Ker, Jeremy Barrett, Danielle Hinde
Producer: Ross Levine
1st AD: Shadie Elnashai
Director of photography: Aaron Platt
Production designer: Jade Altman
Stylist: David Thomas
Graphic artist: Luca Zamoc
Stables designer: Sophia DeArborne
Editor: Isaac Hagy
Vfx: Peter Sauvey @ Bonnie Brae

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When commissioner Dilly Gent sent me two songs from Scissor Sister to pitch on, she said she needed the same director to shoot both videos, at the same time. So this could be the story of “how I shot two music videos at once”, but instead it will be the story of “how the Michael Mann show Luck made our horses shoot possible”.

Let me explain. A few weeks before, during the shooting of TV series Luck a few horses died, and a big controversy sparked in Hollywood about the mistreating of animals on sets. So when we set out to find four white horses for our video it turned out that this company outside LA wanted to send a message that horses are totally fine on sets and they don’t die and all that, and they made us a great discount for using their animals. That allowed us to stay within a budget that otherwise wouldn’t have allowed us to make the shoot happen. So, bless the poor souls of those horses, but thank you.

For some reason this became the hit summer song in Italy of 2012.

PRODUCTION NOTES

Feel free to watch this behind the scenes video, nicely put together by Matt Ross @ Lolafilm.

As usual, we start with a storyboard. Horses are SO hard to draw.

I flew Luca Zamoc to LA to help me out on the other video, but sure enough he ended up doing stuff for this video as well. These are initial ideas for the design of the horses stables.

Here he is, painting his beloved symbols on one of the stables.

The pyramid, work in progress.

We needed to make a test of how the goo would flow out of the machine and onto people’s bodies, so I offered to be the guinea pig.

The test resulted in an “extensive” knowledge of how the goo behaved, how it looked on camera and how messy it was. It also produced this picture.

This is how the goo looked like after we poured it on Del Marquis’ body.

At some point the machine that was pouring the goo exploded, creating a “paintball” that was shot across the whole studio onto the opposite wall. If the paint had hit someone, it would have been pretty bad. Also, it was incredible that Jake (SS lead), whose turn was to have paint poured on, didn’t get a single drop of paint on his suit, which would have been bad as well because before we started pouring goo on him I needed a completely clean shot of his clothings. This is a picture of the production assistant who had to remove the paint from the wall. I think it took him all day.

Shooting day! That car turned out to be our best friend for the day.

Pretty much everything was shot from the remote controlled arm of the nicely air conditioned vehicle.

We only had a limited amount of runs before the horses would get tired or restless, so there was a bit of pressure about getting the shots right. Also, we had to be careful at not getting too close to them while riding. We were using the WeissCam high speed camera, shooting at 800fps. The camera works so that it records video to RAM, which is a hard drive that stores data quickly, but it can only store 8 seconds of footage at a time. That meant that whenever I saw a good 8 seconds chunk of footage I had to yell cut so that those images were securely stored in the camera.

This was the very last shot of the day, and as you can see we managed to get it in time just SECONDS before the sun went down. Aaahh, the reckless magic of filmmaking.

We left the Luca Zamoc designed pyramid there, for future generations or saturday night desert drunkards to enjoy.

Editing serendipitousness. Yes, I just made up that word I think.

Vfx being worked on.

More vfx test footage.